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Car Insurance When Driving Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 22 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
Car Insurance When Driving Abroad

Most people set off on their overseas car journey with the belief that they’ve fully covered by their own car insurance. If you’re taking your own car abroad, it’s a common misconception that your current insurer doesn’t need to be informed of your overseas trip and that you will be covered on the same basis as you are in the UK. Sadly however, this isn’t the case and although it’s hopeful that you’ll never need it, it’s essential to have full cover when travelling.

Check With Your Insurer First

Travelling abroad can often be more dangerous than travelling in the UK. Unfamiliar roads, traffic systems, road signs, driver customs and more can mean your likelihood of an accident may increase. Many countries have entirely different standards of driving from the UK also, so keeping yourself safe when travelling abroad is extremely important. If you’re unlucky enough to have an accident however, insurance is very important so you must check with your UK insurer before heading off. There are a number of important points to raise with your current insurer:

  • Is your current insurance RTA (Road Traffic Accident) only?
  • Is your current insurance only third party when travelling abroad?
  • Are you covered if your car is stolen or involved in a legal matter after a collision
  • Can you get fully comprehensive car insurance with them?

Most insurers will be happy to keep your business and will be keen to set you up with a policy that will cover you when travelling abroad. In the majority of cases, this will simply be an extension to your existing policy for a set number of days, but there are other options also.

Green Card Insurance When Driving Abroad

Traditionally British drivers required a green card when travelling abroad. A green card was considered to be proof of your insurance when overseas, but many countries don’t require it any longer. It doesn’t hurt however to have one and you can get these free from car insurance companies if you have insurance with them, but you’ll be charged for extending your policy to cover you overseas. It is also known as an International Motor Insurance Certificate and technically they’re not needed in most European companies, yet some will still ask you for them in the event of an accident. This is especially true in countries such as Romania, Poland and Andorra. Even in some places throughout Italy and France you may be asked for your green card, so having one is better than not.

Car Insurance in the US

Although driving through Europe allows you to extend your existing UK policy for full cover there, driving in the US is entirely different. If you’re hiring a car there it is essential that you are aware of what insurance you have. You will normally need to purchase this insurance before you arrive or at the car hire area and it will be entirely separate from your UK car insurance. Speak to your travel agent first and see if they can get you a good deal and always be prepared to top up basic cover there as accident claims can be extortionate.

Different Types of Car Insurance When Travelling Abroad

There are different fees and price structures when it comes to car insurance and travelling abroad. You must consider what level of cover you’re happy with, as well as specifying what type of car you’re driving. Various rates depend on:

  • Type of car – hybrid cars often have different pay levels than others
  • Length of cover – how long you require the extended cover for
  • Extra covers – do you require breakdown cover, special restrictions or other extras

Make sure you fully understand what you’re covered for and how much it will cost before you head off. Having your insurance papers with you when travelling is essential and you should keep these with you in your car at all times.

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[Add a Comment]
B - Your Question:
We've just bought a motorhome and intend to use scooters to get around when we're abroad.do our UK licences, which allow us to drive scooters here, allow us to drive them in the European countries as well?

Our Response:
Most EU countries require that you have a full motorcycle licence to ride your scooter abroad you may have to check the requirements of each country.
AboutDrivingAbroad - 23-Aug-17 @ 2:25 PM
We've just bought a motorhome and intend to use scooters to get around when we're abroad......do our UK licences, which allow us to drive scooters here, allow us to drive them in the European countries as well?
B - 22-Aug-17 @ 10:28 AM
Help please. I have received notice of a fixed fine for a speeding offence and I believe I have to send my licence in for the points to be added . My problem is I am due to travel by ship to northern Spain. On 2nd November and think I wont have my licence back. What do I do
Johnruss - 14-Oct-16 @ 4:54 AM
Can anyone confirm please if its still ok to use my UK pink pre 1998 paper driving licence to hire a car in Spain. I'm a little confused with all these changes from June this year
Jo - 18-Jul-15 @ 1:09 PM
can anyone confirm my uk pink pre 1998 none photo licence will be ok hireing a car in the usanever had problems in the pastbut change of law to new type in june may confuse usacar hire companies would like an email to take to usa confiming this to car hire company to end my concerns thanks brian
brian - 21-May-15 @ 7:30 PM
Does anyone know how long you need to hold a driving license for to be able to drive in spain?
Charlotte - 3-May-15 @ 10:06 PM
I am living in USA most of the time but return to UK several times a year. I have mislaid my UK licence so need to get it replaced- will this be possible as no uk address for last 3 years?
Joy - 27-Aug-14 @ 11:47 PM
Do I need to contact my insurance co if I might drive my daughters car whilst visiting her in Australia. I know the car is insured there not the person.
Liz - 16-Aug-14 @ 10:41 PM
I needcar insurance for abroad just one week for visit
Khurami - 23-Aug-13 @ 8:04 PM
was hit by italian driver and directline left me completely in the lurch, coz no green card.not needed or asked for in italy just another way to get more money from you, thought we were all european ha
SCOTTY - 17-Nov-11 @ 9:38 PM
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