Six Million Visits Overseas By Car

08 July 2015

British motorists made almost six million(1) overseas trips by car last year, according to new analysis by Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance.

The supermarket bank, which provides comprehensive cover in Europe(2), is urging motorists to brush up on the local motoring laws of any countries they are visiting if they plan to drive, as these can differ significantly from UK road regulations.

France was by far the most popular destination for those travelling by car last year with 3.4 million visits from UK residents.  The Republic of Ireland and Belgium complete the top three.

Table one: Number of visits to each country from the UK by private vehicle

driving abroad

Tom Thomson, of Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance said: “Driving abroad is an entirely different experience to driving in the UK in terms of both road regulations and road etiquette. Before leaving the country, it’s vital that drivers brush up on local motoring knowledge and check with their insurer that they are covered overseas.”

In France, it is compulsory to carry a warning triangle and a breathalyser in the car at all times. In many European countries, a reflective jacket, first aid kit and headlamp converters for driving at night are now required and in Spain, motorists who wear glasses are even advised to carry a spare pair with them if it is noted on their licence.

Those planning to hire a car should also be aware that driving licence paper counterparts have now been replaced with a code that can be generated by the DVLA website, at

Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance tips for driving overseas

  1. Local laws: Find out exactly what equipment you will need to carry with you in order to comply with local motoring laws. This might include anything from a first aid kit to a warning triangle and will differ from country to country.
  2. Documentation: Check what documentation you will need – some countries such as Turkey and Morocco for example, require you to carry a Green Card / International Motor Insurance Certificate. It’s always advisable to carry basic licence and insurance documents plus the V5 registration document in your vehicle with you.
  3. Car hire: Anyone planning to hire a car will need a DVLA-generated code.
  4. Maintenance: 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.
  5. Insurance: Call your car insurer before you leave to check whether you have comprehensive cover abroad and if required, upgrade your policy to include this.
  6. Route: Plan your route in advance and carry a map and/or satnav.
  7. Take your time: Set a realistic timescale and take plenty of breaks. Driving on busy and unfamiliar roads abroad can be stressful so consider planning your route to avoid the centre of major cities if this is a concern.
  8. Footwear: Avoid driving in flip-flops or open-backed sandals. Not only is this dangerous but the police have been known to fine people for this, especially in holiday areas.

Sainsbury’s Bank offers free Breakdown Service for the first year in the UK when you purchase Sainsbury’s Car Insurance or Sainsbury’s Premier Cover Car Insurance, offer valid until 28th September 2015. Sainsbury’s Premier Cover Car Insurance offers free European comprehensive cover extension for up to 90 days a year(2). It also offers combined UK & EU breakdown cover, available as an optional extra. Sainsbury’s Premier Cover car insurance has been awarded a 5-Star Rating by Defaqto, the independent financial research company, giving customers reassurance about the cover it provides.

For further information on Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance, call 0800 092 9334, visit or pick up a leaflet in store.


For further information, please contact:

Emma Murphy / Timi Merriman-Johnson

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

020 7282 1072 / 2989

Jennifer Johnston-Watt

Sainsbury’s Bank

0131 286 0779

This press release is information for journalists only and is not intended to be a promotion to be acted upon by consumers.

Rates and information correct at date of issue.

Notes to editors:

  1. According to the ONS Travel Trends survey 2014
  2. Customers must contact us to arrange this cover abroad, at which point their policy will automatically be extended to include any member country of the European Union, Switzerland, Croatia and Norway free of charge and gives them the same level of cover as they have in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands for the agreed period. Their 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 the customer’s 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.
  3. Sainsbury’s Bank:

To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Bank online media centre at

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.

Sainsbury’s Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury’s Bank is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Direct Line Insurance 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 Insurance  Group PLC. Direct Line Insurance Group plc (Direct Line Group) is headquartered in Bromley.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.