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Driving Abroad Checklist

Oct 21, 2021

With half term fast approaching, and travel opening up under new government travel guidelines, many of us may finally be planning a holiday abroad. And if you are planning to take your own vehicle and drive abroad then some things may have changed since you last travelled. Brexit means new rules for driving abroad in EU countries. So, what do you need to keep in mind if you are planning to drive in Europe over the coming weeks and months?

What should be on your driving abroad checklist?

Inform your car insurer you are taking your vehicle abroad

If you are planning to take your vehicle to Europe and drive abroad then you will need to make sure you inform your car insurer before you travel.

This is also a good time to run through any questions you may have about your insurance cover when driving abroad.

Have the right insurance in place to drive abroad

All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third-party cover to drive in:

  • the EU (including Ireland)
  • Andorra
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland

If you need additional cover for your trip to the EU, then it is best to check with your insurer.

Know the rules around green cards

A green card is an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country visited.  

Following Brexit, and the UK leaving the EU and wider European Economic Area (EEA), it became a requirement for UK motorists to carry a green card when travelling to the EU and EEA in their own motor vehicle.

However, on the 2nd August changes were again made to the green card requirements for driving your own vehicle in Europe.  UK motorists no longer have to carry a green card when travelling to the EU in their own vehicle. The obligation has been waived by the European Commission as part of a range of measures to address Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland issues.

If you plan to travel outside of the EU, then it will be best to check with your insurer as there may be green card requirements in other areas of the world.

Know the rules about GB Stickers

GB stickers are no longer valid when driving abroad in EU countries under new rules which came into effect from the end of September.

If you have a GB sticker on the back of your vehicle, you will need to remove it or cover it up before driving outside the UK.

It will need to be replaced with a ‘UK’ sticker. Full guidelines relating to these new requirements can be found on the gov.uk site.

Take the right documentation

When driving abroad in EU countries you will need to take

  • Your certificate of motor insurance which will prove that you have the right level of cover for driving in the EU. It may also be useful to have a copy of your policy documents easily to hand or saved somewhere that you can easily access them
  • Your vehicle registration document (V5) which will prove that you own the vehicle you are travelling in
  • Your full valid driving licence
  • An International Driving Permit (IDP) if required. Full details about the IDP can be found on the gov.uk site
  • Proof of identification (passport)

Know the requirements of the country that you are driving in

Each county will have different rules and laws when it comes to driving. So, you will need to be aware of these and adhere to them. This can include different rules relating to speed limits, or to drink drive limits for example.

You may also have to carry extra equipment in your vehicle such as a warning triangle, high visibility vest, first aid kit or headlamp beam deflectors.

Before you travel, check the specific requirements of the country (or countries) that you are planning to drive in.

Other areas to consider when travelling abroad

Have travel insurance in place

It is vital that you have the right level of travel insurance in place before you travel abroad. It will need to be valid for the entire duration of your holiday, cover the countries you are travelling to and the activities you are going to be engaging in (e.g., winter sports, water sports etc).

A GHIC card

Following Brexit, the previous EHIC card has been replaced with the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

The GHIC lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.

The GHIC does not replace travel insurance. It will be required in addition to. You can apply for a GHIC on the NHS website.

Check the travel advice

COVID-19 has added extra complexity to travelling abroad. It is best to check the travel advice for the country or countries that you are planning to travel to on the foreign travel advice section of the gov.uk website. You should then adhere to any requirements to ensure no disruption to your plans.

With Brexit creating changes to the relationship between the UK and EU, and COVID-19 creating additional complexity for driving abroad it has never been so important to check travel advice, guidance, and rules before you drive abroad in Europe. The above gives a guide to areas to consider on your driving abroad checklist, but if you have any questions about your specific insurance or needs then get in touch with your insurer or insurance broker who should be well placed to help. Contact us at Anthony Jones today if you have any questions about your motor insurance.

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