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European Car Insurance Cover for UK Registered Cars

12 people have commented on this article.

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.

6 Months

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.

12 Months

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.

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. 

 

Last updated in December 2018.
If you spot a mistake, leave a comment below.

12 thoughts on “European Car Insurance Cover for UK Registered Cars”

Leave a comment or ask a question below. I try and answer all of them.
  1. Hi,
    I am looking for long term car insurance quotes Portugal and have had three phone calls and a confirmation email from Saga where they state they DO NOT provide 365/unlimited European cover (contrary to their adverts). What they state is that you must be a UK citizen and you must return to the UK after six months for at least one day to ensure continuing coverage. Please do not think that you have an automatic 12 month cover for Europe as it would appear you get 364 days allowing for the one day return. In addition get their definition of ‘six months’ and ‘one day’. There are a lots of loopholes for them to wriggle through in the event of a claim. Regards, Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      I’ve spoken to Saga and asked them to clarify this and they say that they do provide 365 days cover (I specifically asked if there was any need to return to the UK during the 365 days).

      I’ll try and get my hands on a policy document to look at the wording, and see if there’s any mention of trip length.

      James

  2. Hi,
    Just had a conversation with Saga and have been assured that the person who sent me the email regarding returning to the UK for one day as per my previous post had not fully understood what I was asking for. Saga state unequivocally that they will cover for the whole 365 days.
    Sorry for any confusion.

    Regards,

    Paul

  3. What will happen after Brexit if UK insurance companies have not secured passporting rights? Will my UK insurance become invalid? This may come as early as 30th March 2019.

    • Hi Sue,

      It’s all a mess at the moment, and I don’t think anyone knows. At the moment there’s a 50% chance we’ll end up with something sane that resembles what we have now, and a 50% chance everything will go to pot. It’s really impossible to say at the moment. Hopefully, it’ll be the former and not the latter.

      James

  4. Hi all. Like the comments but not enough of them. Anyone out there know of a good AFFORDABLE long term (365) car insurance for Bulgaria together with long term breakdown cover?

    • Hi Mike,

      I don’t know if it exists. Car insurance that covers European travel for more than 180 days is extremely rare, and only 1-2 UK companies offer it (Stuart Collins and seemingly Saga). Stuart Collins definitely isn’t cheap, but since they’re one of the few people offering this I guess they can charge a premium. Maybe they’re taking on a lot of risk as well and it’s justified. I don’t know.

      Also, as far as I know, if you bring a car into another EU country you’re supposed to import it after six months. You would need to check with someone like Stuart Collins whether your insurance would cover you if you stayed in one country for the full 365 days.

  5. Hi, I just rang Saga’s Call Centre about a quote for car insurance and the agent said that as a UK citizen they expect you to spend the majority of the year resident in the UK, i.e. 183 days or more, which seems to invalidate any notion of 365 day European cover.
    It might be a different story if you have a current policy with them, although another post did suggest they have a lot of loopholes they can use to avoid paying claims.
    Regards, Rod.

  6. SAGA have just sent renewal documents with ‘changes’ from the last policy.

    In regard to European cover, they state a trip during the period of cover to Europe, must commence and end in the U.K. “We may ask for proof of this”

    Since a accident in Europe would necessarily precede a return to U.K., the policy would seem to be invalidated by it.

    I have gone off SAGA.

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