Be insured when you’re abroad
Driving your own car in the European Union (EU) can be easier and cheaper than hiring a car.
Some drivers discover too late that their car insurance doesn’t cover them for European travel. Being involved in an accident abroad is an expensive mistake you want to avoid.
Co-op Car Insurance includes eight days of cover for driving in the EU and some other European countries. So whatever your insurance covers you for in the UK, it’s similar cover in the EU. Just let us know if your trip is for longer than 8 days
Extend your cover for longer trips
If you’re going to be in the EU for longer than eight days – whether that’s in one go, or spread over several trips in one year – you might want to add on our Extended Foreign Use cover for £30 a year (prices may vary at renewal).
This gives you a similar level of cover to what you’ve got when you’re driving in the UK, up to a maximum of 90 days per trip; you don’t have to tell us before you go.
Stay safe on the roads
Drivers in some countries have been targeted by ‘highway pirates’ who force them to stop by warning them their car is damaged or has a problem.
These criminals often target cars from abroad so if another driver asks you to stop, only pull over in a well-lit public area like a service station. A police officer will never ask for your bag, wallet or purse – and you should always see their ID before handing anything over.
Remember the usual precautions too: be careful parking at night and in remote places, and never leave valuables on show in your car.
Accessories you might need
Unless your car has the new registration plates showing the Euro flag and GB logo, you’ll need to put a GB sticker on your car whenever you go abroad. You can buy them at motor stores before you go, or at the port.
In some countries you have to carry some safety accessories by law – like a red warning triangle, a reflective vest, first aid kit and spare bulbs. There are more details below, but we think it’s a good idea to have them wherever you’re going.
You might also need to buy stick-on deflectors to prevent dazzling oncoming drivers when you’re driving on the right. It’s an extra safety precaution and should only cost a few pounds.
It’s a good idea to take your full driving licence, car and insurance documents too, because some countries might impound your car if you don’t have them.
Lastly, check your MOT hasn’t expired and that your car’s oil, water and windscreen washer levels are topped up.
Check if you need a green card?
You’ll need a ‘green card’ in some EU countries to prove you have insurance – if you need one we can send it to you before you go.
Either way, you should take your Certificate of Motor Insurance with you – it confirms, in five languages, that you’re legally covered to drive in the EU.
Other legal requirements
Different EU countries have some specific laws relating to drivers. For example, you have to carry a self-breathalyser test in France. In Germany, summer tyres are illegal when conditions are wintry.
Please check these laws before you go – there’s a downloadable guide available.