Short term European car insurance

Whether you're sharing the driving with a friend or borrowing a car for a holiday, learn more about temporary European car insurance.

Each year millions of Brits drive over to Europe for their holidays. If you’re planning on hitting the continental roads, we walk you through getting extra temporary European car insurance cover for anyone who’ll be borrowing or sharing a car on their trip.

RAC European

5 star European breakdown cover from RAC

  • Unlimited roadside assistance in Europe
  • 24/7 English speaking helpline
  • Repatriation costs included

Can I use my existing UK car insurance policy to drive in Europe?

Yes. Your UK car insurance policy, the one you need to drive on the roads over here, will actually give you third party protection abroad. Meanwhile, if you have a third party, fire and theft policy, or comprehensive cover in the UK, then you can get in touch with your insurer and ask if it will give you that while driving in Europe too.

A word of warning though. You might not get the same coverage you receive in the UK, so check with your insurer. You might have to pay extra too!

Who is short term European car insurance for?

You’ll want temporary European cover if you’re not covered on the car you’re planning to explore Europe with.

  • If you’re going to share the driving with a friend or family member and using their car.
  • You’re borrowing a car for your big trip abroad.
  • If you want to use a car that you’ve declared off the road in the UK through a SORN.

How does temporary car insurance for Europe work?

Temporary European car insurance is an affordable way to get covered for a few days or weeks while driving around on the continent. Here’s a breakdown of how it works.

  • Short term. Usually get a policy to cover you from 1 hour to 28 days.
  • No claims. If you’re going to take the wheel of a friend’s car, their no claims discount won’t be affected should you have an accident.
  • Higher excess. If you’re a younger driver you may have to agree to an excess of around £1,000. This is the amount you have to cough up before the insurer starts paying out.
  • No breakdown cover. This probably won’t be included and you could have to pay extra for a standalone European breakdown policy.
  • UK start and finish. You could well have to begin and end your trip in the UK to get a short term European policy.

Which countries are covered by temporary European car insurance?

All of the EU countries are covered by short term car insurance policies. So too are others like Gibraltar, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Andorra.

EU driving checklist

What is a car insurance green card?

A green card is an internationally recognised document that serves as proof of insurance in Europe. You get one from your insurer and it basically shows that you have (at the very least) third-party cover.

While the UK is still in the EU you don’t need one for driving in European Union member states. It just makes it easier when exchanging details after an accident. However, should there be a “no deal” Brexit then it will be illegal to drive in Europe without one.

Can I drive in Europe after Brexit?

The Association of British Insurers is saying yes, you will be able to. Although you’ll definitely need a green card.
The ABI has said any UK car insurance policy which offers the legal minimum coverage for travelling in countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) will still be valid.

Even if it all ends in no deal, with a green card you should still be fine.

How do I get a green card?

Ask your insurer well in advance of your trip. The Association of British Insurers says you should make the request at least a month before you travel. Your provider will then process your request and post the green card to you, all of which can take a while. Depending on your insurance provider, you might have to pay an administration fee to get one.

Which countries are part of the green card system?

Currently, 47 countries are signed up to the Green Card Scheme, including all 28 EU countries.
Other countries outside of the European Union include Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Israel, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Bottom line

While your UK car insurance policy may cover you to drive in Europe, remember to check at what level it will cover you and whether you will have to pay more.

In some cases, a temporary European car insurance policy may require you to start and finish your road trip in the UK to get a short term European policy. Shop around and compare deals.

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