UK drivers are being warned to take care if they are driving overseas in coming weeks, with a leading insurer warning of a spike in holiday-related car claims.
As many people head off to Europe and with more than usual predicted to drive rather than fly, Admiral car insurance has warned that the spike in overseas travel is likely to bring a spike in accidents as well.
Its data shows that the holiday months of July and August are usually the worst months for UK drivers to claim for an accident overseas. In the last two years claims have jumped an average of 23 per cent as more holidaymakers head to Europe, with France accounting for 39 per cent of all incidents.
With many travellers still wary of flying amid the coronavirus pandemic, Admiral is predicting the number of incidents could be even higher this year.
Lorna Connelly, head of claims at Admiral, said “With an expected rise in the number of people deciding to drive abroad after the pandemic, we could see a spike in UK drivers being involved in accidents in mainland Europe in the coming weeks.
“Different driving laws, unfamiliar road layouts and signs in foreign languages can cause stress for the unprepared, increasing the risk of having a road accident. We received almost 3,000 claims for accidents abroad in 2018 and 2019.
“If you’re planning to drive abroad this summer, it’s important to be prepared, and know what to do in case the worst happens and you’re involved in an accident. Having the right documentation, being aware of the rules of the road in the country you’re visiting, and knowing what to do and where to report an accident are all essential before getting behind the wheel in a foreign country.”
Here are Admiral’s top tips for motorists on what to do before heading overseas and what to do if you are involved in a car crash in a foreign country
- Take your documentation including your certificate of motor insurance, driving licence (including the paper part) and the vehicle registration document abroad with you.
- Take a copy of the Agreed Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident with you (a European accident form which goes by different names in different countries). You can find a copy of this in English at cartraveldocs.com
- Ensure you save the contact details for your insurance company into your phone.
- Make sure you have sufficient travel insurance for you and your family as most motor insurance policies will only cover the car and not onward travel for you and your luggage.
- If you are involved in an accident, make a note of where the accident happened, including the date and time. Use your smartphone to see the exact location and take a screenshot.
- Take pictures of the accident at a safe distance. Also take photos of the vehicles involved; make sure you have a good photo of the registration number on the front and back of all vehicles.
- Take all witness details, names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.
- Don’t sign anything unless you understand what it is you are signing. In European countries you will be presented with the Agreed Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident. If you are involved in an incident with another driver they will present you with the form, it is split into two sections and each driver involved is expected to complete it with their version of events. The English language version you take with you is for translation purposes only, it will help you understand each section of the form the other driver will give you.
- Ask the local authority to recover the car if you can. Make sure you have their address and contact details and make sure you know where they are taking your car.
- Perhaps most importantly, remain calm, stay safe and phone your car insurer, and your travel insurer if you need onward travel.
This article first appeared on The Scotsman