Car Insurance Abroad
Car insurance abroad is important if you plan on driving any vehicle on foreign soil, whether it’s a borrowed vehicle, a hired car or your own transportation. There are advantages and disadvantages to any vehicle scenario, but one constant remains: You must have at least liability coverage and proof of coverage to drive even a metre. If you have car cover from a UK company, the law requires that the policy provide at least legal minimum of protection for European travel for covered vehicles. Other countries may be covered as well, depending on your coverage type and benefits.
Because of the different languages, different traffic laws and even different currency, you might opt for higher coverage than third-party protection already provided. Since the UK enacted legislation to ensure European cover on all UK policies, options for protection in any European country have expanded in scope and price ranges. Your UK auto cover may provide only what is legally necessary – third-party cover, but check the actual policy stipulations: Some carriers limit trips abroad to one trip per year; others may provide up to 30 days of coverage that can be scheduled as you’d like. Costs and cover options vary, so compare cover packages to ensure you get the coverage abroad you want.
Legal Minimum Cover
European cover hasn’t always been required of UK auto coverage providers. Prices for independent policies were high, for the demand exceeded supply. Now, all UK coverage providers must present at least third-party cover – liability only – within even their UK third-party auto insurance policies. Even if you have comprehensive cover with all the standard added features, the baseline coverage for car insurance abroad is still third-party cover only.
You can upgrade that coverage, and because of the complications noted above, plus the added potential frustration and difficulties of breaking down in a European country, it’s highly recommended that you obtain comprehensive cover with at least breakdown protection whilst driving abroad. To minimise risks against their driving history, many people opt for a one-week car insurance policy or even for a one-month temporary cover at full benefits, for short-term cover protects the accident history so carefully built with motorists’ regular carrier.
Time Restrictions and Notice
As you plan your European driving tour, contact your carrier to give advance notice; there may be additional procedures you must follow to gain unhindered availability to your car insurance abroad. As previously mentioned, ensure you know precisely what the terms and limitations are for your car insurance abroad: Don’t mistake one trip per year for a maximum of 30 days for several shorter trips for a total of thirty days. You could be subjected to penalties of the foreign country if you drive without proper cover. It’s always better to inform and not need it than it is to presume and be mistaken.
Green cards for insurance is a proof-of-auto-coverage system that notes the insured does have proper cover to drive in Europe. You can obtain a green card from your insurance company, and whilst some European countries don’t require you to carry it, it’s always a good idea to have it anyway, just in case there is a question which cannot be more easily answered. Countries near the European Union, like Macedonia and Belarus, do require that green card be present when driving a vehicle within their borders.
Insurance companies in the UK are not obligated to provide green cards, so if yours does not, don’t worry. Contact another company who can verify your coverage; the other company may charge a small fee, but there are companies who provide that service. Should you have a question unanswered by your carrier, the Motor Insurance Bureau can certainly provide information, for they are the green card system monitors. It’s better to be confident and to have a green card to ensure there is no mistaking your UK insurance coverage, especially if you have more benefits than just liability coverage with a third-party benefit.
Advanced research into European traffic laws, traffic signs and a thorough study of the geography of the area in which you plan to study is always a good idea. Contact your insurance carrier and discuss your general itinerary and verify their procedures in case the worst happens and you’re in an accident or break down during your travels.