Insurance for a caravan holiday
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Yes, all UK car insurance providers will cover driving in Europe as standard. But the level of cover can vary between insurers, so check the terms and conditions in your policy.
You might not get the same level of cover that you do when you’re driving in the UK.
For example, most insurers will provide third party only (TPO) cover in Europe as standard (and this must be for a minimum of 30 days per year).
If this is the case with your policy, you may want to look into paying extra to get fully comprehensive car insurance.
Speak to your current car insurance provider to let them know you’re planning a trip to Europe and find out if they’ll extend your cover.
Many insurers will offer fully comprehensive European car insurance that you can buy as a policy add-on, giving you the same level of cover while you’re away.
Alternatively, there are providers that offer temporary or short-term car insurance. These policies can last from one day up to a few weeks and can sometimes be a cheaper option.
All UK insurers will provide TPO cover as a minimum for you to drive in:
Are you driving in the EU after Brexit?Here’s what you need to know
A green card is a document provided by insurers that proves you’ve got the minimum insurance required by the country you’re driving in.
You’ll need a green card if you plan to drive through certain countries, including:
As well as countries outside of Europe, such as Iran, Israel and Morocco.
The good news is that you don’t need one to drive in the EU - including when you’re in Ireland - or in European Economic Area (EEA) states, such as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
However, even though you’re unlikely to need a green card in Europe, you’ll still need proof that you’ve got valid car insurance.
Before you drive to Europe or other destinations it’s always best to ask your insurer what you’ll need and visit gov.uk for the most up-to-date regulations and travel advice.
Yes, this can be a good option if you don’t have comprehensive European driving insurance on your policy.
You can take out short-term policies that can last for as little as one day up to a few weeks.
You can either speak to your insurer about extending your policy or compare prices online for short-term European car insurance to help you find the best deal.
When you’re driving abroad, you’ll need to make sure you bring a copy of your full driving licence with you.
You’ll also need to have:
Depending on the country you may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a UK car sticker.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen and may be more likely when you’re driving on the other side of the road or having to negotiate roundabouts in an anti-clockwise direction.
If you have a road accident when you’re in Europe, if possible:
If you’re driving in Europe your insurer may have given you a European Accident Statement (EAS) form or you may receive one at the scene of the accident.
This helps to get an agreement on the facts and can help with insurance claims - but only sign this when you’re sure you understand and agree on what happened. And make sure you’re given a copy.
If this happens in an EU country, or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you should still be able to make a claim through the country’s equivalent of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.
Your insurance company should be able to give you more information on this or you can contact the British Embassy in the country where you’re staying.
In most European countries, the legal age to drive is 18 and you’ll need a full driving licence, you won’t be able to use a provisional one.
And if you need to apply for an IDP (often needed if you’re driving outside Europe), you’ll also need to be at least 18 years old.
You’ll need to be at least 21 years old to hire a car in Europe, too.
No matter how confident or competent a driver you are, it still pays to be prepared before you drive in Europe.
So, before you set off it's worth doing the following:
It’s not always easy to understand European road signs, so try to learn what they mean before you go and take a copy with you
These can vary from country to country, so make sure you know the speed limits and what you are and aren’t allowed to do when driving
You’ll come across these much more often in Europe. While they usually take card payments, it’s a good idea to have some change handy too
In some European countries you’ll need to have at least six months left on your passport
Most European countries require you to have high vis jackets, a red warning triangle, first aid kit, a UK car sticker, and to carry your insurance details
Do this before you set off and check the level of water, oil, and coolant, as well as the tread depth and air pressure of your tyres
Although it’s not a legal requirement in Europe, having breakdown cover in place can provide some real peace of mind if you find yourself broken down at the side of the road.
With European breakdown cover you’ll be able to call an English-speaking helpline to get roadside assistance for repairs or get help if your car needs to be towed to a garage.
If you’ve already got UK breakdown cover, you may be able to pay extra to extend this abroad or we can help you compare quotes to find the right cover.
Bear in mind that without any breakdown cover, you’d need to arrange for repairs and assistance yourself, and deal with any language barriers along the way.
Plus, emergency call-outs are likely to be very costly without cover, so you could find yourself with a large and unwelcome holiday expense.
Since Britain left the EU, some new rules have been introduced that change what’s required when you’re driving in Europe.
For a start, you’ll no longer need a green card to prove you’ve got insurance when you travel in the EEA - your insurance documents should be enough.
And while you’ll still be able to use your UK driving licence in Europe, you won’t if you’ve only got a paper licence (and not a photocard) or if your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.
In these cases, you might need to get an IDP - but you can check this with the embassy of the country you want to drive in.
One of the other notable changes is the GB car sticker you previously needed for driving in Europe. This has been changed to a UK sticker - which needs to be stuck on the rear of your vehicle before you set off on your travels.
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