British drivers confused over insurance abroadNearly half don't know the rules of their policy

11 May 2009

Many drivers are confused over policy rules when driving in Europe

Many drivers are confused over policy rules when driving in Europe

British motorists are confused about car insurance when it comes to driving abroad, a new survey has shown.

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Nearly half (49%) of those questioned for said they don’t know what level of cover their existing policy provides them with when driving in Europe.

And while almost a third said they thought a fully comprehensive policy would provide the same cover in Europe as it does at home, one in five said they believed their policy would be automatically downgraded to third-party cover.

Insurance cover in Europe

In fact, only half of the 20 insurers looked at by the comparison site offer customers equal cover in both the UK and Europe. Marks & Spencer and the AA, for example, honour their fully comprehensive policies for up to 90 days of driving in Europe.

But nine of the insurers – including esure and Churchill – automatically downgrade their fully comp customers to the minimum level of cover required in each country. According to, one insurer only offers third-party cover to customers who drive in Europe.

Steve Sweeney, head of motor insurance at said: ‘It is a mistake to assume your existing cover is valid when driving abroad - chances are your insurance policy is likely to differ.

‘When driving in continental Europe, motorists need to be aware a provider could automatically downgrade a fully comprehensive policy to either the minimum cover required for that country or even third-party only - and that's as soon as the wheels hit continental soil’

Driving in Europe

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