Existing Customer Portal

8th June 2023

What to know about hiring a car in Europe after we leave the EU

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For many, hiring a car to get around Europe is the easiest and cheapest way to travel. But what’s happened to this option now that Brexit has been completed? Find out all this and more here.

Car hire in Europe after we leave in 2021

You’ll be pleased to know that you can still hire a car in Europe even now that Brexit has been finalised. Nothing much has changed, but you might need an international driving permit (IDP) to hire a car in some countries and with some hire companies.

If you’re planning on hiring a car in the EU, it would be best to check with the hire company you’re using before you travel.

What if I have an old paper licence?

If you don’t have a photocard, it’s more likely that you’ll need an IDP. Some countries, such as Belgium, France and Germany might require you to get a permit if you have a paper licence. The government website advises you to check with the embassy of the country you’ll be driving in.

How do I get an IDP if I need one?

Getting an IDP is easy; you can go to your local Post Office and get one over the counter. A permit costs just £5.50.

The Post Office suggests that if you haven’t called the hire company before travelling, it’s usually a good idea to err on the side of caution and purchase an IDP just in case you need one.

Will I need a green card?

Red hire car driving in the EU
Image source: Unsplash

No, you’ll only need a green card if you’re driving your own car from the UK to a country in the EU. If this applies to you, we’ve also covered the new rules in our blog on post-Brexit green card rule changes. You’ll also need one if you’re hiring a car in the UK and driving it in Europe, which we cover below.

Will my insurance still be valid?

If you’re purchasing insurance through your hire company, it’s likely that nothing will change and your insurance will still be valid. You should check this with your hire company just in case, but for the most part, the insurance process will be exactly the same – so long as you have the right paperwork, such as your driving licence and an IDP if necessary.

What are the rules for hiring a car in the UK and driving it in the EU?

Not much has changed on this front. You’ll still need to get the hire company’s permission to drive the car in the EU as some don’t allow this. You’ll also need to:

  • Check that your UK driving licence is still valid
  • Carry a VE103 with you while you travel

What if I’m planning a multi-stop trip with a hire car from Europe?

Man holding car keys for his hire car
Image source: Adobe Stock

If you’re planning on driving in several countries within the EU, you’ll need to let the hire car company know as some don’t allow this. If you let the company know which countries you’ll be driving in, they should be able to give you everything you need in order to do so. For instance, you might need slightly different insurance, breakdown cover and vehicle documentation.

Will I need an IDP if I’m a UK expat living in Europe?

So long as you’ve exchanged your UK driving licence for the equivalent licence in the EU country you’re living in, you shouldn’t need an IDP. You should also be able to use car hire companies in the EU in pretty much the same way as you would if you wanted to hire a car in the UK as a resident.

What if I haven’t exchanged my UK driving licence?

It’s not always simple to exchange your UK driving licence; you might have to pass a separate driving test, or the new licence might prevent you from being able to drive on UK roads easily when you return. If you’re still using your UK driving licence, you might still need an IDP and a green card.

What if I’m an expat still driving my UK car in Europe?

If you’ve wanted to keep a bit of home away from home in the form of your UK car and you haven’t yet exchanged your UK driving licence for an EU one, you can still get expat car insurance from us. As long as your UK-registered car is used abroad for at least eight months of the year, we can still cover you. Give us a call on 0344 381 9990 to find out more.

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