It is the last thing you want. Move to Germany, take a road trip, and have your car break down. What are you supposed to do? Where do you go? Who can you call? Well, if you are a savy American you would simply pull out your ADAC card and wait for rescue! ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V.) is Germany’s largest auto club. Founded in 1903, it still exists today and offers many services to its members.
For those of us living in Germany a short time, the service we most need is road side assistance. For a small yearly fee, you and your family will be covered in case of an auto breakdown or accident. There are two levels of membership, classic and plus. Classic membership starts at 49,00 EUR per year for an individual and moves up to 69,00 EUR for the partner packet. Plus membership begins at 84,00 EUR and moves to 109,00 EUR for the partner. There are also larger membership packages should you have young adults between the ages of 18-23 that operate your vehicles.
While the classic membership seems like a steal at 49 Euro, you may want to dig deeper and see all the extras you get with a plus membership. Although the chart is only in German, the entire list of ADAC membership benefits can be read here. It is easy to see how much extra you get with a plus package. For those who are less than fluent in German I have provided a short list of the highlights of each package. Note, these lists are not inclusive of everything in the package.
- Breakdown and accident assistance anywhere in GERMANY up to 200,00 EUR
- Vehicle transport to NEAREST workstation
- Assistance with accidents involving animals, up to 300,00 EURO
- 24 Hour hotline available
Overall that is not a bad package. If you only plan to travel around Germany a bit and feel comfortable taking on some extra costs in the case of a breakdown or accident. You should note that they will only transport your car (should it need transport) to the nearest workshop. After that you are on your own. That means taxi, lodging, and everything else. If they can get your car going again on the side of the road then you are good to go.
- Breakdown and accident assistance anywhere in EUROPE up to 200,00 EUR
- Transport of your vehicle back to your residence
- Help with total loss accidents EUROPE wide
- Home travel expenses paid (should you be more than 50km from your residence)
- Locksmith Service
- Hotel costs for up to 3 nights/65 EUR per person/night
- Part shipping to your location Europe wide
- Short trip costs by taxi up to 30,00 EUR
- Animal accident assistance, up to 300,00 EUR
- 24 Hour hotline
- Legal assistance in countries outside Germany
You can see how the plus membership really delivers. The basic package is really helpful but if you want the most you should really go for the plus. For example, our car broke down on Patch Barracks late one night after a movie. It was December, cold, and close to mid-night. We called ADAC and let them know our situation. If we had the basic package then, they would have come to check our car and then towed it across the street to BMW. Not a bad deal except we lived all the way out past Herrenberg. Because we had the plus package, they took our car all the way out to our village, to the shop I asked them to, and THEN drove us home. I think we made it home that night around 2:30.
The distance they go with the plus package really is amazing. I have had other vehicles break down far from home and they still drove me and my vehicle all the way back. I have never used the hotel assistance or home travel but I have no doubt it works. If your car broke down in Switzerland they would organize a rental car for you to get home. The one thing they won’t do is bring you gas if you run out! That one is on you I’m afraid.
Here is the best part about ADAC. Your member card is attached to YOU, not your car. That means that you are covered at any time and any place in any vehicle. I have used my membership for our personal cars, for friends cars, and more often than not, TMP vehicles. ADAC is a great service that you shouldn’t pass up during your time in Germany.
You can find your local ADAC reps on almost any base or kaserne. They always seem to be showing up in the PX, signing people up. Just look for the yellow booths. Alternatively, you can look in the find-it-guide or ask a colleague who has a membership. For the folks in Stuttgart, the ADAC center is located in the Breuningerland mall in Sindelfingen. You can also register online in English at the ADAC membership site. As long as you know your banking info for Community Bank or Service CU, you can sign right up. Be aware, all the documents you receive will be in German. However, anytime you call and ask for English you will be quickly transferred. I never had a problem communicating with them since I have been here.
Do you have ADAC? What is your experience? Let us and your fellow readers know in the comments section below. After that, share this article on Facebook to get the word out!