Foreign drivers can get temporary car insurance now
For a long time, people coming to visit the UK were unable to find car insurance because they held driving licences from countries not in the EU. Citizens of South Africa, Australia, USA, New Zealand and Canada were gutted that they could not drive their family or friend’s car whilst on holiday in England and were either forced to hire a car or not drive at all but this has all changed now.
It is undoubtedly cheaper to explore the UK by car and more convenient as well. You only have to pay for fuel rather than finding money to rent a car on a daily basis on top of petrol. However all insurers refused to provide cover for people coming from abroad especially if they were citizens of countries mentioned above. The reason was simple – foreign drivers are a great risk because after their vacation, there was no way to sue them or it was very difficult to trace them back. For example, if an international licence holder was involved in an accident which was their fault, they would have to pay an excess which is usually greater than what we, residents of the UK, pay but if they just leave the country without settling the costs, then it would be nearly impossible to get back the money. Actually the costs in trying to get back the money would be more than what they owe and since many outsiders have done that in the past, insurers were not willing to take that risk again, hence they were not eligible for car insurance coverage.
Of course, this is not to say that all tourists are bad people but as a business you want to make profits and taking on people in a risk group profile is not very sensible. It is worth mentioning that foreign drivers were able to get standard car insurance though, that is, coverage for a whole year (12 months) without much hassle but it was short term policies which were difficult to obtain if not impossible.
To the rescue
UPDATE: The walkabout policy has been discontinued now but you can get temporary insurance instead.
Fortunately, Herts Insurance Consultants (HIC) has designed a new scheme for backpackers and travellers which is called Walkabout Insurance. This new policy is perfect for those who are coming to stay in the UK for a short while and want to take advantage of driving the car of someone they know. Here are the main facilities of this car insurance policy:
- Driving licences from South Africa, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Canada and other countries accepted
- Cover is available on a temporary basis (from 14 days upwards) up to a year
- EU coverage included in the policy as well as some other countries
- You don’t need to have a permanent address and your documents can be sent by email
- Cover for campers including vans available
This is really great news for drivers with overseas licences as they will now be able to get insured and make the most of their stay in the UK. The quotes are really attractive as well but it’s pointless to mention any figure as the quotes are directly related to your own circumstances and therefore you should obtain a quote from them to get an idea of how much premiums are going to be for you.
Thank you all for commenting here. The author should correct this post as so many have written. I also found their web site confusing and misleading. I also enquired with them, and I can provide an update that as of 2016, hertsinsurance.com wrote back to me: "we would not be able to provide cover for a short term policy for driving a friends vehicle without the policy holder having a full UK license"
I have just tried to add an Australian/uk citizen friend to my insurance as a named driver for one month. He holds both a UK and Australian licence without penalty. I was told I would have to pay £159 to m y insurances company for him to be covered for 30 days. This is rather more than my annual premium. Did discover on line
who say that they can handle this, but I do not know at what cost.
my son is coming from Australia where he lives now and he has UK passport and UK driving license but I still cannot a him to my present policy.
These adverts say insurance for Australians with Australian license! but my company will not insure him...Any ideas anyone.... many thanks.... I was going to phone the above company but from what I have read it is not likely as you say the ad. is misleading (like most ads)
I will be grateful for any help.
This is complete rubbish. They do not offer the insurance deal described above. They only offer insurance to the foreign licence holder if the latter purchases their own vehicle. I have just tried to arrange insurance on the basis described above - This new policy is perfect for those who are coming to stay in the UK for a short while and want to take advantage of driving the car of someone they know - and it was flatly refused. Very annoyed as a complete waste of time.
I'm sorry to hear you didn't get any insurance cover with them. However this article was written based on what they stated on their website which in my opinion is misleading if they can't deliver on their promise.
I will update the article with the information from your comment but can you clear these 2 points for me :
- Do you mean to say that you can't drive someone else's car but need to buy one yourself (so you need to be the car owner)?
- Which country are you from and for how long were you looking to get insured?
Agreed, their web site is totally misleading and should probably be reported as misselling.
Having been unsuccessful with this company, have you found anywhere else where you can obtain insurance for (in my case) a Canadian to drive my car in the UK for a few weeks?