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Taking your vehicle abroad

Your motor insurance may not automatically go with you when you travel. If you take your vehicle abroad you may have to extend your insurance policy to make sure you are adequately covered.

The level of cover you need will depend on whether you are driving in the European Union (EU) or further afield.

Driving in the EU

If you are driving within the EU your UK policy will automatically cover you for the minimum level of motor insurance legally required by the country you are in. This is usually third party insurance, covering you against costs that arise if other people are injured in an accident involving your vehicle.

The level of cover you receive while driving within the EU varies depending on your insurer and your policy.

  • Some insurers automatically downgrade your UK policy to basic third party cover while you are driving abroad, even if you pay for a comprehensive or third party fire and theft policy at home
  • Other companies will automatically transfer your full UK cover to the country you are driving in at no extra cost for a specific period of time, for example, 30 or 90 days
  • Some companies will ask you to pay an extra premium to extend your full UK policy to cover you while driving abroad
If you are involved in an accident while driving in the EU you may have to fill out a European Accident Statement. You can download copies of the statement in various languages from the Car Travel Docs website to avoid translation difficulties while overseas.

Driving outside the EU

Your UK insurer is not legally obliged to cover you for driving in a country outside of the EU. You may need an international motor insurance certificate, known as a green card, if you take your vehicle overseas. The green card, which is recognised in over 40 countries, proves that you meet the minimum third party cover legally required by the country you are driving in. You may be asked to present your green card to the authorities or to another driver if you are involved in an accident while driving abroad. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau has more information on the green card system.

Next steps

  • contact your insurer before taking your vehicle abroad to find out what your policy covers and whether you need to pay for a policy extension
  • customers should check their Certificate and ask for a Green Card only if the foreign use wording is not included on that document 
  • for more advice on taking your vehicle overseas see the ABI's guide to motoring abroad (pdf 73kB)
More on Motor insurance
Last updated 12/08/2014