By law, British motor insurers must cover your car for the minimum cover required by the law in other European countries, or the minimum cover required by UK law, whichever is greater.
In most cases, this means that no matter where you are driving your car, you’ll have at least Third Party coverage. There are special conditions that may apply however, and you’d do best to check with your individual insurer to find out about limits or conditions on your policy. These are some of the most common limits and conditions found on UK policies regarding driving your own car abroad.
No cover for damage to your own vehicle
While you may have cover for collision damages when driving at home, many insurers will only cover damage to other vehicles if you are driving abroad. You can extend your policy to cover damages to your car from fire, theft and collision while abroad by talking with your insurance company or broker.
No breakdown cover abroad
Even if you extend your car insurance to cover you while driving your car overseas, you won’t be covered if your car should breakdown on the side of the road. Your insurer may be able to provide international breakdown cover, though you may get a better price on breakdown cover if you buy it in conjunction with your holiday insurance or even through your home insurer.
Advance notification required
Some car insurance companies require you to notify them in advance if you will be taking your car abroad with you. If you fail to give them notice and are involved in an accident, you may be left with only third party cover. Check your policy to find out how much advance notice your insurer requires in order to extend your policy to cover you when driving your car abroad.
Time limits on motor insurance abroad
Some higher end motor insurance policies allow you full coverage overseas for up to a stated length of time – generally 30 to 90 days – at no extra charge. They still require advance notice to extend your coverage, but as long as your overseas visits are less than the stated amount of time, you won’t be charged an extra premium. Be sure to check for any limitations on your policy while overseas. In most cases, only repairs will be covered. You’ll have to make other arrangements for transportation, car hire and other accommodations.
** Tips for Taking Your Car Abroad **
1. Check to find out how much cover your current motor insurance provides if you are traveling abroad.
2. Arrange for a Green Card through your insurer. The Green Card is an easy way to provide proof of insurance cover in most European countries.
3. Get separate breakdown cover. Most motor insurance policies do not provide any breakdown cover in foreign countries. If you carry separate breakdown cover at home, however, check that policy. Some may cover you for short trips abroad at no additional cost.
4. Ask your insurer for a European accident statement form and keep it with you. Most will provide one free of charge. It’s a handy way to jot down details of an accident while they are still fresh in your mind.
5. Because foreign cars are an attractive target for thieves, take precautions to make it difficult to steal your car. Always lock the doors, and keep motor insurance and vehicle ownership papers on your person rather than in your car.