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Driving abroad

Holiday or business trip, driving can be fun. Your Elephant car insurance policy covers you to drive in all EU countries and some others; check your policy for details. Here are some hints to help you be legal and safe when you're on foreign roads.


We'll assume you've sorted the suntan lotion and paperback. You'll also need to have with you, and be ready to show:

  • Your driving licence
  • Your insurance certificate
    (there's an International Motor Insurance Certificate on the back of your Elephant Certificate of Motor Insurance)
  • An International Driving Permit
    (mostly for countries outside the EU)
  • Your vehicle's registration document (V5) - the original, not a copy
  • Your passport

Do I need a Green Card to drive in the EU?

The UK government has confirmed that Green Cards are no longer required to drive in:

  • Countries in the European Union (EU)
  • Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Andorra
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland

We don’t supply Green Cards for any other country.

Useful tips

  • Make sure our insurance covers you for where you're going. If you're not sure, call us on 0333 220 2006. Calls to 03 numbers will cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01 or 02) from both mobiles and landlines.
  • It's a good idea to have breakdown cover abroad. Elephant European Plus breakdown cover will take care of you for all your driving in Europe
  • Put a UK sticker on the back of your car
  • Pack a reflective jacket (or two - one for you and a passenger). Some countries insist you wear them if you step out of the car when it's broken down, and it's a good idea to have them anyway, even here in the UK
  • The same goes for carrying a warning triangle. Many countries insist on it, and we reckon it's sensible to take one wherever you're driving
  • Check your headlamps. If you're going to a country that drives on the right (which is most of them abroad), you'll need headlamp converters so you won't dazzle oncoming drivers. You must have them, even if you're not planning to drive in the dark
  • You can get headlamp converter kits from most motor accessory shops. If your car has HID or Xenon headlamps, check in your handbook to see if they can be adjusted for driving on the other side of the road. You may have to get the dealer to do it
  • Check your car. Make sure it's in good condition - perhaps treat it to a service before you go. Don't be tempted to overload it with cases of cheap booze - it could affect the handling and causes expensive extra wear. If you're going in winter, check if you have to carry wheel chains in the country you're travelling to
  • Don't get lost! If you have a sat-nav, you can usually buy extra maps for your destination. Or you could just buy ordinary road maps - as long as you promise not to argue with your map-reader!
  • Stay out of trouble. It's now illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving in most countries, so use your hands-free kit, or stop where it's safe. Don't be tempted to use a speed-trap detector - they're mostly illegal abroad too. And as for drink driving - the rules very from country to country, but they're mostly stricter than us. Best not to risk it
  • Think right! It might seem obvious, but it's easy to forget when you're driving off from a petrol station. If they drive on the right, so should you!

Elephant Top Tip

If you wear glasses (i.e. prescription specs, not your Dolce & Gabbana shades), take a spare pair. Just in case.