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Taking your car abroad – are you insured to drive?

Published 15 May 2016 by

A family road trip is a great option for a holiday on a budget. You can plan your own route, pick out the cheapest places to stay and find some low-cost eateries. But what about your car insurance when you’re abroad?

Depending on where you’re going on holiday, you might need extra car insurance. Your current policy only covers you to drive in certain countries so you might need to extend it. Let’s look at when you’ll need to do this and how you can save.

What you’ll need

First things first – check your car insurance policy details. Motor insurance policies can vary quite a lot and some will cover you to drive abroad, while others won’t.

Even if your policy does cover you, it’s likely this will only be within EU countries. Your policy will probably only give you third-party cover abroad. This means that if you’re in a crash, your insurer will pay out for any damage to the other driver. However, they won’t pay for any damages to your car – you’ll have to pay for this yourself.

You should also ask your insurer for a free Green Card – this will show you have insurance to drive in Europe. If you have a crash while you’re abroad and you want to make a claim, your Green Card could make this process a bit easier.

Extending your cover

Get in touch with your insurer and see if they’ll extend your policy, especially if you’ve got comprehensive car insurance. You might have to pay extra for this but it might be included in your policy.

If your insurer can’t extend your car insurance policy, you might be able to pay for short-term European cover. This is similar to other short-term car insurance policies and you can usually get this for around 30 days.

Should you hire a car?

If it turns out you need to pay to upgrade your car insurance, it might be worth hiring a car abroad instead. However, don’t think you can drive a hire car without any cover –you’ll still need to take out insurance.

You can buy a car insurance policy from the hirer but this can be confusing. The hirer might offer you a range of different insurance products, like Personal Accident Insurance, Super Theft Protection or Uninsured Motorist Protection.

Don’t worry that you have to buy any of these – just check the small print of the basic car insurance policy. Make sure it covers you for any damage or theft of the vehicle as well as any damage to any other vehicles.

You should also look at whether you want to buy car insurance daily or pay for a full annual policy. If you’re hiring the car for two weeks or more, the annual policy might actually work out cheaper.