European driving cover

Why do I need European driving cover?

In an ideal world, when you drive off the ferry in Calais or Bilbao your car insurance would be exactly as valid as it was when you left UK shores. However, this isn’t typically the case. Different countries have different car insurance requirements, and your policy will be based on where you usually drive and keep your vehicle.

Without the right cover, you can be caught out if you end up involved in an accident or your car gets damaged or breaks down abroad. European driving cover helps to make sure that you can still make a valid claim if you have an incident with your car while driving it in covered countries. And, if you get stopped by local law enforcement, you want to be confident your insurance isn’t going to be a problem.

If you have fully comprehensive cover in the UK, this might extend to driving in Europe – but it’s never a good idea to assume this is the case. You might need to add European driving cover for the duration of your trip. Usually this won’t be costly, and in some cases there may be no extra cost at all.

Which countries are covered by European driving cover?

Your insurer can confirm exactly which countries European driving cover is valid in and at what level. Typically, European driving cover will include the following destinations:

Andorra Estonia Italy Portugal
Austria Finland Latvia Romania
Belgium France Liechtenstein Serbia
Bulgaria Germany Lithuania Slovakia
Croatia Greece Malta Slovenia
Cyprus Hungary Netherlands Spain
Czech Republic Iceland Norway Sweden
Denmark Ireland Poland Switzerland

It’s best to check directly with your insurer to be certain of the countries covered when you’re planning to travel, as this may change. Some countries also require a visa or insurance green card for you to drive legally in them.

Family vacation European driving cover

Why is European driving cover important?

Put simply, European driving cover matters because it protects you and others when you drive in the EU.

When you drive your car in another country, your UK car insurance policy will only give you the legal minimum insurance required in that country. Or, if the basic level of cover there is even less than the UK legal minimum, you’ll get the UK legal minimum, known as RTA cover (after the Road Traffic Act 1988). This equates to a shade below third-party only cover, and doesn’t cover your own vehicle.

European driving cover is essential if you want the same kind of protection in Europe as you have driving in the UK. That might be comprehensive cover that takes care of all parties in the event of an accident, meaning you don’t have to panic if you have a bump.

Get your European driving cover quote today

Want to speak with someone about European driving cover, or check the cover levels on your current car insurance policy?

Send us a message below and we’ll give you a call back to help you identify whether you’re already covered, or how to add the best cover option for your upcoming European road trip.

    what to consider when driving in Europe

    Do I need a green card to drive in the EU?

    The requirement for an insurance green card to drive in an EU member state was scrapped in August 2021. However, if you have a paper driving licence, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries, and in Norway.

    You can also drive without a green card in some non-EU countries, including Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland and Vatican City.

    There are some countries in Europe where you do still need a green card or a local insurance policy to drive, so check your country of destination’s rules well ahead of your trip.

    Heading abroad soon? Here are 5 things to think about when planning your driving trip in Europe.

    European driving cover and breakdown

    Breakdown cover that includes Europe as standard

    If you break down abroad it can be complicated to get your car taken care of. Our breakdown cover from ALPS includes Europe as standard, while many other breakdown insurance products will charge you extra for it. Even if you already have breakdown cover in the UK, it can be worth adding this for a trip abroad and many of our customers choose to do so.

    From roadside support to repatriation, European breakdown cover will give you peace of mind when driving on the continent. Ask your personal client manager for more details, or give us a ring on 0121 248 9440.


    Contact us

    Send us a message below to get in touch. We aim to respond to all queries sent before 5pm the same working day in the week, and the next working day if you message us in the evening or at the weekend.