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Taking your touring caravan abroad in Europe

If you enjoy taking your caravan abroad don't forget to ensure that you meet all of the legal requirements in the countries you're going to or you may invalidate your insurance.

Driving abroad can be a daunting prospect for many, even without towing a caravan, and knowing the rules of the road when towing your touring caravan abroad is essential. Here, our touring caravan insurance experts, who all love to journey further afield, take a look at the requirements in different countries of Europe and what you’ll need to make sure you’re legal and covered.

Towing in Europe

As with driving in any country, towing your touring caravan abroad without following the legal requirements can invalidate both your motor and you caravan insurance, leaving you with no protection should an incident occur. 

Double checking the law in each and every one of the countries you plan to drive in is essential.  This includes the equipment and documents that you may need to carry right through to speed limits and towing regulations.

Your Legal Obligations – Check Your Speed

Many of the rules of the road abroad are similar, if not the same, as those for driving in the UK. It is worth noting that the speed limits vary from country to country, as well as by road type, so while in Belgium your speed limit on a motorway is 74mph/120kph, in the majority of countries, including some of those bordering Belgium, the speed limit is reduced to 50mph/80kph on motorways.

In France, you should also note that the speed limit will vary greatly depending on your towing weight – on motorways changing from 81mph/130kph for under 3.5t to 56mph/90kph for over 3.5t. Plus you will also need to be aware of reduced speed limits in force in adverse weather conditions.

Your Legal Obligations – Documentation When Taking Your Touring Caravan Abroad

When taking your touring caravan abroad, as when you’re driving in the UK, you should carry your UK driving licence with you at all times. In Europe there is no need to carry an International Driving Permit but this is needed for non EU countries if you are travelling further afield. When planning to travel abroad, especially outside of Europe, you’ll also need to check that your insurance, including your touring caravan insurance, will still cover you, and you may need to speak to your insurer about an extension to your policy.

When it comes to insurance, third party cover is compulsory across Europe and for many countries it is also recommended that you have a green card – the proof that your insurance covers the minimum requirements for the country in which you are driving. We would however recommend being fully insured with both motor and touring caravan insurance wherever you are driving, giving you the peace of mind that if something does happen, many more eventualities are covered.

Your Touring Caravan Abroad – Equipment Needed in Europe

The equipment you’ll need to carry with you in the different countries of Europe varies greatly.

Here is a list of some of the main countries our touring caravan insurance customers visit, and the equipment needed there*:

Austria

Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit, reflective jacket, spare bulbs, nationality sticker, and motorway tax sticker called a vignette (available at some petrol stations, post offices or in ÖAMTC (Österreichische Automobil Motorrad und Touring Club) offices). In winter you will also need winter tyres marked with M&S as well.

Caravan quirks – Caravans should not be parked within 500 metres of a lake.

Belgium

Equipment needed – Warning triangle, reflective jacket, nationality sticker. First aid kit and spare bulbs are recommended.

Croatia

Equipment needed – Two warning triangles, reflective jacket, first aid kit, spare bulbs and nationality sticker. In winter you will also need to carry a shovel and have winter tyres marked with M&S as well.

Denmark

Equipment needed – Warning triangle and nationality sticker. Reflective jacket, first aid kit and spare bulbs are recommended.

Caravan quirks – You should also check the suitability of your towing mirrors.

France

Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit, reflective jacket and breathalyzer test (law due to be implemented 1 March 2013), nationality sticker. Spare bulbs are also recommended and snow tyres marked M&S are required on snow covered roads.

Caravan quirks – The French police are on the lookout for overloading.

Germany

Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit and nationality sticker. Spare bulbs are recommended.

Greece

Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and nationality sticker. Spare bulbs are recommended.

Italy

Equipment needed – Warning triangle, reflective jacket, spare bulbs and nationality sticker. A fire extinguisher and first aid kit are recommended. Snow tyres or chains may be required in winter in some provinces. Any overhanging loads, such as bike racks, need to have red and white marker boards attached.

Ireland

Equipment needed – Warning triangle and first aid kit are recommended.

Netherlands

Equipment needed – Nationality sticker. If your hazard lights aren’t working you should carry a warning triangle. A fire extinguisher, first aid kit, reflective jacket and spare bulbs are also recommended.

Portugal

Equipment needed – Reflective vest and nationality sticker. A warning triangle, fire extinguisher and spare bulbs are also recommended.

Caravan quirks – All towing vehicles should display a yellow triangle with blue background sign and your caravan contents should be available as a list for the police to inspect if requested.

Spain

Equipment needed – Two warning triangles, spare tyre, reflective jacket, spare bulbs and nationality sticker. If you wear glasses, you should also carry a spare set. Any overhanging loads, such as bike racks, need to have red and white marker boards attached.

Caravan quirks – Two external mirrors are required on your towing vehicle.

Switzerland

Equipment needed – Warning triangle and nationality sticker and motorway tax sticker called a vignette (available at some petrol stations, post offices or in customs offices. A fire extinguisher, first aid kit and spare bulbs are also recommended.

Sticking To The Rules - Enjoying Your Holiday

Wherever you are travelling to, within Europe or further afield, knowing the rules of the road is essential, not just for your touring caravan insurance but to protect your holiday, offering you and your family a relaxing journey along the road.

*Correct at time of writing.

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2 comments

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  • DougS
    05 August 2013 20:24 DougS
    I believe if you have an old green driving licence (no photo) you DO need an IDP for Europe? Best to check, cos MBH (Much Better Half) would not change her licence to photocard and went for IDP.
  • iansoady
    26 April 2013 16:37 iansoady
    Although nationality stickers are specified, vehicles with the EU standard number plates (with the country identifier in a blue band at the end) don't require a separate GB sticker.