Many Brits will hit the roads abroad this summer, with around two million people steering their cars overseas every year*. MoneySuperMarket is urging motorists to check their car insurance policy before they go away to make sure they are fully aware of the cover provided when driving in Europe and further afield.
Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: ‘If you’re taking your car to Europe this summer, the key advice is to understand how you are covered by your car insurance in the country you’re visiting. That means checking to see if your policy covers you to the level legally required in the countries you’re driving through as well as your destination. Many policies will protect you on European roads, but those with ‘fully comp’ cover are often downgraded to the minimum level of cover required in the country they are travelling in. In some cases cover can be limited to the basic third party level unless you pay to extend your fully comprehensive protection to apply off UK soil.
‘It is also important to check the number of days you are allowed to be away as this can differ between providers. Read through your policy wording before you travel as you may have to pay an extra premium if you are away longer than your standard cover permits.
‘The same applies for breakdown cover. You need to check you’re covered in Europe – on a country by country basis – because being stranded by the roadside, perhaps not speaking the language, and with a car full of fretful passengers, could ruin your holiday and cost you a fortune.’
Rules of the road
It’s important to swot up on the local rules of the road – do your homework before you set off on your trip so you are not caught out in an unfamiliar territory. Rules will change from country to country – from carrying a warning triangle, fluorescent vest and breathalyser in France, knowing the alcohol limit in Spain, and giving way to traffic entering a roundabout from the opposite side in Greece, so it really pays to research the rules in your chosen destination.
Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, continues: “When people are relaxed on their holiday they may let their driving guard down, but as soon as you hit European soil, local driving rules apply, so it’s vital holiday-makers are vigilant. In the EU there are certain items you must have stored in your boot while driving such as warning triangles, so it’s worth reading up on exactly what you need before setting off.”
Top tips for driving abroad:
– European speed limits are displayed in km/h and not mph, therefore you should watch your speed.
– In many European countries, the use of dipped headlights is compulsory for cars in poor daytime visibility and compulsory for motorcycles no matter what the visibility, day or night.
– If travelling between countries, ensure you have a warning triangle in your boot, reflective jackets for each passenger and, if you are travelling to or through ski resorts, snow chains. If you do run into trouble, the emergency number in most countries is 112.
– You’ll need to display a GB sticker on your car when driving within the EU – failure to do so could result in an on-the-spot fine. It’s also a requirement in some non-EU countries so it’s best to display one wherever you’re driving.