Car Insurance for Driving in Europe – The Facts!
June 15, 2011, Press Dispensary. Car insurance comparison site Tiger.co.uk today issues a reminder to all UK drivers who are planning to take their cars abroad this summer. With just a month to go before Britain’s motorists start to head for ports and the Eurotunnel, the site is advising motorists to make sure they check car insurance policies now in order to avoid any nasty surprises on the Continent.
Many drivers apparently believe that their UK car insurance policy will automatically provide identical levels of coverage in European Union countries. In fact, a recent survey suggested that about a third of UK motorists thought this to be the case. However many car insurance policies downgrade the level of cover provided when driving in the EU.
Let’s have a look at the facts.
Wherever you are travelling in the EU your UK car insurance policy will by European directive automatically provide, at no extra cost, at least the minimum level of insurance cover required by law in that country. This means that even if you have fully comprehensive cover in the UK, you may only have the equivalent of Third Party cover (or even less cover in some countries) in Europe. So any accidental damage to your car could leave you facing at best an unexpected bill that could really spoil your well-earned break. At worst you could be looking at having to replace your car with no contribution from your insurer.
A spokesperson for Tiger.co.uk commented: “The lesson here is to always check with your insurance provider well before taking your car abroad. Ask them what level of cover you will have in the countries you are visiting and check that you will be covered for the duration of your stay. Note too, that for some UK insurance policies failure to inform them that you will be driving abroad could invalidate your insurance cover completely. If your overseas cover will be downgraded by your insurer you will usually be able to pay for a temporary “top up” to reinstate your UK level of cover. Alternatively if your policy is up for renewal, use a car insurance comparison site like Tiger.co.uk to find an insurer that will offer you a policy that provides a higher level of European cover.
Finally, don’t forget that your UK breakdown insurance may not cover you abroad. Again it’s worth checking this with your insurer. You may be able to upgrade your cover and this could give you greater peace of mind when driving abroad.”
Another area that causes some confusion is the “Green Card”. The Tiger.co.uk spokesperson clarified the role that this plays for overseas drivers: “The Green Card is not an insurance policy in itself. It is a document that is recognised in 43 countries – including all the EU countries as well as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland – that provides proof that the driver is insured to at least the minimum legal requirements for third party liability insurance. It is NOT legally necessary for drivers to take a Green Card with them when driving in Europe but having it may make it easier for drivers to make a claim in the event of an accident. If you do not take a Green Card with you, you should take your insurance certificate.
We recommend that drivers ask their insurer for a Green Card when contacting them to check levels of overseas driving insurance cover on their policies and carrying both this and their insurance policy documentation with them”.
Tiger.co.uk has just published a useful checklist for UK drivers taking their cars abroad and this is now available on their website.
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Notes for editors
Tiger.co.uk is a trading name of Call Connection Ltd. Tiger.co.uk is a UK based, independent price comparison site, offering insurance quotes from over 140 motor insurance brands. Call Connection Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (number 308374).
For further information, please contact:
Jo Buck, Tiger.co.uk
Tel: 01473 418513