Whether you've never driven abroad or are a seasoned road-tripper, COVID-19 and Brexit have introduced some new challenges. Let's look at some of the new rules and regulations and remind you of some old gotchas.
Insurance – Do I need a ‘green card’?
Earlier this year, immediately after Brexit, there was a short period when UK vehicle owners needed a green card to drive in Europe. The green card proves that the vehicle is fully insured. However, after agreement from the EU, this requirement has been removed.
You do NOT need a green card for driving your British car in The EU (including Ireland), Switzerland and a few other countries. Check the Gov UK website for more information.
If you do need a green card, your insurance company will be able to send you one by post or e-mail.
International driving permit
You can get an international driving permit from the Post Office for about £7. However, the good news is that you don't need one if you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK. For more information, have a look on the Gov UK website.
Coronavirus has complicated travel from the UK to Europe. Still, travel within Europe is surprisingly simple, especially if you are vaccinated.
That said, if you transit through an amber or red list country, you will have to adhere to the rules for returning from that country when you get back to the UK. This applies even if you don't stop or get out of your vehicle.
For the latest information, consult the Gov UK website.
What documents to carry?
Whether driving your own car or hiring a car abroad, it's a good idea to make a travel pack of essential documents and always keep them with you. This should include:
- Valid driving licence
- Proof of insurance (or hire car documentation)
- V5C certificate (or hire car documentation)
- MOT certificate (if appropriate)
European law often requires more equipment to be carried in the car than in the UK. Before setting off from the UK, take a trip to your nearest motoring shop and ensure you have everything you need. If you're hiring a car, these items will be included as standard. A good equipment list to carry is:
- High-visibility jackets – one for each person and kept in the cabin of the car
- Warning triangle
- Headlamp beam deflectors – these may be fitted electronically to newer cars
- UK car sticker – not required if you have a GB Euro number plate unless driving in Cyprus, Malta or Spain, where a sticker is still required
- First aid kit
Does the thought of breaking down fill you with dread? Imagine breaking down in a foreign country. Most UK breakdown companies will offer European breakdown cover for an additional fee.
Search around to find the best deal – or even better – buy your breakdown cover at the same time as your car insurance from PayingTooMuch.
Each country in Europe will have slightly different rules and regulations. For example, wearing headphones whilst driving is illegal in France.
After you've planned your road trip, have a look at the local rules and regulations for each country. A good source of information is the RAC website.
All UK car insurance policies meet the minimum requirements for driving in Europe. However, you may need to check with your insurer that you are insured for driving abroad. Often there will be no extra charge, but insurance companies like to know where and when you're going.
If you have any questions, want to discuss breakdown cover or any other aspect of your car insurance policy, give our team a call on 01243 784000. We're a friendly online insurance broker with access to multiple insurers and great prices. Get a quote online, or give our expert team a call.