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Lucy F, Bradford UK

Learning to Drive in Different Countries

Learning to drive in foreign countries can be thrilling, but it can also be a little frightening. You will be dealing with not only a different language but also with traffic signs, signals and laws that may be, well, foreign to you. Some countries have narrow streets and many more pedestrians and bicyclists than you are used to, not to mention different weather patterns as well. Learning to drive in a foreign land may bring more surprises than you know.Whilst vehicle insurance coverage blanket coverage for the UK, not all present cover in foreign countries. You may have to pay additional fees or purchase a separate, short-term policy. On the other hand, some insurance covers allow up to 30 days of cover in Europe. Check for that coverage rider inclusion if you have any inkling of driving on the continent.

Driving in the European Union

If your European stay is a short one – a quick holiday or a business trip, for example, you may not need extensive training. So long as you remember to drive on the correct side of the street, obey basic traffic signals and watch for additional hazards, you might adapt well enough for the short term. Stay longer than a few days, though, and you might consider obtaining adequate driver’s training for that country. Your insurance policy may actually designate how long you can drive without it before cover fails, or it might dictate mandatory training for even an overnight stay.Driving etiquette and those driving rules and signs may be different enough to warrant the safety net of that training, however. Each culture possesses its own driving environment, and only a few may correspond with driving in the United Kingdom. A hired local driver may be the wiser course, or you might opt for the few-day driver’s familiarity course.Whether in only the UK or in Europe as well, you must have and show proof of insurance for both you and the vehicle. Most UK policies offering European cover will provide third-party insurance only. Since only those who own damaged cars or property or who are hurt in an accident you cause are reimbursed – not you, passengers or your car, you might consider elevating your European cover to include those potential costs as well. Some UK insurers may not extend European cover: In those instances, investigate European-based, comprehensive policies for short holidays or business trips instead.If you have comprehensive cover in the UK, some companies offer drivers in good standing identical cover for 30 days in Europe. Expect high premiums when it’s activated, but comparatively speaking, it’s usually far cheaper to purchase it than it is to replace or reimburse at your own expense. Check those conditions and terms very carefully before you buy any cover, and always carry proof of cover for the driving area whenever you travel.

Driving Internationally

When driving outside the UK or Europe, your Green Card serves as proof of insurance for each country that recognizes it. Before travelling, you can check with the destination’s country or with your insurance carrier for Green Card recognition. If applicable, you can request one from your insurer or through the Motor Insurers Bureau. Also before travelling, discuss with the insurer your travel plans and ensure your policy cover provides adequate protection at your destination. Some insurers place notification restrictions, time limitations or distance maximums on policy protection.Learning to drive in different companiesis both fun and possibly required. It’s always a good idea, though, for once you have that special knowledge, you can relax and enjoy your trip with that much more confidence. Just don’t forget to review, update and carry proof of insurance with you!

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