Many drivers may wish to travel to Europe by car this Easter, however there are certain legal requirements to do so, particularly when driving a leased vehicle.
Drivers travelling in mainland Europe must carry their registration document at all times. However, as drivers of leased vehicles do not own their vehicles, they do not have the V5C registration document.
In this circumstance a Vehicle on Hire certificate must be carried. All EU countries require that a foreign driver travelling in a leased or rented vehicle carries a VE103 document with them. The VE103 contains details of the vehicle taken from the V5, along with the name and address of the hirer. This is the only acceptable substitute for the V5C, and enables the authorities to verify that the person driving the vehicle has permission to do so. Photocopies of the V5C or letters of authority are not accepted.
SHB customers can request a Vehicle on Hire certificate by calling us on 01794 511 458. SHB also require all customers wishing to take our vehicles abroad to have 5* European Insurance cover.
Drivers caught without the correct documentation can face long delays which can be time consuming and costly. The consequences will vary according to the country, but a driver may be fined and the vehicle could be impounded.
Please see below some essential driving in Europe tips courtesy of the RAC
- Familiarise yourself with the driving laws of the country you are visiting. This means more than just checking what side of the road to drive on – it should also include speed limits; what paperwork or documentation is required by law; alcohol limits and any other important rules and regulations
- Check what compulsory in-car equipment is required in the country or countries you will be driving in. For example, in July 2012 it became compulsory for all cars on French roads to carry a portable breathalyser. The kits enable motorists to check if they are under the French limit of 50mg per 100ml of blood which is 30mg lower than the UK. Motorists in France are also legally obliged to carry a warning triangle and fluorescent vest.
- Check with your insurance company that you’re fully covered to drive abroad. If you don’t have overseas cover, you will only have the minimum legal cover (usually third party only) in the EU and you may need to pay an extra premium to extend your insurance cover
- Got a European Health Insurance card (EHIC)? This entitles you to reduced or free state healthcare if you fall ill or are injured when travelling abroad. It is no substitute for a travel insurance policy. More details available at NHS England.
- Never assume your breakdown cover extends abroad. You may need to increase your existing cover or take out standalone European Breakdown cover to avoid unnecessary stress and significant additional expense if anything goes wrong
- Create a travel pack containing all the appropriate documentation you will need to comply with the legal requirements of the country you are visiting and to help if you get into difficulties. In addition to your passport and driving licence this may include: vehicle registration document (V5); motor insurance certificate; International Driving Permit (if required or advised); breakdown policy and contact numbers; travel insurance documents and any emergency helpline numbers
- Prepare your car before your trip by making sure it is serviced. There are also simple things you can do yourself to make sure your car is in good, roadworthy condition such as checking your tyre pressures and tread and topping up your oil and checking your coolant level. These simple tasks are vital to keeping your car running smoothly on the road and to stop your engine overheating
- Don’t forget that your vehicle must display the appropriate country identification letters (e.g. GB). Failure to do so may result in an on-the-spot fine, but if your number plates include the GB Euro symbol, you do not need a sticker within the EU
- Stock up on your in-car ‘tool kit’ – make sure you have a breakdown kit in your car including: fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, tool kit, torch, blanket, warning triangle and reflective jacket. A jack and wheel removal tools in case of a puncture could come in extremely handy when you’re on the move abroad.
Make sure you have all the essentials and some accessories. Click here to watch expert advice from RAC Patrol Andy Wistance.