Safe Driving Abroad
All UK car insurance policies automatically provide, at no extra cost, the minimum cover required by law in all European Union (EU) countries. The minimum required is cover for your liability to Third Parties. Each year over 2 million motorists take their cars abroad.
Whether you are only making a day trip across the channel to France, driving on business or holidaying overseas, it is vital that you have full insurance cover before setting out. If not, you could find yourself unprotected and left with an expensive bill if you are involved in an accident or your car is stolen.
International Car Insurance
If you have an accident, you may not be covered for medical or hospital expenses. Always consult your car insurance partner or a motoring organisation before leaving the UK to make sure that you are fully insured.
Are you planning to take your own car abroad or possibly hire a vehicle whilst in a foreign country? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then there are some laws, regulations and tips which you need to know in order that your journey can be made safely and legally.
A Green Card is an internationally recognised document which serves solely as evidence that the holder has the minimum insurance cover required by law in the country being visited. A Green Card provides no insurance cover in itself.
It is not necessary to have a Green Card when travelling to the EU and countries listed above (although if you do not take a Green Card, you should instead carry your Certificate of Insurance). However, a Green Card can serve as easily recognisable proof of third party insurance, for example in the case of an accident when travelling abroad.
Insurers do not charge for a Green Card. Where insurance is arranged through an intermediary, such as an insurance broker, however, they may levy an administration fee for arranging a Green Card for their client. If they do, they must separately indicate the amount of the fee and its purpose.
Hiring a car abroad
When hiring a car in the USA, insurance cover is sometimes limited to the legal minimum in the State where you hire. You could be held personally liable for any claim for injury or damage over this limit. So ask if your tour operator or insurance adviser can provide top-up insurance to increase your cover. This may be cheaper than buying it abroad.
If you are involved in an accident, immediately tell your insurer or your insurer’s representative in the country concerned. Many insurers issue a European Accident Statement. This enables drivers to exchange facts while events are still fresh in their minds and without admitting liability. Before you travel check to see if your insurance company offers a 24-hour UK-based telephone help lines in case you need help in an emergency. Make sure you have these details with you when you travel abroad.
Even if you have extended your policy for driving abroad, this will not cover your car against breaking down. Vehicle Breakdown Policies can be bought with your holiday insurance or separately. Check to see if your motor insurer can provide this cover.
Generally the policy will cover the cost of hiring a car while your own is being repaired, road-side assistance and emergency repairs, the cost of returning your car to the UK or sending out spare parts, together with emergency accommodation if you are unable to use your vehicle. A monetary limit will apply to each section of the policy.
Before Your Leave!
Make sure your vehicle is serviced before you leave and that you know about and comply with the vehicle requirements in the countries you are visiting. Don’t go without taking:
• A spare set of keys.
• A GB sticker and a set of headlamp converters.
• A fire extinguisher, first aid kit, tool kit, spare bulbs and warning triangle.
• Registration document, driving licence and passport. Check whether you need to take an International Driving Permit with you.
• Your UK motor insurance certificate, Green Card (if issued), and details of any breakdown and travel insurance, together with any emergency help line numbers.