Driving Abroad

29/04/2013 -- Admin
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Driving while on holiday

Taking your own vehicle across the Channel to Europe?  Already got fully comp. cover for the UK?  Great. Just don’t assume you’ll enjoy the same level of cover in Euroland!

By law, UK vehicle insurance policies only need to provide the minimum level of cover to drive in the EU - the equivalent or less than Third Party Only.

That means you could face a hefty bill if you're in a smash, your car breaks down or is stolen, or you get sued for injury or damage.

Check your cover level with your car insurer at least a month before you go and make sure you have a decent level of liability protection – usually £20 million.

Also check policy restrictions on trip length - usually 30 or 90 days.

Outside the EU, you’ll need a green card as proof your insurance covers the minimum legal requirements in the country you’re driving in.  Your insurer can issue you with one.

Remember, travel insurance policies exclude personal liability claims related to driving vehicles of any kind.

Hired cars

It’s not a good idea to leave hiring a car abroad to the last minute.

The vehicle insurance that comes as standard with the rental deal is often the bare legal minimum, so you'll be personally liable for any claim for injury or damage over that limit.

Hire car excesses can be high, too – up to £600 for Spain and £2,000 in France and Italy. If you want to reduce the excess to zero, you could be asked to fork out up to £20 extra per day.

It’s much cheaper to buy excess waiver insurance before you go. 

  • See the Association of British Insurers (ABI) info page on Motoring Abroad.
  • Check with a motoring organisation like the AA or the RAC for rules in European countries.
  • Don’t forget to take the free NHS EHIC Medical card for holidays in the Euro zone.