What to do if you're involved in a car accident abroad

While we always hope holidays will be “bump-free”, there’s plenty that you should be prepared for on foreign soils – not least having adequate health insurance and a Plan B if your wallet is stolen.

But what would you do if you were in a road accident while away?

If you’re involved in a similar scenario while you’re on holiday, there can often be complications, and if we’re honest, not many of us know in advance what they should do.

GoTimeshare has put together this at-a-glance guide so you’ll know what you should do if you’re involved in a accident in a foreign country.

At the scene of the accident

Make sure the police are called and that you get a copy of the report. If you don’t understand what you’re being told, ask for an interpreter.

Wherever possible:
  • make notes about what happened
  • get photographs of the accident – including pictures of the number plates of the other vehicles involved and their positions
  • exchange insurance details
  • take the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible
  • don’t admit liability or apologise.

If you’re driving in Europe you may have been given a European Accident Statement (EAS) by your insurance company. This helps you to get an agreed statement of facts about the accident and can help with insurance claims, but only sign the EAS when you’re sure that you understand the situation.

What happens next?

Call your insurer as soon as possible. What happens next will depend on whether the vehicle you were driving was hired and what kind of insurance cover you have.

If you were driving your own vehicle

Make sure you tell your insurer about the accident as soon as you can, even if you don’t want to make a claim. Give your insurance firm as much information about the accident as you can, as it will help them process your claim.

It’s also important to check your car insurance is valid abroad before you travel. Many insurers offer third-party cover while overseas, not comprehensive cover.

If you are going to be driving outside the European Union, you should also apply for a Green Card, which proves you have the minimum legal requirement of third-party liability insurance. You can usually get a Green Card from your insurer who may charge you a small fee.

You were driving a hire car

When driving a hire car it’s especially important to report even minor accidents to the local police. However, make sure you do not admit liability as this can affect your car hire insurance claim.

Next, contact your car hire company as soon as possible, making sure that you give the company as much information as possible about the accident.

Once you are home, write to the company with a full report of the accident. Never have a hire car repaired without getting the approval of the hire company first.

Accidents with uninsured drivers

If the accident happened in:

  • a European Union country
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

and was caused by an uninsured driver, you may be able to claim compensation from the country where the accident happened. You claim through the country’s equivalent of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

Personal injury claims

If you’ve been involved in an accident abroad you may want to make a personal injury claim. However, this can be very complicated and expensive and will need legal advice.

Useful links:

Find your local British Embassy on this list


You  may want to earmark these Citizen’s Advice guides which have more detailed information, too.

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