When we're off on our holidays the last thing we want is to have to be stuck in airports at the mercy of airlines that are afraid of a bit of fog/wind. This is clear from the chaos at airports this holiday season, but if you've travelled in the summer chances are you'll know what I'm talking about.
This is the main reason people choose to ditch the air travel madness and take their trusty four wheeled friend. Up to 7 million holidaymakers drove abroad for their holiday in the past year alone and with the prospect of driving through the picturesque French countryside it can be expected more and more of us will be taking this option in the near future.
The main concern people would have is that are they covered on their insurance for travelling abroad. There is a document that many people apply for, the International Motor Insurance Certificate, commonly known as a kind of “green card" for cars. Most foreign travellers believe this document coupled with their standard car insurance policy means they'd be covered when travelling. They are kind of correct but this is a risky choice to make.
The reasons for this are that this setup would only entitle you to 3rd party coverage and wouldn't cover damage or loss of your vehicle, despite having fully comprehensive insurance back home. With an average of 315,000 motorists claiming on their motor insurance this should make you aware of the real possibility that you may need to claim whilst abroad. In order to have that level of coverage you'd need to ask your insurer, this can sometimes need extra payments or a limit on the time you spend away.
So when you have checked that your policy will cover your trip you still have a list of other factors to consider. Making sure your license and breakdown cover are valid are two other considerations. Some insurers are willing to bring your vehicle back home if it isn't roadworthy, citing that most car owners would prefer a mechanic back home to complete the repairs rather than battling through the language barrier with a local mechanic. This service would normally cost anything from £800 - £1,200 depending on where you were when you break down.
Motoring, like many other aspects of life, has different customs and laws depending on where you go. For instance, in France they can prosecute you based on how long it took you to travel from one toll booth to the next. In Germany it is illegal to run out of petrol on one of the Autobahns, conversely it is illegal to carry a spare can of petrol in Greece. It is highly advisable that you familiarise yourself with the local laws, road signs and speed limits to make sure you drive safely whilst abroad. Admittedly this is a complicated process especially with trying to remember that you should be on the right hand side of the road!
Other items to remember are recent maps or load up your GPS with European maps (if you want to be technical), a warning triangle, spare bulbs, first aid kit and even a fire extinguisher. . . you never know!
A final tip would be that if you are going abroad and need to arrange car insurance that will cover your adventure you should arrange it well before your trip so you can get the best deal. Also if you are due for renewal on your insurance then maybe you should look elsewhere and get car insurance quotes from insurers that offer European cover at no extra cost.
Andy Adams is an IT worker and experienced writer working with car and motor insurance.