A to Z about Car Insurance at a Glance

Owning a car can be a great achievement for most people but this will only depend on one’s financial situation. A great number of people will only long to own the stylish modern cars but as finances may not be forthcoming, that will remain a pipe dream. Actually, some people never even bother to know which car models are the latest in town because they never see themselves buying one in their lifetime. But, the situation is a lot different in some parts of the world where car ownership isn’t much of a problem because loan facilities are available. People can buy the most expensive cars on loan and pay for a lifetime because in real sense, owning nice things improves quality of life. Someone may argue on whether car ownership is a necessity but I will confidently tell you that, YES, to some they are central in their life. 

As already stated, some people consider car ownership as a necessity, others would still feel it is a luxury. Well, in Europe, the USA, Canada, and other developed countries of the world, owning a private car is a necessity. If you have any plans of moving to Europe, then you should put car ownership on your priority list.

As many would agree, people have shifted their preference from just any means of transport to convenient transport. To achieve the highest level of convenience, even the most advanced public transport may still fall short of that expectation. Imagine wanting to take a Summer vacation in a forest in Norway for example, no buses, trams, trains or public means reach such places. So, the default would be a private car (whether you own or hire it). 

Owning a car comes with costs

probably you already catch the idea that owning a car might not mean its a luxury but a necessity. Plus, it’s not so difficult to buy a car or MC in Europe for example as new ones may be expensive but property loans come in handy. Now, the crux of the matter on private car ownership is in their maintenance. As they say, this is exactly where the rubber meets the road and things may get so murky to the extent that some people decide to dispose of their cars and go back to public transport. 

Banks will give car loan but not other necessarily insurance

While banks and other financial institutions may extend to you a car purchase loan whose repayment runs into years, they won’t do the rest of the stuff for you. For example, you will need to buy fuel, do regular car maintenance, comply with statutory requirements on the road and most importantly, insure your car against risks.

At the very least, a third party insurance which covers damages caused by your car to others is a must have anywhere. It’s fine you may decide that comprehensive insurance doesn’t help because you are a pro-driver and will unlikely cause any damages. But, the traffic authorities will require that other people on the road are protected in the unfortunate event that they incur losses or damage as a result of your car. 

We emphasise in  just so many words that a car insurance is a must have

What this article tries to explain in very many words is that with a car, comes insurance. I mean, you cannot possibly drive and cruise around the cities with your car without an insurance cover. When you have a car in the EU, it is a requirement that you must have it registered then insured for a third-party liability. It is a compulsory requirement in the EU or a common needed routine in all the European nations. The security of any car is present in its insurance.

Driving in Europe your car in Europe

Driving your own private car in Europe suggests that you need to at all times have valid insurance for your car. This requirement doesn’t consider whether you are the most experienced driver around or has been driving since the invention of the first car. Before setting into your journey, double check with your insurer that your car has the right cover for your trip. Covers vary. While some insurers have the European cover as the standard cover, others may be asked to adjust their policy.

If your car isn’t covered and by bad luck you get involved in an accident while in Europe, you could be forced to part with huge sums of money. This would be used to cover for the damages caused to your vehicle as well as the other parties involved. You will also be forced to pay for the cost of bringing your car back. Always remember to cross check your car insurance cover’s terms and conditions first so that you are sure everything is in order before moving.

So, your car doesn’t have a European insurance cover as a standard cover? Please don’t waste a lot of time but just ensure to have the right level of cover that will have you safe. There are some car insurance policies that may not sustain you all through your holiday stay in Europe. Others, may still not capably cover your car while its being transported. So, getting a standard cover for your car will be the best decision that you will have to make.

What are some of the Driving Laws in Europe?

1. No drink driving

Each and every European country has its own driving laws. It is also a common practice that most of these countries will ask you to bring extra equipment as you drive on their roads. However, the worst mistake that you can ever make while driving on European roads is to have a few shots then get behind the wheel. It will be one of your worst mistakes. European countries have some of the strictest drink and driving laws of its own kind.

2. No speeding-the cameras are on the look

Furthermore, using your mobile phone while driving is also illegal in most European nations. If you have to use your phone while driving, then it must be for very important reasons and must be attached to your car’s windscreen. Just make sure that your phone is not in your hands while you are driving on any European nation’s roads lest you regret it.

Get used to the fact that speed cameras will be monitoring your car throughout your entire trip in Europe. If your car is caught speeding, then be ready to pay an instant speeding fine. Follow all the advice on driving abroad so that you don’t find yourself in any trouble. Each and every time you are driving, ensure to carry your certificate of motor insurance along with you. 

European Car Insurance 

Just like health insurance is a must have in most of the European nations, car insurance is mandatory for every car owner. Therefore, your car would need a minimum third-party insurance to indemnify damages on other cars and medical expenses in case of an accident. What happens here is that it is your car that gets insured and not the driver which in this case is you. 

Are you having any plans to drive around Europe? Well, you will be pleased to know that it is somewhat easier for motorists to drive through European countries. However, it is very important that you are covered in the event of unwanted hiccups along the way. Therefore, there are some key aspects that you may need to know about car insurance in Europe. This way, you get a chance to enjoy your trip with a well-deserved peace of mind. 

When taking your car abroad the insurance rules in Europe work somewhat with some difference. One thing that you will perhaps note is that your insurance may not offer you the same level of cover like you are used to in your country of origin. With that, all you will need is basically an extra coated protection. Just make sure that you have all the needed documents with you. The good news is that there are some new agreements put in place that have made driving in Europe much easier than it has been in the past.

The Compulsory and Optional Insurance

When you have your car registered in any European country, then you are automatically obliged to insure it for a third-party liability. A third-party insurance cover is a compulsory insurance cover that is legal in all EU countries. What is covered is the cost of damage to property or injury to anyone other than the driver and not any other costs. Other costs would basically mean for example, the cost of repairs to your own car.

However, as an individual, you would also feel it is necessary for you to have an additional car insurance cover. Now this is an optional insurance known as the first-party liability which would obviously cover for other risks. For instance, injury to the driver, theft of your vehicle, damage to your car, legal assistance or vandalism.

There are no predefined rules in the EU concerning the additional or optional car insurance. All you need is to look at the terms and conditions offered by your local insurer before any attempt to drive around or even travel. This is because there is a common tendency of insurers to apply different rules. So different countries will present different terms and conditions for the first-party liability.

A Car Insurance with European Insurance Cover

Other than the essential tier, a European insurance cover comes with a 90-day European cover as standard. And all the stated drivers on your policy will benefit from this cover. However, it will be vital to bring all your insurance certificates along. 

A European car insurance cover remains valid in the following states;

  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Romania
  • Norway 
  • Serbia
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Poland 
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Sweden
  • Italy among others

However, if you are driving outside these countries, you will need what is called a Green Card. 

What Is a Green Card?

This is an international insurance certificate and it is a document that notifies the local authorities of the availability of your legal minimum cover. A Green Card certificate has been fabricated in a manner that helps cars to move with great ease across Europe. In simple terms, you can consider this as an internationally recognized car insurance documentation. 

You don’t necessarily need a green card for you to be able to drive in Europe. However, you may need to bring one with you so as to drive in other countries like Russia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Israel, and Morocco. At least 48 countries have agreed to the green card system and this includes all the EU states. Make sure that you have enough time allocated to you before your trip to cover for your green card application.

A green card doesn’t come to you automatically but you will need to make an application for it. Your insurer is the best issuer of a green card which usually takes up to six weeks before you have it. If you are involved in an accident abroad, having a green card gives you a guarantee of compensation regardless of your location. But take note that this will only be possible if and only if the other driver is found to be at fault.

How to apply for a Green Card

To succeed in getting a green card that will enable you to drive with ease outside the EU, you will have to contact your insurer. Most applications are often done online where you are able to download and print it out by yourself. Your application will likely last for up to six weeks so organise your schedule very well. The green card is mostly very free however, some insurance companies could charge you for the paperwork. 

A Temporary Car Insurance for Europe

Your existing insurance company may sometimes fail to provide you with your car insurance cover to drive in Europe. In such a case, all you will need is to consider a temporary car insurance policy. Sometimes you might have issued the insurer with a short notice and may have not been able to process your certificate on time. So, if you are heading for a holiday and need a quick solution, simply opt for a policy that fits the duration of your trip.

Temporary policies are available from a duration between an hour and 28 days. It is always a less complex process to take a completely new and separate temporary cover, than to amend an existing one. Most people would definitely opt for a temporary car insurance cover while travelling for a short period of time. 

The Other Things  Needed for Driving in Europe 

Other than your driving licence, you will also need to carry with you some documents as you drive in Europe. These are;

  • Your driver’s licence
  • An international driving permit (IDP)
  • Your vehicle log book/ V5C
  • The car insurance certificate
  • Your travel insurance documents

Usually, driving licences that are in the form of a card with your photo on it will not need an additional international driving permit. However, with a paper licence or a driver’s licence from Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man, you will need an IDP. 

Another very important fact is that your car will also be marked to show that it is from another country. For instance, all the cars from the UK often have a UK mark on them. The previously used GB mark isn’t in use anymore. If the number plate of your car already includes an identifier or your country’s flag, then there will be no need for a sticker.

However, when driving into Malta, Cyprus, or Spain, your car will require a sticker no matter what is already available on its plate. In Europe, most vehicles are driven on the other side of the road. So, you will have to prevent your headlights from interfering with the other drivers. Use headlamp converters instead.

The Best European Car Insurance You Need while Driving in Europe 

All the drivers in the European countries must be in possession of a minimum of a third-party car insurance. However, most people will be asking, is this all? This is a good question because with this, it means that if you get involved in an accident, your third-party insurance will only cover the other driver.

It means that if you are driving your own car in Europe and it gets involved in an accident with serious damages, you will be without any cover. What this would lead you into is nothing but some very serious expenses that may end up ruining your holiday. But in such instances, even a full comprehensive cover might also not offer you the necessary protection your car needs.

Things to consider when driving your car around

What I would recommend is that when bringing your car to Europe, just ensure to cross check your policy carefully. This way you get to be on the know of what is comprehended and what doesn’t hold. But most importantly, look into the following things;

  • The number of countries covered by making sure your car insurance policy covers the country you are headed to. This is important since there are some countries that are in Europe but are not in the EU. So, such countries may not be covered by your policy. A country like Switzerland is a European nation but is outside the EU, so, be keen to look into that.
  • You must also ensure to check if your existing level of cover for driving in your country is a standard cover. Your level of cover from your country must match up to the level of cover of the country you are visiting in Europe.
  • Most policies will limit you on the duration you will be covered while in another country. Usually, the policy length would take between 30 to 90 days. If by any chance you stay away longer, you will have to pay an additional premium.
  • See if your policy has a breakdown cover included. For most good policies, this is usually extended abroad. If you have a breakdown cover, there is no way you will be stranded on the road abroad. If not, you don’t have a choice but to buy an additional premium.

Agreed Statement of Facts on Car Accident 

An agreed statement of facts form is a document that all drivers in Europe keep in their vehicle.  Its good idea to print one before travelling and then put it together with the other documents in the car. Every country in Europe has a specific way this form is called. For France, it is called the Constant Amiable, in Italy it’s the CIA, and in Spain, it is called the DAA. This form is mostly written in the language of the country you are in.

In case of any incident with a third-party while driving in Europe, you may be presented with the claim form. The form has two major sections and each driver has their own section to fill. The driver must fill in with details of their own version of what has exactly happened. Then you will append your signature to it since this is a legally binding document.

Insurance Premiums and Claims History

Car insurance premiums also differ from one European country to the other just like the first-party liability policies do. This is majorly attributed to the existing differences in the natural contract laws, risk assessments, or compensation schemes among others. In some of the European nations, your insurance premiums can be hugely affected by your claim history.

However, in case you haven’t made any claims during the year, your insurer may offer you a discount. The discount will apply when you renew your contract. But if you made any claims, then you may end up paying more for your car insurance cover. A record of your claims for the last five years in a row is always made available. Any new car insurance in another EU country may not take into account your previous records.