Holiday car breakdown insurance is available to British drivers traveling in Europe or abroad. Statistics show that:
- Only one in five drivers are covered for breaking down in Europe
- Two-thirds of drivers don't know what their coverage includes when they take their car overseas.
This lack of understanding leads to one in ten drivers wrongly thinking that their travel insurance covers them for driving abroad, when it doesn't.
Holiday Car Breakdown Insurance Abroad
The United Kingdom (UK) has minimum legal requirements for driving not only in the UK but also for compulsory coverage required by law in several European countries. If you're planning a holiday, it's important to note that if you want to maintain your comprehensive coverage you must first present your traveling itinerary to your car insurance agent before your departure. This should include:
- Dates of the countries to be visited
- Use of car
Depending on your policy, you may be required to pay an additional premium for coverage. However, some policies do allow up to 30 days foreign-use coverage without additional payment. Even in these cases, however, you'll need to notify your agent so you can receive your Green Card if one is needed.
Green Cards and Holiday Travel
The Green Card, which is printed on green paper, is an International Car Insurance Card. It offers proof that the vehicle you are driving has at least the minimum legal coverage required within the country where it is being driven. Green Cards are issued by the Car Insurance Bureau in the UK to insurers and their agents.
Before taking a holiday abroad it's important to know if you will need a Green Card to prove you have adequate insurance coverage. In some countries police can impound your vehicle if you can't present proper documentation. Green Cards are not normally required these days, but it is best not to assume anything. When you contact your car insurer to give them your holiday plans, they should be able to tell you whether or not you'll need a Green Card and get it for you if you do.
When to Buy Holiday Car Insurance
If you're planning a holiday, it's best to look over the small print on your car insurance policy. Will it cover your car if you go overseas? The best time to purchase holiday car breakdown insurance is when your policy comes up for renewal. When you apply for quotes online or with your agent for new coverage, pick a plan that provides options for fully-comprehensive insurance when traveling abroad.
Breakdown Insurance and Tour Operators
In the past, breakdown travel insurance could be purchased from a tour operator. However, since the introduction of new regulations by the Financial Services Authority in 2005, travel insurance can no longer be sold by tour operators as a stand-alone product. It can still be purchased together with a holiday package or added at a later date.
It's always easy to tell yourself that it won't happen to you, but the cost of even a minor accident in a foreign country without adequate insurance coverage can leave you with coverage that only covers the other driver's costs.
If the car you are driving has to be towed, you may have a bill from the towing company, as well as from the garage where it is taken, plus any repairs necessary to get you back on the road. If repairs take a few days, this also requires the arrangement of a rental vehicle and hotel accommodations. Not only would this take a big bite out of your holiday funds, but also your time as you wait for the car to be repaired. What if it takes five days when you only have seven days until your holiday over? It's much better to spend a few extra pounds to have adequate insurance to prevent making an unfortunate incident even worse.
A good number of UK motorists have some form of breakdown coverage. They don't always understand that many times this coverage does not extend to foreign travel. If you need holiday car breakdown insurance, talk with your insurance agent. Typically coverage is easily extended for a small extra fee.