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Are you planning to drive in the EU?

Are you planning to drive in the EU?

Although Covid-19 restrictions have eased, making it possible for Brits to plan a trip to Europe again, there’s still a lot to consider before you set off on your next driving venture.

Covid-19 aside, in the last 12 months following Brexit, the rules for driving in the EU have changed. So, how are motorists affected? Here’s a quick re-cap on what you need to know:

Covid requirements

Covid entry restrictions vary from country to country. It’s best to check what these are before you leave to ensure you have the right documentation – such as your vaccination certificate – ready for border checks.

Most EU countries receiving UK holidaymakers provide details online of what their requirements are.

If you’re travelling on one of Brittany Ferries’ crossings to the continent – as many motorists do – the company provides good summaries for the destination countries they take you to on their website.

Driving licence and International Driving Permits

Thanks to a deal signed this summer, UK drivers with a photocard licence won’t need to take the previously required International Driving Permit.

However, if you have a paper-only licence or a licence issued in the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Isle of Man, you will still require this.

An IDP can be bought at your local Post Office or online from other providers.

Car documentation

To legally drive in the EU, you are now required to carry the following documents in your vehicle:

  • The logbook (also known as V5C)
  • A copy of your insurance policy documents
  • If your car is company-owned, or you’ve hired or borrowed one, you’ll need a letter of authorisation from the registered keeper
  • For hire vehicles, you also need a vehicle-on-hire certificate (VE103).

As of August this year, the requirement for a Green Card (or International Motor Insurance Card) ceased.

And, of course, don’t forget your passport – which must have a minimum of six months left under the new rules.

What to pack

Whilst driving in the EU, you must also carry the following items:

  • An EU-specification breath-test kit
  • A warning triangle
  • A hi-visibility jacket for every passenger in the car
  • Headlamp beam deflectors to prevent dazzling other drivers – unless you can adjust these automatically, which many cars now allow you to do.
  • A first aid kit – although, these are only compulsory in Germany, France and Austria.

‘GB’ or ‘UK’ sticker?

Previously, you had to display a ‘GB’ sticker, but since August this year the rules around this have changed.

You now need to remove, or at least cover up, the old GB sticker. Instead, your car now either needs a sticker showing the letters ‘UK’ or you must have a number plate that includes a UK identifier – such as SCO for Scotland, or GB for Great Britain – with the Union flag above it.

Be aware that in Spain, Cyprus and Malta, you’ll need a ‘UK’ sticker no matter what sort of number plate you have.

Will your insurance cover you?

Although you might have fully comprehensive insurance in the UK, the same level of cover doesn’t automatically apply when driving abroad.

You might only have third-party cover for EU driving, so it’s worth checking this before you leave. Most insurers can usually add cover for driving in the EU, including breakdown cover, to your existing motor policy.

For more details on what is required when you drive in the EU and other parts of the world, you can visit the Government’s information website here: https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad