This is part of a series of posts on driving in Portugal. Other posts in this series discuss buying a left hand drive car in the UK and long-term European breakdown cover for UK Reg cars. This post discusses British car insurance companies that will cover you for a long term stay in Europe.
UK reg cars can only be insured through a British car insurance company. Portuguese car insurance companies won’t insurance a UK registered car (and vice versa).
The challenging part is that car insurance companies tend to limit the amount of time that they’ll cover a car that’s outside the UK. Most UK companies only provide European cover for up to 90 days, which is too short for most expats living in Portugal. Thankfully we’ve managed to find a few companies that offer up to six month’s cover and some that even offer year-long cover in Europe.
The following UK car insurance companies offer 180 days European cover. You will need to return to the UK for another six months before you can drive outside of the UK again. If you’re only visiting Portugal for a few months of the year, this is probably going to be cheaper than going through a specialist expat insurance company that offers 365 day cover.
LV= – Offers car insurance for all ages and it’s easy to buy online. European cover for trips up to 180 days in length is included with your policy.
AgeUK – Like Saga, AgeUK offer car insurance for over 50s. Unlike Saga, however, their cover is only for 180 days instead for 365.
Note: Pay attention to the small print. Some companies offer medium to long term European cover but have limits on the length of an individual trip. Aviva, for example, offer 180 days European cover but have a single trip limit of 90 days. This means you would have to come back to the UK half-way through your trip.
The following UK car insurance companies offer 365 days European cover.
Saga – If you’re over 50, one of the benefits is that you qualify for Saga car insurance and Saga very kindly allow you to drive within Europe for an unlimited time period at no extra cost. Saga is the only household name car insurance company that offers this length of cover. With an easy-to-use website, it’s also the easiest company to buy car insurance through.
Stuart Collins – A specialist car insurance broker that focus on long term European cover, Stuart Collins are a well-known broker within the expat community. Their policy covers you for 365 days within Europe and an annual green card is included with the coverage papers.
To start your policy, you will need to create a quote online and then send them through a fax (which is often a challenge in this day and age). Otherwise, they’re easy to work with and you just need to phone up once a year to pay your insurance by card over the phone (web payment isn’t an option).
Insurance policies aren’t cheap but if you’re under 50 and planning on staying in Europe for longer than six months, it could be your only option.
Brexit update: Stuart Collins have said that their policy is the same (12 months European and UK cover) despite Brexit. Obviously, there may be restrictions on how long you personally can stay in the Schengen Area. Unless you have an EU passport, it’s likely that you’ll only be able to spend 90 days in every 180 days. Stuart Collins also covers countries outside of the Schengen Area like Bulgaria and Romania should you need to leave the Schengen Area but not want to come back to the UK.
Abbeygate Insurance – Offers European car insurance to over 30s living in Portugal (and the UK, Spain, Gibraltar, and Cyprus).
Ibexinsure – Offer British car insurance to expats living in Portugal, Spain, and Gibraltar.
Chosen your car insurance? Don’t forget you’ll need long-term European breakdown cover as well.