Breakdown assistance is almost always included in the insurance.
In case of break down, the insured must call the assistance provider as it is them who organise the recovery. They will recover the vehicle to the nearest garage, and organise to take the driver and passengers home, or wherever they were travelling to.
If the insured organises his own recovery, the assistance provider will not pay up.
In case of breakdown on the motorway, the assistance provider cannot operate, the motorway services have to be called so that they can rescue the vehicle. The assistance provider still needs to be contacted as soon as possible so that a claim file is opened and a refund is sent out. Break down in France covers most of Europe, and unlike services such as the RAC in the UK, they do not repair your vehicle.
However they provide other services such as worldwide assistance in case of illness or injury even when the insured are not travelling with their vehicle. They can organise the patient’s repatriation; advance hospitalisation costs and reimburse medical costs that have not been reimbursed by the social security.
The amounts covered should be checked as they are often fairly low; this service is not a substitute to a travel insurance.