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Temporary European car insurance

Having the freedom to drive abroad can be much more convenient and flexible when travelling. But whether you're planning a road trip or travelling for work, you need to have the right car insurance policy to cover you when driving abroad. 

There are a few practical issues to consider such as whether your existing policy covers you already and for how long. Let's take a look at the options available when driving in the EU.

Blue model car on a map of Europe

Can I get temporary European car insurance?

If your current car insurance policy doesn’t provide cover for driving abroad, you can buy a temporary car insurance policy. This cover can start instantly and last for up to 28 days. 

By arranging temporary European car insurance, you don't need to adjust your existing policy. If there are extras you need but don't want to add to your annual policy, you can instead add them to your temporary cover. This ensures you get the extras you need but your existing annual policy remains unchanged. 

Temporary insurance provides you with the level of cover you need for the specific length of time you want. The cover is available for as little as a 1 hour up to 28 days, ensuring you only pay for the insurance cover you need. 

If you need to extend your trip abroad, you also have the option of buying a new policy by comparing quotes online. 

At this time, we only compare temporary insurance with third-party cover for driving in Europe.

Compare temporary car insurance quotes

Does my car insurance policy cover me when driving in Europe?

Most standard car insurance policies in the UK should cover you to drive in most EU countries. But your level of cover can vary depending on the insurance company.

If you've bought comprehensive cover in the UK, it's not guaranteed that this cover is available from your insurer in the EU. It's a legal requirement for UK motor insurance companies to offer third-party cover in EU countries so it's likely to be dropped to this minimum level.

For peace of mind, you may want to consider extra European car insurance to ensure you have comprehensive cover when driving in the EU.

If you're unsure, contact your insurer before travelling to discuss your options.

Can I adjust my existing car insurance policy to cover driving abroad?

Yes, if your existing car insurance policy doesn't cover driving abroad, you can adjust it. But the level of cover available may be limited.

Also, you may only be able to drive the vehicle you’re already named on. If you want to hire, borrow or share a car when abroad, your existing policy might not cover you unless you add yourself to the owner's insurance policy. But this can increase their insurance costs.

Even if you use your own vehicle, you could still encounter issues. For example, if you're planning to share your driving experience, you'd need to add a named driver to your annual policy. This can be expensive, especially if it's only temporary.

And if a named driver has an accident while driving your car, your no-claims bonus is likely to be affected.

How long can I drive in Europe with UK insurance?

If you have a standard car insurance policy in the UK, you should get at least 30 days of European third-party cover included. Some policies go up to 90 days as standard, but these are likely to be more expensive.

If you want to increase this, there may be additional costs to consider.

Am I eligible for temporary European car insurance?

The eligibility criteria for short-term European car insurance depends on the insurer and type of policy you choose.

But, typically, you must:

  • Be aged between 18-75
  • Have a full, valid UK driving licence
  • Have a permanent UK address
  • Have an unmodified vehicle - unless it's to aid a disabled driver
  • Start and end your trip in the UK

Where can I drive with short-term European car insurance?

If you buy temporary European car insurance, you 're insured to drive across all EU countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Some policies also cover you when driving in:

  • Gibraltar
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Andorra

But this can vary depending on your specific policy and insurer.

Do I need a green card to drive in Europe?

You don't need a car insurance green card when driving in:

  • The EU (including Ireland)
  • Andorra
  • Bosnia
  • Herzegovina
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland

A green card is issued by a driver's insurer and provides proof that the vehicle is insured with the minimum legal cover when driving abroad.

Many UK car insurance policies cover you to drive in most of Europe without needing a green card. But there are several countries that may require more documentation, so make sure you check with your insurer before travelling.

For example, you usually need a green card to drive in:

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Moldova
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

It's important to note that, in some countries, it’s also a legal requirement to have an international driving permit or international driver’s licence. So make sure to do your research before travelling.