Are You Covered When Driving Abroad?
We have all witnessed or been personally affected by the devastating floods in the United Kingdom. It isn’t easy to imagine what involved families are going through as they face another week without their homes, cars, or even running water due to the flooded streets and submerged vehicles. Best way to buy driver license?
Most insurance policies, however, will cover at least the material losses, if not the emotional distress. But how comprehensive is your insurance coverage when driving abroad? When faced with a similar flooding situation while on vacation, you might get a celebrity shot on ‘Holidays from Hell.’ Still, if you look out from your villa balcony and see your car bobbing in the storm waters, you might feel far happier knowing you’ve carefully planned your car insurance.
While many of us go to great lengths to insure our homes and vehicles in the UK, there is far more uncertainty about what happens when we travel abroad. Packing your car and driving into the sunset for a road trip around Europe, for example, may sound like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. And there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be; check your insurance coverage before you go.
Many drivers, for example, believe that a UK car insurance policy will provide the same level of coverage if they take their car abroad. However, most existing policies only cover basic road traffic accidents (RTAs) or, at best, third-party coverage for international trips. This means you are not protected against theft, fire, or damage. You would also not be covered for legal expenses in a car accident.
You’ve probably heard of a ‘Green Card’ for driving abroad. This is an internationally recognized document demonstrating you have the bare minimum of insurance coverage required by law in the country you are visiting. The key word here is minimum – the card does not provide insurance in and of itself. While it will provide valuable evidence of your primary coverage, you will still need additional insurance coverage if you want comprehensive protection.
However, obtaining the same insurance coverage that you have in the UK when traveling abroad is a simple process. If it is not already included in your policy, you could ask your current insurer to extend the scope of your coverage before you travel. This extension may incur an additional fee, depending on where you are traveling and for how long.
Alternatively, this could be an excellent time to look into the car insurance market in general – it’s always worth ensuring you’re getting the best deal, especially if you plan to travel frequently with your car. Finally, please inquire with your chosen insurer about Green Cards; while they are no longer required in EU countries, they are still valid proof of primary insurance. You will undoubtedly need one if traveling outside of the EU. Your insurer should be able to assist you in obtaining one.
Some insurers may offer ‘Green Card cover.’ Because Green Cards are accessible (and do not provide insurance cover), you are paying to extend your UK insurance cover overseas. Whatever coverage you choose, and whether you get a Green Card, bring your insurance documents just in case you need to make a claim. And don’t leave any such records in your car – if you get caught in a UK-style flood abroad, your careful planning and paperwork will be ruined.
It would be best if you also thought about your breakdown insurance. Car breakdown policies can be added to your holiday insurance or purchased separately. Your auto insurance company may also provide this coverage.
Such insurance may cover the cost of renting a car. At the same time, your roadside assistance and emergency repairs are being repaired, as the cost of returning your vehicle to the UK, sending spare parts, and even emergency lodging if you cannot use your car. Of course, prices will vary depending on the level of coverage you desire or require, but whatever policy you choose will provide peace of mind, especially if you are driving long distances.
The following general tips may also help you plan your once-in-a-lifetime road trip:
- Before you leave on your vacation, have your vehicle serviced, and make sure you research and comply with any vehicle requirements in the countries you will be visiting.
- Remember to bring your motor insurance certificate, Green Card (if applicable), details of any breakdown and travel insurance, and emergency helpline numbers. Bring your registration document, driver’s license, and, of course, your passport. Some countries may require you to obtain an International Driving Permit; check with your destination/s beforehand.
- Get your vehicle’s fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, tool kit, spare bulbs, and warning triangle. Many of these items are required by law in some EU countries.
- Take a spare set of keys and store them safely!
- Before you travel, familiarize yourself with the road signs and rules of the country you visit.
- Remember to bring your registration document, driver’s license, and passport. Check your destination/s to see if you need to get an International Driving Permit.
This preparation may not sit well with the idea of speeding into the unknown with only your car and the road ahead. But, if you genuinely want a once-in-a-lifetime road trip, a little planning will ensure you get it.
Read also: Buying A Used Car From A Used Car Dealer.