Bringing your car abroad this summer?

Britain is a nation of seafarers. From Drake through to Nelson, we’ve always felt at home on the water, our shipbuilding and navy the envy of the world.

Because our fine country is an island, you can’t drive too far in any one direction before hitting the sea. As you may know, most cars don’t fare too well on the waves.

So for the petrol heads amongst us, the people who relish and enjoy long drives, look over to the continent! The vast landlocked nations of Europe stretching out before you are like one big motorway, drive down to Dover or Folkestone and toddle off in our used Volkswagen for an explore. Easy peasy, right?

Not quite.

Taking your car abroad isn’t just something you should do on a whim, a decision you make offhand whilst pouring the milk into your morning cuppa. There are certain steps to be taken and things you need to be made aware of. These include:

1. Take the right paperwork and documents

How many times have you had an appointment or meeting only to find that you’d forgotten some important documents? In European Union countries you will need to travel with either a Green Card or your motor insurance certificate, affix a GB sticker to your number plate and carry your vehicle registration document and the paper bit of your licence (as well as the photocard ID usually found in your wallet).

2. Check your insurance

It is always a sensible idea to tell your insurer that you are taking your car abroad, just in case. When driving in the EU you will automatically have minimum third-party liability cover, but in order to get your comprehensive cover extended you may have to pay an additional premium.

3. Be aware of the rules of the road

Each country will have their own speed limits and highway code – be aware of that and don’t let it catch you out and always try to remember that you are driving on the right hand side of the road. A momentary lapse whilst daydreaming won’t stand up in court.

4. Plan your trip

If you’ve been driving for a long time, you slowly just get to know how to get around. You pop in your car at a moment’s notice and scoot off to Manchester or Southampton without having to ask anyone for directions. But unless you know Germany, France or the Netherlands like the back of your hand, it makes sense to plan your route before setting off.