March 20th, 2020 at 6:57 am
If you’re going to take your vehicle to Europe there are lots of things you’ll need to do. However, the first is speaking to your insurance company. Your policy might not cover you automatically for driving overseas, so you might require an upgrade on a temporary basis for which there’ll almost certainly be an additional charge.
You should also get your insurer to give you a “green card” as proof you have sufficient insurance to drive overseas with at least 3rd party coverage. The green card is a statement detailing this on a sheet of green paper which gives it its name. Remember to give your insurance company plenty of notice as often green cards take up to 3 weeks to issue.
What Should I Know Regarding European Insurance Coverage?
- A lot of upgrades to insurance policies for motoring in Europe will be basic, only covering you for third party cover even if your UK insurance is fully comprehensive. Should you want additional cover while you’re away, upgrading is usually possible but you’ll almost certainly need to pay an extra fee.
- Sometimes, you’ll be offered European cover on your insurance when taking out a policy.
- Often, there’ll be a cap placed on the extension of your cover with 30 days being standard. If you go over this length of time, you could be uninsured.
- You’ll need a Green Card if you’re driving in any country outside Europe like Israel, Iran, Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Montenegro amongst others.
What About Breakdown Cover?
Any breakdown is inconvenient, expensive and annoying but when it happens abroad, it could be even more problematic. You should never drive overseas without having taken out suitable breakdown cover for Europe. Call your existing cover provider to find out if they’re able to extend your current arrangements to cover you in Europe too.
If you’re only going on holiday for a few weeks, you’ll probably find a one-off trip policy the best option for you. However, if you’re a regular traveller who takes your car frequently abroad you might find that annual cover is a cheaper option.
What Documents Will I Need?
- Your driving licence
- The car’s V5 log book
- A green card
- Your insurance paperwork
- An international driving permit when necessary
- Information and documents for your breakdown cover with an easily accessible helpline number
- Your travel insurance paperwork
- Your EHIC
What Else Should I Consider?
You will need to think about driving on a different side of the road. You’ll also need to learn about the different regulations and rules of the road for the country you’re visiting. You may find there are unusual inclusions that could be surprising, so don’t expect that they’ll be exactly the same as what you’re used to at home.
All European countries have their own requirements when it comes to road traffic and this may mean you need to make changes to your car or include certain items inside it. For example, in France, carrying a warning triangle is a legal requirement and you’ll also need a high visibility reflective jacket. You’ll also have to adjust your headlamps to prevent other drivers from being dazzled or affect by the glare. While this seems onerous, you can do it easily with beam converters that fit over your existing headlights.
If you’re driving in Germany, you’ll need to display your emissions sticker if you’re planning to drive into a major city. These are the same colours as traffic lights and show how polluting your car is.
You can check what you need for different countries by visiting the AA website. Their information is reviewed regularly to make sure it’s current. You’ll also need to ensure your registration plate complies with the rules – you’ll need it to show your member state or you’ll have to stick a GB sticker onto your vehicle. You’ll also find advice for holidaymakers as well as people who are moving overseas to work and live on the government website.
What About Brexit?
At the moment, despite Brexit having taken place, we’re not sure what will be the long-term implications for UK drivers in Europe. Any changes are going to be gradually implemented and there is nothing different to report at the moment. However, updated information will be made available for viewing on the government website.
Some Tips For Driving In Europe
- Try not to drive in large city centres as it can be hazardous and complicated. A lot of cities in Europe are now discouraging drivers from coming into city centres by levying congestion charges or tolls. Usually, there are tram or bus schemes that have parking out of the town centre and these are helpful in encouraging drivers to stay out of the city centre.
- Make yourself familiar with the rules of the road in the country you’re driving in. For example, in Germany, double white lines mean that you can’t overtake. Meanwhile, in France, a white single solid line means the same thing.
- In most European countries, children aged 3 or under need a safety seat. However, in some countries, booster seats are also needed for children who are older than this. In virtually every EU country, children aged 12 or under are not permitted to be a front seat passenger without sitting on a booster. Some countries forbid children from sitting in the front passenger seat completely, with some keeping those rules in place as long as the child is under 18.
- In some European countries, your headlights will need to remain on permanently including during the day.
- Using hand-held mobile phones while driving is banned in most EU countries.