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Don’t risk driving abroad without insurance

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24/06/2015
With thousands of Brits due to head abroad by car for the summer via ferries and trains, Policy Expert warns that motorists who head overseas without the correct car insurance could face significant costs.

Most standard British motor insurance policies won’t cover motorists when they drive abroad. As a result, driving abroad without insurance poses obvious risks, as a breakdown or accident could result in fines, hefty towing, repair and repatriation fees, and even impoundment.

To drive abroad legally, motorists require a motor insurance certificate (often referred to as an insurance ‘green card’). While inexpensive, this is akin to a third party UK policy – so the level of cover drivers enjoy is actually negligible.

While it can be tempting to go for the budget option, Policy Expert advise against it – the best car insurance policies will cover you overseas in the same way a fully comprehensive policy covers your car in the UK. Policy Expert recommend drivers consult their car insurance provider, and see whether it’s possible to supplement their current policy with overseas cover as an ‘add on’.

Furthermore, there are a number of car insurance ‘must haves’ when abroad – drivers should examine the details of their policies thoroughly, to ensure these features are included:

Duration

Overseas car insurance policies usually cover drivers for up to 90 days, but this figure can be more or less depending the type of policy. If you need more time, it may be available as an optional extra.

Destination

Motorists shouldn’t assume that their overseas car insurance policy insures them to drive anywhere in the world. Chances are, some countries will be excluded – and they will likely be specified. If not, then ask for full details.

Repatriation

Check the terms of a policy if a car needs to be returned to the UK by mechanical means. Cheaper policies might exclude this, or pay out only a small amount.

Accommodation

Motorists may need to stay in their holiday destination longer while their car is being repaired, and may further require emergency accommodation during this time. This feature is commonly offered, but rarely included as a matter of course – if a motorist feels they might need this option available, they must request it.

Vehicle

In the event of an accident, a motorist may need a replacement car while theirs is being repaired. Most policies include this as a standard feature – although cheaper policies might strictly limit what cars can be hired, and how long for.

Breakdown

Standard overseas car insurance often only covers accidents, rather than breakdowns. Drivers without roadside help available to them could encounter serious difficulties, so drivers must ensure this is added as an optional extra (or, indeed, they buy a policy that offers this as a basic feature).

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