Car insurance policies issued in the UK automatically offer the minimum insurance for EU countries, (and Norway, Switzerland and Iceland). This is not something we think should be relied upon. Minimum insurance normally covers third party risks only, and therefore, to avoid a potentially large bill if you are involved in an incident on the continent, a car insurance policy which offers the same protection as the policy you have in the UK is recommended.
For all of these policies you need to be considered a UK resident under the definitions of the insurer. If you live outside of the UK for longer than 6 months of the year, you are unlikely to be considered a UK resident.
If you are moving out of the country either on secondment or becoming an ex-pat please refer to our separate article on Car Insurance for Ex-pats, Secondments and those moving or living abroad. This also includes information for those moving to the UK.
The Co-op Car Insurance is one definitely to consider. It is possible to cover any number of trips to Europe in a year as long as none are individually longer than 90 days and will allow you to take the car into Europe for up to a maximum of 180 days per policy year. To obtain this level of cover you get a standard Co-op Insurance quotation and then add on their 'Extended Foreign Use' option - this is a flat fee that applies no matter when the cover is added to the policy, or the number of trips you make through the year. Their base premiums are competitive with the company offering up to 70% No Claims discount.
If you are looking for a policy that will cover you for 180 days in a year, but no individual trip will be for more than 90 days look at Aviva Car Insurance - they can be really competitive, offer up to a 20% online discount, and have extra discounts for experienced drivers, couples who live together and for low mileage motorists. Multi car discounts are also offered. You will find you get an initial quotation, followed by a series of optional add ons - including the option to add driving abroad.
Our car insurance comparison service has a number of companies who offer good quality EU cover within their comprehensive policies (although do check the small print - as companies do change their policies!). Some of those offering more than a months cover are detailed below.
Another popular insurer who offers good long term cover (up to 90 days in a policy year) is John Lewis. John Lewis have worked out that their insurance is taken by those more likely to tour Europe, and therefore offer extended cover automatically. They also offer options for long term European breakdown cover.
A great place to start is with Saga Car Insurance.
The front page of their car insurance website says: "Cover in the European Union - you can drive in the EU for an unlimited period, for no extra cost"
When running a quotation though make sure that your quotation is presented in a similar fashion to the image below.
We have learned that in some cases, where Saga cannot cover you under their standard policy, they offer a different policy badged Saga Select via a broker panel. If this is the case check carefully the European cover being provided as it may differ from the standard offer.
If you are planning to take your car abroad for any significant period, it is also worth checking the regulations that apply in the country you are visiting. All countries have a time period which means, once this has expired, your car will be required to be taxed, insured and MOT'd in that country.
This information is based on journalistic investigation and research at the time of going to press as a service to our readers. It does not offer either financial, legal or any other advice that should be followed without your own enquiries. Any information should be considered in regard to specific circumstances. Any suggestions followed up are done so at your own risk and your own research is key.
This content was last reviewed on 30/05/2018