Last updated: 31 March 2021

Do I need short-term European car insurance cover?

You will need a short term European car insurance cover if you:

  • Want to share driving someone else's car on holiday

  • Borrow a car to drive abroad on your own

Before you start comparing quotes check what cover you might need when driving abroad.

Do I need a Green Card to get short-term European car insurance cover?

A Green Card will be required if you are driving your vehicle in the EU on or after 1 January 2021, the day that the UK left the European Union.

Most insurers require notice to issue you with a Green Card if one is required.

So if you need temporary European car insurance cover, you need to plan ahead.

Does my annual car insurance policy include temporary European cover?

Most UK car insurance policies provide minimum third-party cover to drive in other European Union (EU) countries, but this will only cover other drivers' costs, so you may want to get a separate comprehensive policy.

How long will I need temporary European car insurance cover for?

Temporary car insurance is calculated per day. You don't want to pay more than you need to, but you want to be covered for the whole time that you'll be driving the car, so consider the following:

If you are going away consider:

  • How many days you will be away for

  • How long will you need the car before and after the trip

  • For example, if you are staying in France for seven days, but plan to drive to and from your destination which will take one day each way, you will need nine days of cover

A short-term European car insurance policy usually lasts between one and 28 days. If you need longer than this consider an annual car insurance policy with European cover.

Here is everything you need to know about short term insurance.

Can you upgrade your cover to include short-term car insurance?

Yes, all policies offer basic third-party level cover, but some insurers give you the option of extending it.

Not all car insurance companies offer this, however, so use our comparison to find the insurers that can upgrade your policy.

Temporary European car insurance FAQs


Will short term insurance cover me to drive in Europe?


Yes, all car insurance policies give you third party cover to drive in Europe. You can usually extend your cover; find out how to add European cover here.


What European countries are covered?


All European Union (EU) countries and other destinations like Andorra and Switzerland. The policy documents will outline which countries are included.


How long does short term European cover last?


You can choose cover for just one day, a two-week holiday, or any trip lasting up to 180 days.


Will I have breakdown cover in Europe?


No, only if you have added European breakdown cover to your policy, or taken out a standalone European breakdown policy.


Do I need a Green Card to drive in Europe?


Yes. As of 1 January, 2021, it is now a requirement to carry a green card as proof that you have car insurance. You must present the document if you have an accident and some border checks may ask to see it. Your car insurance company will send you the document, or tell you how to download it so you can print it out yourself.


What does European car insurance cover?


It can cover damage to your and another driver's car after an accident. It can also cover theft, vandalism, fire and more. Sometimes, insurers will cover damages but not theft, but within Europe it is normally basic third-party cover. Thus, your car won't be covered for damages, or any expenses for personal injuries sustained.


Is the excess higher on short term European policies than standard policies?


The excess can be higher on short term European policies but it will depend on your age and experience. Some younger drivers, those under 25 can be charged an excess of up to 1,000. If you are under 25 you should search for car insurance for young drivers to compare European cover.