Car insurance check list

24 May 2013

Having your car with you can be a godsend on holiday, particularly if you have a family that insists on bringing everything but the kitchen sink. Children's toys and home comforts can be piled into the boot, ensuring that everyone has a hassle-free experience.

But having a cavalier approach can be a recipe for disaster. It is important that insurance documentation is checked and that equipment required by law in certain countries makes its way into that rapidly shrinking boot.

Tony De Sousa, director at RA Rossborough Insurance provides an essential check list intrepid travellers should go through before driving onto the ferry.

Check your car insurance:

You should always check your insurance policy before taking your car off-island. Some insurers require you to let them know that the vehicle is going to be outside of the UK. Also, a lot of people don't realise that the clause with regard to driving other people's cars with their permission is affected once the vehicle is outside of the Channel Islands, UK or Isle of Man. While named drivers on the policy are still fine to drive the car on the Continent, you may not be allowed to drive someone else's car whilst abroad even if the owner has given you permission.

If you are planning to leave your car in St Malo, for example, for any length of time you must also inform your insurers. Most standard policies have a 90-day limit for foreign use in any one insurance year. You must let the insurer know if the car is going to be left unattended and amendments will be made to the policy. For example the excess may increase and the car will need to be immobilised.

If people forget to let their insurers know their car is going to be left unattended for an extended period it could affect their ability to make a claim as they have contravened the policy conditions.

Buy the right kit:

It is essential to make sure you have the correct kit in your car when you take it off the island. Failure to do so can result in fines, which have to be paid on the spot. For France, you will need headlight adjusters, warning triangles and a fluorescent safety vest for each passenger, all of which need to be kept in the car and not the boot as these would need to be easily accessible, and a breathalyser (it is recommend that you take two, in case one needs to be used).

In France and Spain, replacement headlamp bulbs are a requirement and for those going as far as Greece, make sure you have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit in the car.

If you have a speed camera/ radar detector on your vehicle, remove it. In France they are illegal and their use can result in a hefty financial penalty. 

Take the correct paperwork:

Always take your licence and insurance documents away with you. If you are stopped by police in France they will want to see them by the roadside.

Consider breakdown cover:

It is always worth purchasing breakdown cover when you are taking your car outside of Guernsey, especially if you are going to the Continent. It can be extremely expensive to have a car brought back to the island if it cannot be repaired abroad. It can cost in excess of £3,000 to bring your broken down vehicle back to Guernsey. Breakdown cover is relatively inexpensive and an annual policy can include cover for Guernsey and the UK as well.

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