Who doesn’t like the feeling of a warm summer breeze in your hair whilst out on the open road? It only gets better when this is combined with a holiday abroad. If you are planning a holiday abroad this year and are not afraid to drive in a foreign country, make sure you are protected and that you know what to do in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Firstly, before going abroad, always speak to your insurers. Make sure that your policy covers accidents abroad (within the EU) as many insurers only provide a third-party cover, even if you have paid for a comprehensive one. As third-party policies do not cover vehicle damage or personal injuries, it may be useful to discuss your options and see what your insurers can offer.
If you’re going to be driving on the roads outside of Europe, ask your insurers about the “Green Card” – this international certificate guarantees that the victim is compensated in the country of accident. It provides the minimum cover required by the law of the country you are visiting. However, make sure that the country participates in the Green Card Scheme.
If you have decided to hire a car abroad, make sure you have their contact number, check the terms and conditions of the insurance taken out and familiarise yourself with the charges you may be liable for. Always report even the smallest accidents and never get the car repaired without letting the hire company now – this could complicate matters.
What do you need to know if you get into an accident abroad?
It is easy to advise to stay calm, but we all know how shock and stress make us say or do things we normally wouldn’t. The best practice is to always gather as much information at the scene as possible. There is no guide as to what you should do, but there are basic some requirements which you should keep in mind:
Location: write down where the accident has happened, including street names, junctions, exit numbers, any landmarks that could be seen, etc.
Details: take the other party’s vehicle registration number and ask for their insurer’s details. Note the weather and road conditions. Do not forget to make a note of the time and date of the accident – once the initial shock has passed, many people find it difficult to recall exact details. If there are other people in your or the other party’s vehicle, make a note of it with a description of the passengers. This can later prevent fraudulent claims of “ghost occupants”.
Evidence: take as many pictures as possible, and get the names, phone numbers and addresses of any witnesses.
Police: it is always best to call the police to the scene of the accident, because this will not only ensure that all details are taken but also a police report is reliable evidence of who was involved and gives an account of what has happened. It may also comment on who would be considered liable for the accident.
European Accident Statement (EAS): this form could be provided to you at the scene of the accident or by your insurer. It will contain the agreed facts about the accident. However, be careful not to sign anything which you are unsure of or don’t understand. The form is available in different languages and you should retain a copy of the signed form.
What if the other driver was uninsured?
In the UK, if you were involved in a non-accident with an uninsured driver, you would make a claim through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. It should be no different abroad – there should be an equivalent organisation that deals with such matters. It may be useful to ask your insurers or the local police about this.
Finally, before embarking on a summer road-trip abroad, always ensure that your vehicle is checked and has passed its MOT. Basic things like spare tyres, set of keys or even a new pair of wipers will not be too much. Ensure your engine is not overheating during those hot summer days and your windscreen and mirrors are clean to prevent any glare.
We wish you all the best in your summer adventures!
Whilst you may be driving with caution, others may not. If you have been injured in a road accident that wasn’t your fault, speak to our experienced personal injury solicitors who can help you claim compensation . You can contact us here or call 0845 287 0939 .