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Car Hire, Travel Blog

UK Car Insurance Laws Every Traveller Should Know

Many people who are travelling to the United Kingdom find one of the biggest challenges is renting a car. They don’t even consider that they may need to buy car insurance. Parliament passed laws requiring drivers to be insured over 80 years ago and the Department for Transport has been following them strictly ever since. Make sure you understand the travel insurance requirements before you start driving in the UK.

What Are the Requirements for Car Insurance in the UK?

The travel insurance laws in the United Kingdom are similar to those in the United States and the rest of Europe. All vehicles you are driving must be insured unless you have applied for a statutory off road notification.  Insurance must cover damage to property or injuries to other people. Always carry documents to prove that your insurance meets these requirements.

Does My Insurance Policy at Home Cover this Requirement?

In most cases, the auto insurance policy you hold in your home country will not provide coverage overseas. However, most large auto insurance policies will allow you to extend your policy to cover you when you are driving abroad.  Speak with your auto insurance provider to see if your policy already provides the coverage you need.

You might already be covered when driving overseas, but you will most likely need to speak you’re your agent about extend your policy. These agents will either speak with a representative in the country you are visiting or work with a third party agency that can help you get the coverage you are looking for. Your insurance provider will provide you with all the documents you need to get the coverage you are looking for. Make sure you have these documents before you leave or provide a shipping address that they can be sent to.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

The minimum penalty for driving without insurance is a fine of 100 pounds. Many people aren’t that lucky. Some police departments will double the fine to make sure you understand how seriously they take uninsured drivers in their jurisdiction. Your vehicle can be repossessed or even destroyed. You may also be called to court and forced to pay a fine of 1,000 pounds or more. A court may also place a ban on anyone caught driving without insurance. The ban will typically be a month or more. Courts don’t usually place a ban on a driver if this was the first time they were caught without insurance. However, driving without insurance can make matters significantly worse if you have been found guilty of other offenses such as speeding or driving while intoxicated.

Make Sure You Always Drive With the Proper Insurance

You probably know that you need to drive with insurance in your own country. The basic requirements for car insurance are fairly uniform throughout the developed world. Make sure you understand the legal requirements for insurance before you visit the United Kingdom and don’t get caught driving without it.  But remember, most hire companies will provide you with insurance as part of the hire agreement. It#s up to you to make sure that it covers everything you need.

Kalen Smith writes travel and auto advice. He is a freelancer with http://www.williamsoncadillac.com.

For great ideas about luxury travel in Europe, check out our hotel reviews here.

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