EU cover for car, caravan, and motorhome trips abroad
Driving into the EU is a popular holiday option. In fact, around 4.2 million of us choose to do so. However, the freedom we enjoy of taking to the road whenever we want, and the ease with which we can do it, does mean that we may sometimes neglect the important, and sometimes regulatory, aspects of travel – insurance cover being a notable example.
It’s not easy to remember that each country may have its own set of legal requirements for driving, despite free movement within the EU. Your insurance, in particular, needs to be watertight, to ensure that, whatever happens, your holiday is as smooth and enjoyable as possible once you’ve crossed the Channel.
Insurance in the EU
As with any insurance policy, it’s important to check with your insurer about the different levels of cover that specifically apply to you before you set off, for instance, whether you’re towing a caravan, or driving a motorhome, or car, or how many people will be driving. However, there are some important considerations you should take into account for each type of vehicle insurance before you seek out a quote.
Many UK motor insurers provide cover for driving in the EU as standard; however it is important to check the number of days your insurer will allow for this in any period of insurance. Club Care Car Insurance can provide 240 days’ cover in any 12 month period of insurance for Club members. That means your policy will provide full cover while you travel in the EU – so there’s no need to contact Club Care before you travel.
Some insurers will require a ‘Green Card’ to be issued, granting the EU driving extension whilst charging an additional premium (see Motorhome below). If you decide to drive in the EU without having any allowance for this cover within your existing insurance policy, generally the insurance you will be provided with will be the minimum level of cover applicable under law in the country(s) you are visiting. So if you have a car that could be more expensive to repair or replace, it can be well worth paying the extra premium to ensure that you have the equivalent UK cover on your policy whilst in the EU. Other extras, such as windscreen cover and personal belongings cover (Club Care offers up to £500 for Club members), are useful considerations to ensure you’re best protected before setting off. Remember too that your risks of accident may increase while driving on unfamiliar roads with different legalities.
For caravan owners, many of the caravan insurance policies on the market offer cover for EU touring. However, Club Care Caravan Insurance can provide EU cover for up to 365 days.
Club Care’s EU cover for Caravan Insurance offers the exact same benefits as its UK coverage — which includes cover for any sports equipment, personal accident cover up to £50,000, and £500 pet injury cover, if you’re taking them abroad with you. If you’re a member, you’ll also enjoy specific benefits, such as up to £3,500 towards alternative accommodation, or hire of a similar caravan, if for any reason your caravan suffers any loss or damage.
If you’re planning to take your motorhome to the EU, you’ll need to make sure you have European cover and, as with your car and caravan insurance, you’ll need to check this carefully to ensure it provides the levels of protection you need. EU breakdown insurance – an optional extra with Club Care Motorhome Insurance – can be of great benefit, so that you’re not left with costly replacement, repair, or repatriation costs. As with Caravan Insurance, Club Care offers up to 365 days of EU use for motorhome owners. Provided your motorhome is less than 30 years old, Club Care will provide a quote: no matter what the make and model.
When travelling abroad, you’ll also have the option to take a Green Card with you. This is a motor certificate that shows you have cover and, while this is no longer a legal requirement in most EU countries, it can make things easier if you’re involved in an incident abroad. You’ll just need to ask your insurer to send one to you, leaving plenty of time before you set off. It’s also a good idea to use a Green Card if you’re travelling by car.
Different insurance types and what they mean abroad
As well as vehicle-specific cover, there are also different policy types, which offer varying levels of protection.
Third party only
This is the minimum legal requirement for your insurance, when in the EU. The cover is very basic, and only pays out to a third party: the other person involved in any road traffic accident or incident caused by you. Third party only insurance doesn’t cover the repair or replacement of your own vehicle and it doesn’t cover you if your car is stolen or catches fire either.
Third party, fire and theft
Delivering the same cover as third party only, but adding better protection for you if your vehicle is stolen or catches fire. Third party, fire and theft cover, however, can still leave you with costly repair, replacement and repatriation bills, if you’re involved in an incident on the road overseas.
Fully comprehensive insurance
Fully comprehensive insurance offers you cover for third party damages, as well as for loss or damage to your own vehicle, whether as a result of fire, theft, or a road traffic accident.
Driving in the EU – before you go
As well as ensuring you have the most suitable levels of insurance in place, before you set off on your tour of the EU, there are a number of other things you can do to help your journey run smoothly:
- Research the rules of the road for each country: what side of the road you should drive on, what the speed limits are, and what paperwork you need to carry, as examples.
- Be sure to check if breakdown cover is included in your policy, as sometimes this cover does not extend to the EU, or the cover it offers may be curtailed while overseas.
- Check the in-car equipment you’re obliged to carry – did you know that in France you’re obliged to have a breathalyser in the car? Or that for many countries a warning triangle, high-vis vest and other safety equipment are required? Be sure to pack the relevant kit before you go.
- Make sure you have adequate health and travel insurance – you can get a European Health Card from the NHS, and this will entitle you to free, or at least reduced cost, healthcare while you’re travelling. Your travel insurance will provide greater levels of protection though.
- Ensure your headlights have been adjusted to compensate for driving on the left
If you’re involved in an accident, or if you need to make a claim, tell your insurer as soon as possible so that they can start sorting things out for you.
Motorhome, Caravan, and Motor Insurance with Club Care offer a number of exclusive rewards to Club members. Contact Club Care and learn more about the type of cover that’s right for you.