How to take your car outside of the EU, including buying ‘Green Card’ insurance, and getting back in again.
Plus, some major mountain roads in Italy shut on Sundays over the next few weeks. ‘Drug tourists’ nabbed in operation at Luxembourg services. Free, super-high speed wifi on France A8. Condor Ferries staff ‘verbally and physically abused’.
DRIVING CARS OUT OF THE EU
‘Green Card’ insurance; driving licences and border queues.
At 3000km wide and 5000km top to bottom, the European Union is big, but not that big.
As demonstrated by yesterday’s Record Road Run, it doesn’t take that long to reach the outer edges.
Beyond there, the big issue is insurance.
All EU policies must have the minimum legal level of cover required in all Member States (plus Switzerland and Norway).
Other countries might be included depending on the insurance company. Ours covers Serbia, for instance. Aside from that, drivers are left relying on so-called ‘Green Cards’.
By that we don’t mean the official scheme, a – green – document issued by an insurance company which shows the driver has at least the minimum legal insurance for a particular country.
That is steadily dying out, in Europe anyway (our insurance company only issues green cards for Turkey).
Otherwise, ‘Green Card’ (or Carte Verde) is a universally understood phrase meaning the policies sold from (typically) portacabins within a few yards of border crossings.
Buying is often a time-consuming, hand written process, but not expensive. We paid €15 for a week in Bosnia, and €10 each for Ukraine and Moldova.
You might have to cross the border on foot first to buy a green card, then go back for the car. However, the only border guard interested in whether we had insurance was in Bosnia, and he let us park up beside his booth for few minutes.
Generally the only documents the border guards are interested in is your passport and the car’s ‘passport’, the registration document.
Exactly what Green Card policies covers is another matter. We haven’t ever seen an English translation, or bought insurance from a seller who spoke English.
We assume, possibly erroneously, it means just third party liability, i.e. it does not cover fire or theft…
This means we only ever stay at hotels with secure parking, generally in major cities (though finding suitable places to stay has never been a problem).
A lesser issue is the driving licence. The EU photocard is increasingly recognised (the paper version less so). The only European countries we know where drivers always need an International Driving Permit (IDP) are Ukraine and Russia.
The only other thing to bear in mind are border queues. Do not ever expect to cross in an instant. It can take several hours at major crossings on busy days. That applies not just on leaving, but also getting back in again.
roundup: LUXEMBOURG. Capellen services on the A6 west of Luxembourg City saw spot checks on 5-6 June by police looking for ‘drug tourists’ reports Wort.lu. The action was dubbed ‘Operation Hazeldonk’ after a village on the Belgian-Dutch border. Fifty cars were stopped and 89 people questioned. Eight were found in possession of various types of marijuana. Police will also be carrying out document checks 15-22 June says Wort.lu. FRANCE. Autoroute operator Vinci has signed a deal with Wifirst to provide super high speed wifi – at one gigabyte per second – at ten service stations along the major A8 motorway between Aix-en-Provence and Nice. Starting 1 July, the fibre optic based service will be free for the first hour then €4 for an additional twelve hours. If successful, the scheme will be expanded to the rest of Vinci’s network of 170 rest stops over 4400km of motorway. CROSSING THE CHANNEL. Passengers apparently upset about the difficult introduction of Condor Ferries’ new ship Liberation have ‘physically and verbally abused’ the operator’s staff according to BBC Jersey. The firm has posted prominent notices around the ferry and ports saying it will not tolerate ‘abusive, threatening or disruptive’ behaviour. Aside from poor weather – Liberation runs with reduced wave height capability until later this year – problems have centred around loading. Condor has been reminding customers via social media to correctly categorise vehicle dimensions on booking to prevent delays at check-in. Meanwhile, the Channel Islands operator insists the stats show a ‘steady improvement’ in reliability with 92% of sailings operated, two thirds of which have been on time or early.