European van insurance
Packing up the van and going on a road trip? Then make sure you stay on the right side of the road – here’s our guide to driving on the Continent.
Can I use my van in Europe?
You can – as long as you have a valid licence from Britain or Northern Ireland you can drive in all European Union (EU) countries.
You can also drive in Switzerland and in European Economic Area (EEA) countries such as Iceland and Norway.
Don’t forget your essential paperwork
You can’t just nip home for paperwork so make you take:
• Your valid passport or other visa documents (your passengers will also need these)
• Your full and valid driving licence
• Your travel and van insurance documents
• A copy of your V5c van registration document if you own your van
• A copy of the van’s VE103B certificate if you’ve hired it (the rental company can provide you with this)
For more details of rules and regs in different countries, go to GOV.UK/driving-abroad
Avoid (razzle) dazzle
Headlamps on UK vans are fitted for driving on the left. So, if you’re off to a country that drives on the right, then by law, you’ll need to make sure your headlamps are adjusted so that they don’t dazzle oncoming drivers.
You don’t have to do anything fancy to your van – headlamp converter stickers should be enough to adapt the light beam.
Recommended driving kit
It’s not just your headlamps and passport you need to think about – there are a few necessary and recommended bits of kit that you’ll also need to pack, such as:
• GB sticker (this is a must-have if your van doesn’t already have GB shown on its number plate)
• Warning triangle – often a necessity depending on where you go
• Hi-vis jacket
• First aid kit
• Approved breathalyser (recommended in most countries, a must-have in France)
• Fire extinguisher
What do I need to know about emissions standards?
Low emission zones (LEZs) exist in Europe (and here in Blighty) with the aim of reducing pollution. To enter an LEZ, cars and vans have to meet certain emissions standards – known as Euro 6.
If you van meets Euro 6 standards then you don’t have to worry too much as you’re less likely to be charged for driving in an LEZ. But if your van doesn’t meet Euro 6 standards, then you could face fines or penalties for driving in one.
Confusingly, different countries – and even cities within them – have different rules so it’s best to check before you head off. You can find all the info you need at Urban Access Regulations in Europe.
Anything else I need to know?
Loose change is always handy to have, especially with all those toll roads dotted throughout Europe. Although most of them have reached the 21st century and are cashless, don’t get caught out by the ones that haven’t.
It goes without saying that you should make sure your van’s in tip-top health and a quick once over should mean a trouble-free drive.
Finding the best European van insurance
Before you wave goodbye to the white cliffs of Dover, check that your van insurance actually includes European cover in the country you’re travelling to. If it doesn’t, you can ask your provider to bolt it on temporarily, or you can look for a stand-alone policy.
When you look for a policy, think about:
• The number of days you need to be covered for
• Whether there’s a UK based emergency helpline – and is it open 24/7
• Whether European breakdown cover is included
• If you need cover for more than one person
• Where you’re driving and make sure the policy includes that country
Luckily, at The Van Insurer, you can find the perfect policy quickly and easily because we search more van insurance brokers than any other comparison site, meaning you can be confident about finding exactly what you need.
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