With summer holidays just around the corner, motorists who are planning to drive to Europe will be turning their thoughts to the journey ahead, fitting roofracks, checking tyres and trying to find that elusive GB sticker. One area that often gets left to the last minute is ensuring that the right level of car insurance cover is in place so that a dream holiday does not quickly turn into a vacation nightmare.
Car insurance comparison site Tiger.co.uk
is recommending that its site users and all holiday motorists take precautions to ensure that a holiday accident or incident does not result in unforeseen bills that end up spoiling a relaxing and fun break.
The starting point is to consider whether the countries being visited are within the EU. If they are, then a UK motor insurance policy provides automatic cover for the minimum level of car insurance required - usually third party insurance. However, this means that in the event of an road accident, damage to your own vehicle will not be covered. Third party cover also leaves a car owner uncovered in the event of theft.
Tiger.co.uk's Commercial Director, Andrew Goulborn, recommends early action: "Anyone driving their car abroad should always calls their insurer well in advance to check what level of car insurance cover they will have and to take the necessary steps to upgrade cover if required. Some insurers automatically downgrade policies to a basic third party cover, even if the UK policy is fully comprehensive. Other insurers will mirror the levels of UK cover at no extra cost for a specific period of time - usually between 30 and 90 days.
Drivers finding that their level of cover will be downgraded should be able to pay an additional premium to ensure that the level of UK cover is maintained in other countries. Tiger.co.uk recommends that drivers do this in order to provide peace of mind and financial cover in the event of a road traffic accident or car theft.
For motorists in countries that are not within the European Union UK insurers are not obliged to provide car insurance cover
. Again, Tiger.co.uk recommends an early discussion with the broker or insurer in order to check the level of cover provided. An international motor certificate (known as a "green card") may be needed for some countries in order to prove that a minimum level of cover is in place. Some motoring organisations recommend that a green card is requested from insurers even for EU travel".