02 November 2009 by Parkers Team

  • How to stay the on the right side of the law
  • Checking your car is insured
  • Checklist for popular EU destinations

Here's all you need to know about taking your company car abroad including the laws you need to know.

UK driving licence

You'll need both parts of your licence if you're planning to drive anywhere abroad. In most countries it's illegal to drive without having it in your possession.

In addition, make sure you have your passport, insurance documents and vehicle registration documents, so that you're prepared for any eventuality.

Insurance and breakdown cover

You must check with your fleet manager whether your car will be insured if it's driven abroad.

Make sure you leave plenty of time to do this, so that you can be sent all the relevant documents. If you're not covered - but have permission to take the car abroad - you may have to arrange your own insurance.

At the same time, make sure you have adequate breakdown cover. Not all fleet schemes will come to your rescue if you're stranded abroad.

A camera isn't just useful for those holiday snaps. Make sure you get photos of any damage caused by an accident and photos of the location. These are invaluable for successful claims.

Full travel insurance should cover you for the length of the trip, but make sure your entire party is covered.

Headlight converters are easy to apply and will make sure that your right-hand drive car will not dazzle those on the 'wrong' side of the road.

International driving permit

Although not compulsory, the International Driving Permit is a useful piece of documentation. If you have an accident while you're driving in the USA, Canada and South Africa, some insurers may want to see it.

If you're hiring a car in some African or Asian countries then an IDP is a compulsory requirement, while if you have an old-style paper licence, it's also advisable.

IDPs are available to UK residents who have a full UK driving licence and are aged 18 or over from motoring organisations. It costs £5.50, but cannot be used in the UK, if that is the place of issue.

What do I need to stay the right side of the law?

 

 

  Austria France Italy Portugal Spain
Driver's minimum age 18 18 18 18 18
Country (GB/NI) sticker? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Headlinght adjustment? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tolls (Motorway)? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Spare wheel? n/a n/a n/a n/a Yes
IDP needed for UK licence holders? No (As long as you have the 'new-style licence') No No (As long as you have the 'new-style licence') No (As long as you have the 'new-style licence') No (As long as you have the 'new-style licence')
Replacement bulbs? n/a Recommended Recommended n/a Yes (and the tolls needed to change them)
Seatbelts? Compulsory for front and rear (if fitted) Compulsory for front and rear (if fitted) Compulsory for front and rear (if fitted) Compulsory for front and rear (if fitted) Compulsory for front and rear (if fitted)
Spare petrol can? n/a n/a n/a Yes (full) n/a
On the spot fines Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Snow chains/winter tyres (in winter) Yes Yes Yes Yes n/a
Do I need to take my UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents with me? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warning triangle? Yes Yes Yes Recommended

Front and rear triangles mandatory

High visibility jacket? Yes Yes Yes Recommended Yes