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Car Insurance For European Drivers: How It Works

Whether you are visiting Europe or living there, driving a car is convenient and can easily be managed if you do your homework. Each country in Europe has specific requirements for operating a motor vehicle of which you must be aware. While requirements vary slightly from country to country, overall if you are insured in one place, your insurance will usually be valid in another. If you are an international visitor, your home car insurance will probably not cover you, but you can easily obtain a policy in the country you are visiting, and you can usually cross national borders with no problem.

About European Car Insurance

If you are a short-term visitor, your insurance needs will depend on whether you buy or rent your vehicle. If you are an American or Canadian renting a vehicle, insurance requirements are fairly simple. Your license is valid in Europe for up to a year, and your rental agency will ensure that you meet the requirements for insurance for your specific location. Be aware of collision damage waivers, also known as CDW’s.

These fees that agencies tack on to rental policies can be very expensive and are not necessary. Also, be aware that there are two types of insurance: third party liability which covers the damage to another vehicle, and full coverage insurance, which covers your vehicle and any others involved in an accident.

Understanding How Car Insurance In Europe works

If you purchase a car, you should visit an insurance agent in that country prior to buying to make sure that you meet all requirements for coverage. All European countries require you to have liability insurance at a minimum. You may also be required to carry collision or comprehensive if you are financing the vehicle. In general, all European countries honor each others’ insurance, so if you travel from one place to another you should not have to purchase more insurance, but it is always wise to check.

Getting insured as a driver in Europe is pretty easy if your current coverage does not extend through European countries, so don’t stress out about it. However, keep in mind that some countries, especially in the far east of Europe, have different requirements, and some rental agencies will not cover you to drive in those places.

Traveling to Europe? Getting an International License?

If you are residing in Europe, but you are from another country, you should decide if you will change your licensure and insurance from your home country before driving. Many people staying in Europe for extended periods obtain an international driver’s license by paying a small fee and taking a test. Your former insurance coverage will be valid for a time period in Europe, but you should see about changing your policy to a local one as soon as possible.

You Must be at Least 17 Years Old

In Europe, insurance generally covers the driver for any vehicle he or she operates, and European auto insurance will cover drivers as young as 17. Your rates will be determined by several factors, including your former driving record, how many miles a week you drive, and where you live. Because your rates are dependent on your driving record, you should provide any former insurance policies when you apply in Europe for insurance.

Look up specific requirements for your location in Europe

Your former policies will show your previous driving history, which will help you obtain a fair rate for your new policy.  If you want to know about a specific country like Germany, then be sure to look up the exact requirements for your location; it will make the process easier than just searching through all of “Europe” because different countries have different regulations.

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