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ACP rescue experience, and related thoughts


Posts: 206
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Topic starter
(@thomasribatejo)
Estimable Member
Joined: 5 years ago

We've been members of ACP since we first arrived in Portugal, as their help with re-registering a car, and exchanging licenses, was very worthwhile (and their healthcare access card is also helpful to have, since we don't choose to have full insurance).

I'd had to call them once before, for a flat battery - when the local guy they contract with arrived promptly, and was delightful (even coming out again later that evening when I stalled on the way to get the battery replaced - he didn't have one in stock to do it there and then).

Last week, our gearbox seized up in the middle of nowhere.  I mean, literally - they asked for landmarks, there were none, I had to give them the coordinates!  Nevertheless, they were polite and friendly on the phone, and 30 minutes' drive from the nearest town they nevertheless had a rescue truck out within 45 minutes of my call.  The truck took the vehicle and us to a lay-by car park, where a taxi met us and took us on to the place we were staying, whilst the car continued to their pound.  Another taxi collected us the next morning, and took us to a car rental place but could have taken us 2.5 hours home.  Nothing to pay (other than the rental, as we chose to continue our journey rather than be taken home the day after our multi-day journey started, with non-refundable hotels!) and we could have been home within 3 hours of breakdown.  As the car broke down >150km from base, it arrived 3 working days later at our mechanic - but really, little to complain about there.

A great service, all in all, for just over €8 per month (€12 fdr us as a couple).

One thing to bear in mind - there are people at the call centre who speak decent English - but if you're in the middle of nowhere, outside of areas with many English speakers, you'll need to discuss details of where you need to go/your car to be taken with the call centre - none of the other people we dealt with spoke a word of English, but then why would tow-truck drivers and taxi drivers in the sticks do so?  If you need to be rescued, use the call centre to bridge the gap!

Secondary note - they can fix many simple things at the roadside, or at depots - if you think it's fixable in that way, try to be clear, and not over-dramatise.  If the call centre person doesn't think it can be fixed at the roadside, they won't send a mechanic, just a tow-truck, and then it's over to you to sort it from wherever you have it sent.

Final point - the other thing that really helps is making friends in advance with a local mechanic with a medium-sized garage.  Main dealers are fine, and may be best if you have a less common vehicle, but are less likely to make an effort to help out than a family business where they know you when you call and have a favour to ask!  

ACP - you may not use it much, but it comes through when you need it.  In my experience.

8 Replies




Posts: 2163
VIP Member
(@old-bloke)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago

I like what3words (website and App) brilliant for identifying anywhere with accuracy, it's been running a few years now and is starting to catch on in PT.
The phone App will also talk to some phone navigation apps and give you directions just like a Satnav.
The geographical centre of PT is warm.sighing.banknote
what3words.com

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(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 206

@old-bloke I love the idea, and I wish more people had it. I don't think it would have worked with the Motorola-brick-wielding taxi driver... Plus did you know you pick a language? We were at carregamento.juntam.confronto but I am guessing this is something unrelated in English... 

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Posts: 2163
VIP Member
(@old-bloke)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posted by: @thomasribatejo

We were at carregamento.juntam.confronto but I am guessing this is something unrelated in English... 

I wasn't aware what3words now supported other languages, when it came out it was only available in English.

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Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 206

@old-bloke it seems intelligent enough to "translate", which is great! 😊 I rather like it. I just wish one could pick the words. The ones for my primary location are unflattering!

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Premium Member
(@chris_in_california)
Joined: 2 years ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 52

@thomasribatejo My wife says the name changes every 3 square meters. Maybe you can find another spot nearby and name it.

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Posts: 231
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(@pamalcobaca)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Glad you had a good experience!

Thought I'd share my experience of breakdown cover provided with my insurance (Fidelidade). It was also a flat battery - I found it to be flat in our underground garage and had no idea how I would get it out of there! I called into the insurance office (conveniently located in the same building) and they said they would arrange a tow truck. I was a bit skeptical about how this would get into the garage (and how it would get out with my car on the back!). In the end the guy turned up (within half an hour) and was able to charge it and get me going so I could go to buy a new one, so all turned out well.

It's my only experience of breakdown so far (but I have taken the precaution of buying a Japanese car!)

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Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 206

@pamalcobaca I've done this too, in the past, with Fidelidade.  I had no idea they included rescue, as well as accident cover, until I needed it.  I was rescued once (previous car) and taken to a garage, quite rapidly, also from a really awkward location.  (Sunday morning, all the neighbours leaning out the window for entertainment!)

Having both options, I kind of rotate them, as both will only assist around twice per year (depending on your level of cover) but the experience in 2018 was equally good with Fidelidade!

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Community Member
(@debra)
Joined: 2 years ago

New Member
Posts: 3

@pamalcobaca Yes, anyone with a portuguese insurer should know that breakdown cover is included and it's pretty extensive. My blown head gasket got towed to the local garage for repair, and you can get some days of replacement hire car free. 3 is standard, more than that they'll need to get an email from the garage explaining the delay. "Waiting for parts" is very normal.

I don't know, but suspect, that this requirement for breakdown cover is connected with the fact that it's very rare for drivers to be licenced to tow a vehicle. Do not ask your mate for a tow if you break down, chances are it's illegal under their licence, and it must make you a ready target for the gnr.

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