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A guide to driving your own car abroad

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Michael Brown

Acting Editor
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Since the UK left the European Union (EU), there are some slight changes for UK drivers making their way onto the continent with their own vehicle. Below we have listed the rules you will need to know when driving in Europe.

Can I drive abroad in my own car after Brexit?

Yes, and you can still use your British licence while driving abroad in Europe, unless it was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. Under these conditions you may be required to purchase an international driving permit (IDP) from the Post Office. At the time of writing, these permits cost £5.50 and will  be necessary for those who own a paper driving licence.

Meanwhile, if you are travelling into the EU for less than 12 months then your vehicle must include a vehicle logbook. If you do not have one, these cost £25 from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and can be ordered here.

Must I use extra insurance to drive my car abroad?

In most cases, you will not require extra insurance to drive your car in Europe. All vehicle insurance providers in the UK provide the necessary cover for trips to:

  • The EU
  • The Republic of Ireland
  • Andorra
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland

However, it is key to note that some insurance providers only offer the minimum protection, just that. This means if your car is stolen or vandalised abroad you may not be entitled to a claim. That is why Moneyfacts suggests all travellers check their insurance policy carefully before they travel abroad. In some instances it could be best to purchase extra cover just for the days you are travelling on the continent.

When do I require a green card from my insurer?

A green card is a document from your provider confirming that your vehicle is insured. When travelling to the EU and other European countries you will not be required to carry a green card, however, as stated above, your vehicle still needs to be appropriately insured.

Some countries, such as Turkey, do require a green card. A full list of these countries can be found on the Government website.

How to get a green card

If you do require a green card, then your insurer will supply one for your vehicle. To get your green card get in contact with your insurance provider, who will either post it to your address or tell you how to print it.

Do I need an extra green card for my caravan?

Yes, one green card will be issued for your caravan while the other will be issued for the towing vehicle.

What rules apply if I’m driving across Ireland?

UK drivers are still allowed to drive in the Republic of Ireland with their own vehicle. As with other EU countries, a valid British licence and their own car insurance will be sufficient for a short-term stay, even if you are making the trip from Northern Ireland.

What identification does my car need?

If you do not have a Union Flag on your licence plate you will be required to purchase a sticker to be put on the back of your car. These can be purchased commonly at retail or ecommerce stores.

If you are travelling in Spain, Cyprus or Malta you will require a UK sticker no matter the circumstances.

How does this compare to hiring a car abroad?

As an alternative, you can always hire a car abroad. While at first glance it might seem less stressful because the insurance company will cover the insurance paperwork, drivers should always consider car-hire excess insurance. For more information on how this policy works, and if it is right for you, read our guide.

Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will always be from news@moneyfacts-news.co.uk. Be ScamSmart.