33% More Brits Plan To Take Their Car Abroad Than Three Years Ago

09 July 2013


The number of Brits planning to take their car abroad over the next 12 months has increased by a third (33%) in just three years(1), according to new research from Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance. Around 8.5 million Brits (23% of drivers) plan to drive abroad this year(2) yet many could inadvertently break the law if they don’t know the rules of the road in the country they are visiting.

In addition to researching and understanding some common road signs or phrases, motorists should be aware that countries have different legal requirements in terms of what a motorist should carry in their car. In France, Croatia, Italy and Norway, for example, it is compulsory to carry a warning triangle(3) however the research(2) reveals that 39% of those planning to drive their car abroad do not intend to carry one; an 11% increase since 2010.

In all European countries, motorists are required to carry their motor vehicle insurance documentation yet the research reveals that almost two fifths (41%) of drivers are not planning to do this. In addition, nearly half (47%) will not take proof of ownership with them in their cars. Half of those surveyed (50%) will not carry GB sticker on their car, yet it is compulsory in several countries, including France, Austria and Switzerland.

The research also reveals that a number of those planning to drive abroad do not plan to carry out basic maintenance checks on their car before setting off. Making sure your car is roadworthy, for example, the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, oil and water levels are correct or that you have a spare tyre in case of emergency. Just two thirds (60%) of drivers say they intend to ensure their car is roadworthy before setting off and will ensure they have a good level of breakdown cover.

Emily Fleming of Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, said: “Our research shows that increasingly, more Brits are planning on taking their cars abroad, so we are encouraging those doing so to be fully aware of the motoring laws specific to the country they are visiting. In many cases, these laws often involve having extra items in the car such as a reflective jacket, first aid kit or headlamp converters for when driving at night which will need to be purchased before setting off.”

Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance is also reminding those planning to take their car abroad to tell their insurer before they set off, or they could find that they are not covered by their insurance provider as soon as they drive on foreign soil. While most insurers will provide cover for driving in Europe, they also require policyholders to notify them before setting off. Sainsbury’s Premier Cover Car Insurance offers free European comprehensive cover extension for up to 90 days a year(4).

Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance is offering some useful tips and information for those planning to drive overseas:

  1. Do some basic checks on your car to help minimise the risk of breakdowns or accidents, e.g.: check tyre pressures, oil, brake fluid and water levels.
  2. Plan your route: invest in a map or use a European route planner on the internet.
  3. Call your car insurer: even if you think you have comprehensive cover abroad, it is worth calling before you leave to double check, or if required, upgrade your policy to include this.
  4. Take your time: set a realistic timescale for your journey to avoid feeling pressured to drive at a pace you don’t feel comfortable with, or not take enough breaks. Driving on unfamiliar roads abroad can be even more tiring than usual, so give yourself time and consider planning your route to avoid the centre of major cities where driving is likely to be most stressful.
  5. Check the motoring laws for the countries you are visiting. This can be done free of charge with some organisations. If you are going to be driving in several countries across Europe make a note of the different rules that apply in each country and take this with you. Make sure you refer to the notes before you cross the border and enter each country.

Top ten destinations for Britons travelling abroad and numbers of Brits expected to travel there in the next year(2)
France 5.03 million
Italy 1.28 million
Germany 1.26 million
Belgium 1.19 million
Spain 1.13 million
The Netherlands 1.12 million
Ireland 895,000
Luxembourg 588,000
Switzerland 578,000
Austria 555,000

Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance offers double nectar points for two years on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel(5). For further information call 0800 092 9334, visit or pick up a leaflet in store.


For further information, please contact:
Ian Morris, Citigate Dewe Rogerson on 020 7282 1037
Lorna Gilmour, Sainsbury’s Bank on 0131 338 2863

Notes to Editors:
1. Sainsbury’s Bank commissioned ICM Research on behalf of its Car Insurance Division to survey 2,000 adults. Research found an increase of 2,108,000 adults planning to drive abroad from 2010 [6,443,000] to 2013 [8,551,000]. As a percentage, this is 32.7% [2,108,000 ÷ 6,443,000 = 0.327 multiplied by 100].
2. Sainsbury’s Bank commissioned ICM Research on behalf of its Car Insurance Division to survey 2,000 adults aged 18+ online between 3rd – 6th May 2013. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at
4. Please contact us to arrange this cover abroad. We automatically extend your policy to include any member country of the European Union, Switzerland, Croatia and Norway free of charge and give you the same level of cover as you have in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands for the agreed period. Your car will also be covered during journeys between those countries by a recognised carrier provided that the journey does not take longer than 65 hours under normal conditions. Cover in these countries only applies if your main permanent home is in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands and your journey abroad is for less than 90 days in any period of insurance.
5. *Double Nectar
a) Offer available only to customers who take out a new Sainsbury’s comprehensive car insurance policy.
b) Customers must renew their policy at first renewal for double points to continue.
c) If the policy is cancelled, double points will cease from the cancellation date.
d) Only the first car insurance policy registered against each Nectar account will qualify for double points.
e) Base points on qualifying spend in Sainsbury’s will be collected as normal. A bonus equal to the total of these points each calendar month (subject to a monthly maximum of 2,500 points) will be credited to the Nectar account by the 10th of the following month, for up to 24 months from the policy cover start date. Excludes all bonus point offers and points from Sainsbury’s Energy, Telecoms, Digital, Bank, Diets and all other Sainsbury’s services.
f) The monthly bonus will only be calculated on, and credited to, the Nectar card nominated at the time of application. The nominated card must also be used at the time of each Sainsbury’s purchase and points will not be allocated retrospectively.
g) The Nectar loyalty programme is operated independently of Sainsbury’s Bank by Aimia Coalition Loyalty UK Ltd; and the collection and use of points is governed by the Nectar Collector Rules, set out in the registration pack and available at
h) Sainsbury’s Bank reserves the right to alter, cancel or withdraw the offer without prior notice.

Sainsbury’s Bank:

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Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Bank provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times. Our products consistently top best buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.
So far in 2013, the Bank has been awarded ‘Personal Loan Provider of the Year’ – Consumer Moneyfacts, ‘Best Loan Provider’ – Money Supermarket Supers and ‘Best Credit Card for Rewards’ – Moneynet and ‘Best Card Provider’ – Moneyfacts.
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Direct Line Group plc
U K Insurance Limited is the underwriter of Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance and Sainsbury’s Bank home insurance and are part of the Direct Line Group PLC. Direct Line Group plc (Direct Line Group) is headquartered in Bromley; it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Through its number of well-known brands Direct Line Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also offers insurance services for third party brands through its Partnerships division. In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.

In addition to insurance services, Direct Line Group continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and Tracker stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.

U K Insurance is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.