FAQs - Car insurance validity
The cost of car insurance varies a lot between European countries. Surely, if it's a single market, I can buy insurance in other EU countries?
The reason prices vary so much is that costs are still influenced by local conditions in each country, such as minimum compensation amounts for victims, civil liability rules, and the cost of vehicle repairs. Even within one country, prices may differ depending on where you live.
Insurance companies also have to comply with certain legal obligations if they want to sell insurance in EU countries where they have no base or branches. This explains why insurance companies tend to operate through local branches or partners and why you may find it difficult, in practice, to find an insurer willing to offer you cross-border insurance services.
Can I keep my car insured with my current French insurer when I move to Belgium?
When you register your car in Belgium — as you should if you plan to stay there over 6 months — you will have to prove that you have insurance cover. The Belgian authorities will have to accept insurance cover from any French insurance company that is authorised to provide services in Belgium. But if you find your French insurance company is not authorised in Belgium, you will have to find another insurer.
I have bought a second-hand car in Germany and want to drive it back to France. Should I buy insurance in France or in Germany?
Normally you should buy insurance in the country where the car is registered. However, because you live in France and will eventually have your car registered there, you will have to use a French insurer. You should clearly explain to your insurer that you will need cover from the moment you take possession of the car in Germany or the moment it is dispatched if you have it shipped.
Can I keep my car insured in Spain, where I live, while it is used for a year by my son who is studying in Portugal?
Even though your car will remain registered in Spain, you should check your insurance contract and see whether it covers the situation where the effective user of the car is a family member who is staying in another EU country. Otherwise, if your son has an accident in Portugal, your insurer might object that you didn't inform them of a fundamental change of circumstances.
An insurer in Finland, where I've just moved, wants to insure me as a new driver, ignoring my no-claims bonus in Italy, where I used to live. Can they do that?
YES — They can, but shop round to see if you can find a different Finnish insurer who will take account of your clean record in Italy. Your previous Italian insurer must provide you with a record of your claims history on request.
Will my car insurance cover me while travelling in another EU country?
YES — Your compulsory third-party insurance remains valid if you travel to or temporarily stay in another EU country. The "Green Card" provided by your insurer — automatically or on request depending on your country of insurance — will make it easier for you to claim if you have an accident abroad. Other cover for damages to your car or to yourself (fire, theft, etc., included in comprehensive insurance) depends on your particular contract, so you should check with your insurer.
Why does the cost of car insurance vary so much between European countries?
Because prices are still influenced a lot by local conditions in each country.
For example, compensation amounts for victims, civil liability regimes and the cost of vehicle repairs still vary widely between countries.