A simples guide

Remember to get breakdown cover if you’re driving abroad this summer

We know preparing for a holiday can be stressful, especially when you’re driving in Europe. With family tensions, packing and excited children all unfolding before you, the details of your car insurance and breakdown policies are probably not at the forefront of your mind.

Green Flag, estimated that the cost of recovering a broken down vehicle from Southern Spain usually totals around £2500. You don’t want this to be you!

Around 4.2 million Britons travel to Europe each year, many of these driving over, so make sure you read our tips and don’t get caught out this summer.

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Minimise the chance of problems

Get a full service before you go – it’s a simple thing to do, but if any problems can be sorted at home prior to travelling, you’re likely to save a lot of time and money.

Lights – make sure all your lights are working, and take spare bulbs. In France driving without bulbs can cost you up to €80 in fines. Also, make sure you have headlight converters. These can be bought for as little as £8 and change the direction of the light beam; important when driving on the other side of the road. In France the fine for not having these can be as high as €90. 

Check the rules and regulations of the country you’re visiting – every country has slightly different rules, and some of these might not even cross your mind. When driving in the EU you must have a GB sticker on your car to avoid a fine (or your registration plate needs to have the GB symbol), in Romania you can be fined for having a dirty car and in Macedonia you can’t even sit in the front seat if you’re ‘visibly under the influence of alcohol’. So do your research!

Driving in Europe pack – from a few good retailers you can get a driving abroad kit which provides you with some of the essentials for when you’re outside of the UK such as a reflective jacket and a warning triangle. These could be invaluable if you breakdown abroad.

You can also read our Great British Getaway guide for more information on how to prepare your car for your journey abroad.

Breakdown abroad

One of the most important things you can do before you drive abroad is to get breakdown cover. Many conventional breakdown policies don’t cover you when you’re driving abroad so it’s a good idea to check the small print on your policy before you set off.

If you do have cover, then double check what’s included. If you’re choosing a policy, it’s a good idea to consider your needs carefully as remember that cheapest isn’t always best. For example, are you covered if you are towing a caravan? Is it necessary for you to have a spare tyre? Make sure you also check the maximum pay-out of the policy you’ve chosen so you’re not caught out.

It’s also worth finding out what happens in the worst case scenario. Is a replacement hire car included? Is overnight accommodation an option if you’re unfortunate enough to be stranded far from your final destination? What about repatriation of your vehicle? It might seem like a lot to consider but you may end up pleased you’ve covered every detail.

What documentation should I take?

In most European countries you will be expected to carry the following documents when you are driving:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence (make sure it is up-to-date)
  • Proof of ownership (V5 log book)
  • Insurance documents
  • M.O.T if your car is over 3 years old

We know that you don’t want to think about any of these things – you just want to hit the road. But European breakdown cover could be a small cost that might save you a great deal of time and money this holiday, so compare with us today and enjoy your trip! 

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