Don’t invalidate your car insurance: 10 things you need to know if you are thinking of driving in Europe this summer
1 Make sure you’re covered for every country you visit
Under the Green Card system, the majority of UK car insurance policies should provide you with the minimum third-party cover in all other EU countries. Check with your provider beforehand as this may be less than your UK level of cover.
Non-EU countries, including Montenegro and Ukraine, are not part of the Green Card system, so you’ll need to carry a Green Card at all times. You can get this from your provider so contact them well ahead of time.
2 Take all the right documents
As well as a valid UK driving licence, remember to take along a copy of your car insurance certificate. This is a legal requirement in many countries and will help you contact your provider should anything go wrong.
You should also make sure you have contact details for your insurer’s claims team, should you need it, including any numbers you may need while abroad.
3 Keep things out of sight
When you’re relaxed on holiday it’s easy to let your guard down, but leaving belongings on show could see you become a victim of crime, and any claim you make could mean you’re liable for excess, and could also affect your No Claims Bonus and/or premium.
4 Stick to the local rules
It’s essential to make sure you’re aware of all the local driving laws – and what you need to do to stay on the right side of them. Failing to do so could see your insurance invalidated when you need it most.
Each country is different, for example, when driving in France you’re legally required to carry a warning triangle that should be placed behind your vehicle in the event of a breakdown or accident.
5 Keep your car secure
You may well invalidate your policy if you’re the victim of a crime and your car was left unlocked, the sunroof was left open, or your roof-rack was unsecured, so make sure you’re vigilant at all
6 Don’t overload your car
One of the best things about taking a road trip across Europe is that you don’t have the same restrictions on luggage. But that doesn’t mean you should go overboard when it comes to packing.
Overloading your vehicle, whether with camping gear, mountain bikes, or can invalidate your insurance policy if it leads to a collision.
7 Make sure your pets are covered
If you’re taking your four-legged friends along on a European break, make sure you don’t end up with a dog’s dinner of a holiday by letting your pets inadvertently invalidate your insurance policy. Driving with an unrestrained animal in the car could leave you without appropriate cover, and if you’re involved in a collision because you’re distracted by your pet, it’s possible your provider won’t pay out.
8 Know what you tow
The idea of pitching up on the French Riviera or the Costa Brava with your caravan is the dream for many holidaymakers, but towing in other countries is not necessarily the same as towing in the UK. Some countries have strict laws on what you can and can’t tow, and breaking these could see your insurance invalidated if you’re involved in an accident.
9 Be careful of booze cruises
So-called booze cruises to France or Belgium are perfect for stocking up on the cheap for weddings and big events, but they could end up costing you your insurance policy – or more.
A car overloaded with beers and wines could see your insurance voided, and you should always be aware of local drink-drive laws if you’re heading abroad, too, in case you want to try before you buy.
10 And finally... Try to avoid high-risk areas
A lot of insurance policies don’t cover natural disasters, which is mostly fine in the UK (aside from the odd minor tornado and an attempt at an earthquake here and there) but for the very unlucky, could cause some concern if you’re driving abroad. There are a few known natural disaster hotspots across Europe – such as Mount Etna on the Italian island of Sicily – that you’re best avoiding if you don’t want to risk invalidating your policy. Aside from natural disasters, areas of civil unrest could well pose a risk to you and your passengers. The government offer up to date foreign travel advice on over 200 countries which covers this kind of information, so give it a look before you head out.
Source: RAC Motoring
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