Navigation path

Updated : 30/11/2016

Car insurance validity in the EU

Validity of compulsory and optional insurance

When you register a car in any EU country, you must insure it for third party liability. This compulsory insurance is valid in all other EU countries. It covers you if you have an accident causing damage to property or injury to anyone other than the driver. It doesn't cover other costs (e.g. the cost of repairs to your own vehicle).

You can also take out additional, optional insurance, called first party liability, covering other risks. This insurance extends your cover (e.g. to injuries to the driver, damage to your vehicle, theft of your vehicle/its contents, vandalism, and legal assistance).

There are no EU-wide rules on additional optional car insurance. Check the terms and conditions with your local insurer before you travel abroad. Insurers can apply different rules in each country. So your insurance could be limited by time (e.g. a month abroad) or by distance (e.g. 150km from the border of your home country), or might exclude some countries for some types of risk (such as theft).

I'm living in another EU country

Car insurance in your host country

You must register your car in the country where you normally live. You don't need to register your car in your host country if you can prove that you are staying there only temporarily e.g. as a student.

When you register, you will have to present proof that you have insurance cover.

The car registration authorities should accept insurance cover from any insurance company:

  • based in that country or with an office there
  • without an office in that country but authorised to provide services there.

If you are moving to another EU country and need to re-register your car, you will have to check with your insurer whether your current contract will be valid in the country you are moving to.

In principle, you can also insure your car in a EU country different from your country of residence. But remember to check if the insurance company offers international services.

Sample story

Is insurance from my home country valid abroad?

Lazlo, who is from Slovenia, moved to the UK, taking his car, for which he has a standard Slovenian insurance policy.

Once in the UK, he'll need to register his car with the UK authorities and find out if he can drive on his Slovenian insurance. If not, he'll have to take out new insurance in the UK.

Find out more about national regulations on car insurance

Choose country

Choose country

Common rights across EU countries


* Information not yet provided by national authorities

The European Commission is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Buying new insurance abroad

If your current contract is not valid in the country you are moving to, or expires if you re-register your car there, you can contact the national green card bureau/information centre to ask which insurers offer car insurance in that country.

Insurance premiums and claims history

Motor insurance premiums differ from one EU country to another, mainly due to differences in national contract laws, risk assessments and compensation schemes or complex and expensive international claims management.

In some EU countires your claims history can affect your insurance premiums. You may have heard this called a no-claims discount, no-claims bonus or bonus-malus system. If you make no claims during the year, your insurer may give you a discount when you renew your contract. But if you made a claim, you may be asked to pay more.

You can ask your insurer at any time for a record of any claims you have made over the last 5 years. They must provide this within 15 days.

But if you have to take out new car insurance in another EU country, the new insurer is not obliged to take account of your previous claims record (or any reductions you might have been eligible for) when calculating your premium.

Some insurers will consider your claims record, though, so always shop around.

Sample story

I have a good driving record at home, so why is insurer abroad charging me a higher premium?

Rosa is from Italy and recently moved to France. She had been driving for 10 years in Italy with no claims and so the premiums for her Italian insurance were relatively cheap.

Several French insurers refused to consider Rosa's driving record in Italy, so she shopped around until she found one who would – enabling her to obtain cheaper insurance.

I'm a tourist

Your car insurance policy from your home country covers you throughout the EU if you injure someone.

Find out more information about national regulations concerning insurance cover when travelling abroad.

Choose country

Choose country

Common rights across EU countries


* Information not yet provided by national authorities

The European Commission is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Your car's numberplate is proof that you have liability insurance.This means that police in another country will not normally stop you just to check if you are insured. If you travel with a trailer, it needs to be insured too. In some EU countries you must have separate insurance for a trailer. Check with your insurer before you travel.

Always take your insurance papers with you. It may make things easier if you have an accident or are stopped by the police.

Sample story

Carry your insurance documents with you

Ronaldo was stopped for speeding in France. Because he did not have his insurance documents with him, the police asked him to call his insurer in Portugal to prove he was insured.

Even though you aren't legally obliged to, carrying your papers with you is the best way to prove you are covered. It can save you time and money if you run into problems abroad.

Public consultations
    Need support from assistance services?
    Get help and advice