General advice for driving in Europe


Since the construction of the channel tunnel it has never been easier to visit European destinations in your own car. The added competition provided by the tunnel has helped provide us all with a wider choice of options and kept cross channel travel costs competitive.

Apart from making yourself aware of the driving rules and regulations for the countries you intend to visit, it is important that you carry the correct documents with you and ensure that you are properly prepared for your visit.

What documents to take with you

If you are driving in Europe there are a number of documents you will need to take with you. If you are out and about in your car you will need to keep them with you as you may be asked to produce them at any time.

Also if you intend to leave your car at any time, make sure you carry them with you and don't leave them in the car. Sort out your documentation well in advance of your trip, things like getting visas or renewing your passport may take time to get processed.

What you may need...

  • Your passport. Also make a note of your passport number and date of issue, but keep it separate from the passport itself, in case you lose it

  • A full valid driving licence, with paper counterpart if you have a photo card licence

  • An International Driving Permit if necessary (see below)

  • The original vehicle registration document

  • Your motor insurance certificate

  • Visas if required


What is an International Driving Permit

If you are driving in a European Community/European Economic Area [EC/EEA] member state you will be able to use your GB licence. An International Driving Permit is a formal document which translates details of your driving licence into several languages. This enables foreign authorities to interpret the driving entitlements held, their validity periods and the identity of the holder.

If you are intending to drive outside of the EC/EEA then you should speak to a motoring organisation such as the Automobile Association or Royal Automobile Club who will be to advise you on the requirements and also issue an International Driving Permit if you need one.

The EC/EEA member states are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

About medical treatment

If you are travelling in one of the EC/EEA members states you can get reduced cost or sometimes free medical treatment by applying for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel.

The fastest way is to apply online here and your card should arrive within seven days. You can also apply by phone on 0845 606 2030 or by post using an application form which should be available from some post offices.

You can apply for yourself or on the behalf of your partner or your children who are under 19 and in full-time education.

Emergency contact number

You can dial 112 for emergency services in all 27 states of the EC/EEA if you have an accident or require the police.

Car Insurance

Make sure you contact your insurer well in advance of your travel date to organise any extra cover you need for your journey. Also ensure that the necessary documents arrive before you travel and take copies and the relevant contact numbers with you.

Using your credit cards in the EC/EEA

Check with your bank or credit card provider that your cards are accepted in the countries you intend to visit. It's possible they may not be accepted in some countries.

Breakdown cover

If you have breakdown cover speak to your provider to see if they can provide enhanced temporary cover for the countries you intend to visit.

Click here for a list of additional car safety equipment for European driving

If you have been involved in a car accident in the UK that was not your fault, we can help you get a replacement vehicle, car repairs, legal assistance and injury compensation.

Please give us a call on 02392 484 244 , and one of our experienced claims advisors will be happy to assist you.



No need to claim on your insurance

Anyone who has been involved in a road accident has the right to choose who repairs their vehicle. If you were responsible for the accident you were involved in, the company that insures your vehicle would normally deal with your accident claim.

However if you were not at-fault for the accident, you can choose to either claim on your own insurance policy or make a claim independently of your insurer. To find out more call 02392 484 244 and we will be happy to help.

We and our partners help thousands of people make independent accident claims. Our service enables motorists to get the help and assistance they need to resolve their accident related issues, with the costs being recovered directly from the at-fault driver on your behalf.

No excess to pay

Unfortunately even if an accident was not your fault, your insurer will almost certainly require you to pay your excess before any repair is started on your car.

This money should of course be recovered by an insurer at a later date, but with our service - you do not have to pay it at all.

By using our independent claims service, you are not making a claim on your insurance policy and so you will have no excess to pay.

Receive a like-for-like replacement hire vehicle

Not all insurance policies will include a replacement hire-car for you to use if yours is damaged and unroadworthy. In fact it is typically an 'optional extra' on your policy.

Other policies may offer a 'courtesy car' but this is often just a 'basic' saloon or hatchback which may not be suitable for your needs.

Car Call and its partners will provide a like-for-like replacement vehicle as part of our service. This means we will endeavour to supply a hire-vehicle that similar to your own in terms of its type, make and engine size.

So whether you drive a small hatchback or a prestige sports car, we will look to provide a similar hire-vehicle that suits your needs.

Manufacturer approved vehicle repairs

If you have been involved in a car accident, the last thing you want to have to worry about is the quality of the repairs to your car. We have a UK wide network of partner approved Accident Repair Centres available to all of our customers.

Many of our accident repair centres are have manufacturer approvals for specific brands, so if you require a manufacturer approved repair centre, simply tell your personal claim handler and they will ensure your vehicle goes to an approved repairer.

Want you vehicle repaired by a specific garage? No problem, we can alternatively use a repairer that you specify.

Legal Assistance

Our partner solicitors provide legal assistance as part of our service. They specialise in motor claims related issues, so you can be assured of the best possible advice and assistance.

They issues they can assist you with include:

  • Recovery of the cost of the replacement hire-vehicle
  • Recovery of the cost of uplifting your damaged vehicle
  • Recovery of all repair costs
  • Recovery of the cost of damaged of personal items
  • Seeking financial compensation for an injury