Insurance and accident abroad

Are you covered for driving outside of the UK?

15 December 2008: Recent research suggests that one in ten UK residents assume that their usual car insurance will cover them for any eventualities whilst driving on holiday or business outside of the UK.

In fact, under EU law, car insurers are only required to cover you for third party claims which of course leaves drivers open to risk of theft, accidental damage and personal injury for which they would have no recourse to their insurance provider.

The advice to all drivers is to check the small print – some insurers provide a number of (usually consecutive) days for which a car can be driven outside of the UK, but in most cases this can be as little as three days (although some companies are the exception and offer 365 days a year cover). Typically insurers offer further cover for a fee, but this can be costly, for instance some companies offer 180 days as a maximum for a fee of up to £500.00. Other insurers have a more reasonable offer of 90 days for a fee in the region of £22.00.

If your policy makes no mention of "foreign use" you would be well advised to contact them to confirm the level of cover before your travel. You can specify this additional feature when taking out a new insurance policy which will enable you to compare policies and their fees.

As 3 million Brits make their way to Europe and beyond annually, either travelling by vehicle or hiring upon arrival, it is time well spent checking your policy and ensuring that you are covered for any risks you may be exposed to, to ensure you have a stress-free trip!

In the unfortunate event of an accident abroad, any claim would be governed by the EU Fourth Directive which allows a Claimant to pursue a claim from their own country and in their own language although the applicable law will remain that of the country in which the accident occurred.

This article was written by Susan Vanden of the RTA Team Simpson Millar LLP. Tel: 0844 858 3200

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