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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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Use Caution: 5 of the UK’s Most Dangerous Roads

Britain’s generally hilly topography and patchwork quilt of field, forest and downs often makes for treacherous, low-visibility driving. According to a new study by the Road Safety Foundation, Britain’s most dangerous roads tend to be single roads used heavily by motorcycles. Using some objective measures, the foundation has determined that northern England and Scotland are home to the UK’s most unsafe driving conditions, while the West Midlands region is comparatively safe. Read on to learn about five of the Kingdom’s most dangerous roads and what you can do to protect yourself behind the wheel.

A537 Between Macclesfield and Buxton

All of the thoroughfares on this list are narrow A-class roads, and none are more dangerous than the 12-km stretch of A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton. Between 2005 and 2007, the study period for all of the roads examined herein, this byway had the dubious honor of boasting the greatest number of fatal accidents per kilometer and was tied with the next most-dangerous road for the greatest number of total crashes per kilometer.

A255 Between Margate and Ramsgate

At just 8 kilometers, this spur of the A255 had one of the greatest concentrations of accidents in the entire country: 2.25 per kilometer during the 2005-2007 study period. What makes this road so dangerous is the interplay between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians: The towns that bookend the stretch are quite congested, and the roadway itself is heavily populated and home to many people who use cycles as their primary mode of transportation. According to the Road Safety Foundation, there were 61 total accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists during the study period.

A62 Between the M62 J-27 Interchange and the A6110

This stretch of road is even shorter than the problematic A255 corridor, but it’s seen its share of horrific accidents during the past decade. The problem with the A62 is its congested nature and the frequency of its junctions with other lanes and roadways: The road averages nearly 10 junctions per kilometer. According to Road Safety Foundation statistics, junctions are a major culprit in automobile crashes, with fully one-third of all UK accidents occurring at or near intersections and roundabouts.

 A621 Between A619 and Totley

Junctions play a similarly destructive role on this 9-km stretch of the A621. There are 44 in total on this otherwise unassuming roadway, leading to an accidents-per-kilometer rating of 1.33 during the study period.

A675 Between the M65 J3 Interchange and Bolton

The A675 has fewer junctions than most of the other roads on this list, which leads to a different sort of problem: high rates of speed. Although the A675 doesn’t appear difficult to navigate at first glance, it saw 17 serious crashes between 2005 and 2007. Its single-lane A-class roads are by far the most dangerous thoroughfares in the United Kingdom. Junctions and roadways shared with pedestrians and cyclists are especially dangerous. Remember, you’re in control: If you slow down and use caution, you’re far less likely to become a statistic.

Carrie Tinock lives and writes in London.  She writes for http://www.carinsurance.org.uk where you can find more information on car insurance, trips, and tips for saving money when you drive.

Dollar Car Hire, Denver, Colorado, USA

Dollar Rent A Car has got to be one of the most famous car rental companies in the USA.  There are outlets in every airport, and almost every second block in each major city.  They offer the same standardised service, as well as a great range of vehicles to choose from.

On our last trip to the states we chose to go with Dollar, arriving at nearly 11pm after a very long journey from the UK.  The office was easy to find, with free shuttle buses leaving from the main terminal, and once we reach their stand there were plenty of staff on duty to help get through everyone who was already standing in line.

The vehicle we had was booked was a standard SUV, but because they had so many in stock they offered us an upgrade, free of charge.  And so, off we went, after signing for our prepaid receipt, to pick up the largest vehicle we had ever driven.

The parking lot was teeming with vehicles, and polite attendant strolled along with us and led us to the ‘upgraded SUV’ section where we were allowed to take any one of the vehicles we liked!

At the gate, our documentation was checked and the car registration number entered into a computer, and away we drove.  It was cheap to hire, easy to book, although perhaps not so cheap to run – even in the USA, the price of fuel is no match for a gas guzzling Chevy Tahoe, so if you’re on a budget, can I suggest you either decline the upgrade…or don’t drive uphill!

All in all, a good experience, and worthy of a positive review from the candidtraveller team.

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