Compare European car insurance

Make sure you’re covered to drive in Europe by having the right insurance in place. Compare quotes from insurers that offer basic European cover as standard.

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Car insurance for Europe

Car insurance rules for UK drivers in Europe changed following Brexit, but have since relaxed somewhat. You won’t necessarily need a new policy to drive your car in the EU or EEA. 

That said, you may only have third-party cover when driving overseas now, even if you currently have a fully comprehensive policy for the UK. You may wish to consider extending your cover to get the best protection.

Driving in Europe after Brexit

Most UK insurance includes the minimum level of cover to drive in Europe. Our comparison can help you find a suitable policy if you’re not already insured or if you’re reaching your renewal period.

You still need to ensure you carry the correct documentation, including:

  • a full driving licence

  • proof of insurance

  • proof of identification

  • your car’s V5C certificate (its log book)

Your vehicle is also required to show a UK car sticker or number plate.

You may also need to carry equipment, such as reflective jackets, a warning triangle or a first aid kit. The exact requirements depend on the countries in which you’re driving. 

Do I need a GB sticker when driving in Europe?

In most cases, you don’t need a sticker if your number plate has a GB identifier or shows the Union flag. If you’re in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, however, then you must display a GB sticker no matter what’s on your number plate.

You also need to display the sticker if your number plate has any of the following:

  • A Euro symbol

  • A national flag of England, Scotland or Wales

  • Numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier

Do I need a green card when driving in Europe?

Although regulations initially required that UK drivers carry a green card (or International Motor Insurance Card) to drive in European Union and EEA countries, regulations were relaxed on 2 August 2021. 

A green card is no longer required for travel to most countries. A copy of your motor insurance certificate is now acceptable as proof that you hold the minimum cover required by law. 

You can drive without a green card in:

  • all EEA countries (including EU countries)

  • Andorra

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Montenegro

  • Serbia

  • Switzerland

However, some countries still require a green card, including:

  • Albania

  • Azerbaijan

  • Belarus

  • Moldova

  • Russia

  • Turkey

  • Ukraine

How to get a green card

If you need a green card, contact your insurance provider and ask for one ahead of your trip. Do this as early as possible, as they can take some time to arrive.

You must carry a physical copy, which you can print out at home or have sent from your insurer. Green cards do not have to be printed on card or be green to be valid.

You need a full licence, so policyholders and named drivers who only have a provisional licence won’t be named on the green card.

In countries that require them, you’ll need to carry multiple green cards if:

  • you have fleet or multi-car insurance – one green card per vehicle

  • your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan – you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan. Note that some countries require separate trailer insurance

  • you have two policies covering your trip. For example, if you renew your policy during the journey

Do I need an international driving permit for Europe now?

Most people will be covered by their normal UK licence, but there are some exceptions.

You may need an international driving permit if:

  • you only have a paper driving licence

  • you’re driving in certain countries outside of the EU or EEA

  • your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

You can pick up an international driving permit over the counter at the Post Office for £5.50. You must be a resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland, have a full UK driving licence and be 18 or older to qualify.

What does my insurance cover when driving in Europe?

Most car insurance policies only offer third-party cover when driving abroad, meaning damage to your own car and injury to yourself aren’t covered.

They also frequently limit the number of days you can drive abroad in a year, and limit the length of a single trip.

You can extend your insurance to add comprehensive cover when driving overseas, but this may cost you extra.

Find out more about the cover you need to drive overseas

Get the right length of European car insurance cover

Most European car insurance policies include the following terms and conditions:

  • A maximum period for the term of the policy: this is normally a total of 180 days a year

  • A maximum length of each individual trip: this is normally between three and 90 days, depending on the insurer

If you’re planning to be away in a foreign country for three months during the year, make sure you get cover for at least 90 days, and ensure each trip within that time does not exceed your single trip limit.

Some insurance companies offer unlimited annual European cover, which means you’ll be covered for trips of any length during the policy.

Make sure the policy you choose covers everything you need, not just cover when driving in Europe. Short-term car insurance can also cover trips to Europe.

Find out everything car insurance can cover you against here

European car insurance FAQs

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By comparing car insurance, UK car owners could save money on their policy. The best value car insurance will offer the cover at an affordable price. Choose a cover plan from the best UK car insurance companies and see the online discounts they offer.

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Last updated: 7 May 2022