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As many of us are preparing to leave these British isles by ferry or through the tunnel for some well-deserved summer holidaying, new research from Admiral warns that the number of claims made for car accidents abroad has jumped by 158% over the past five years.
The study found that 158% more overseas claims were made in 2016 compared with 2011. Looking further into the data, it seems that drivers aged 30-39 have made the most driving abroad car insurance claims over the last ten years, making up 30% of those claiming, as compared with those aged 40-49 (24%) and 20-29 (19%).
Overall, it's perhaps unsurprising to find that British drivers were at fault in 51% of accidents claimed abroad in 2016, given that we're the ones that have to adapt to driving on another side of the road and follow foreign traffic instructions.
The country where most of these accidents have taken place is France, where 46% of overseas claims were made, followed by Spain (9%) and then Germany and the Republic of Ireland (both 7%). These correspond to some of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits.
Perhaps less obvious are the most accident-prone cars, with figures showing that BMWs are most likely to be involved in an accident abroad, at 11%, followed by Volkswagens and Audis (both 9%), Fords (8%) and Mercedes (7%). If your car is one of these brands, maybe consider double-checking your car insurance before you leave. In the same vein, a quarter of all these claims were made in August, so be aware if you're planning to drive into Europe then.
Lorna Connelly, head of Claims at Admiral, commented: "Driving abroad is a great way to have the freedom to explore new places, without the cost of flights. There's no reason it shouldn't be a really enjoyable experience, but just as accidents can happen at home, they can happen abroad too, and different laws and languages can cause additional stress."
To help you have an enjoyable, stress-free holiday, Admiral has compiled a checklist to help you be prepared for an accident, just in case. "To ensure an accident doesn't ruin your holiday we're calling on all drivers to make sure they're well informed," said Lorna. "You can do this by being aware of the rules of the road in the country you're visiting and knowing what to do and where to report details of any accidents."
First and foremost, they remind you to take your documentation with you, as well as a copy of the Agreed Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident form (the English version of a European accident form) and the contact details of your insurance company.
Second, make sure you have adequate travel insurance. Your car insurance should give your car all the insurance it needs to deal with an accident abroad – check your policy before you go and switch to a better deal if it doesn't cover trips to Europe – but that won't help you or your luggage if you need to find your way home by other means. A good travel insurance package should help you get back home, with or without your car, and cover the cost of lost luggage if need be.
Third, take clear notes of where and when the accident takes place, and take pictures of the accident if it is safe to do so. Also write down witness details and any other relevant information, because you never know what you might need to refer back to.
Finally, don't sign anything unless you understand what you are signing, make sure you know what is happening with your car, keep calm and phone your insurance provider(s). Hopefully, you'll never need to use these tips, but at least by memorising them you'll know you can handle it if something were to happen.
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