Preparing to go: What to take with you
When you’re preparing to drive abroad, there are a few things you’ll need to check and pack before you go.
It's essential you make sure you pack your driving licence, passport, motor insurance certificate, travel insurance documents, and vehicle registration document (V5C), and have them with you at all times.
Here is a handy checklist to consider while preparing for your trip to France:
Check your car insurance policy
Your policy should automatically provide the minimum cover required by law for the country you are travelling through within most of Europe.
However, some policies as standard will cover you in Europe for the same level of cover as you receive in the UK e.g. Comprehensive, so it is always vital to check with your provider before you go.
If you only have minimum cover in Europe, then you are often able to extend your current policy for a fee, or sometimes for free, to give you that same level of UK coverage which is known as ‘Extended Foreign Use’.
Always check your policy documents which should also contain a list of countries you are permitted to drive in and if you have further queries then contact your insurer.
It’s compulsory to have a reflective jacket stored in the passenger compartment of your vehicle.
This should be put on before leaving your vehicle if you break down, or if an emergency situation occurs.
You’re required to carry a warning triangle by French law.
In the event of a breakdown or incident, this is an easy way to warn approaching traffic.
A GB sticker
If you don’t display a GB sticker on your car (or have a GB Euro number plate), you run the risk of being stopped and issued with a fine.
Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
When travelling in France, the GHIC entitles you to state-provided healthcare, occasionally free of charge, or at least at a reduced fee.
It shouldn’t be treated as an alternative to travel insurance, but it's worth taking to make life easier in the event of the unexpected.
It’s a requirement to carry a certified (NF) unused breathalyser kit while driving in France.
On-the-spot fines for not carrying a breathalyser have been scrapped, but it’s better to carry one to stay on the right side of the law.
Headlamp beam converter kit
You need to adjust your headlamps to avoid dazzling other drivers.
Headlamp converter kits can make this a simple process, but if you’re in any doubt about what is required, it’s worth speaking to your car dealer, as they should be able to make the necessary changes for you.
Many motorists wouldn’t dream of setting off on a long journey without their sat nav. They can certainly prove extremely useful in helping you get from A to B, especially when you’re not exactly sure where B is!
Before taking your sat nav to France, consider the following:
- Make sure that it has the appropriate information relating to roads across the channel
If you’re unsure, it’s worth consulting the manual or speaking to the manufacturer to find out if this information can be added.
- French law prohibits speed camera detection systems
This means anyone using a sat nav with this feature could, in theory, be breaking the law and liable for a fine up to €1,500. Before taking to the road, disable it - the manufacturer should be able to advise if there's a software update to do this, or if it's a built-in feature, the vehicle manufacturer should be your first point of contact.
France Driving - Pocket Guide
Insurance from Swinton and Safeguard
- Car Hire Excess Insurance - Protect your finances from costly excess charges on insurance for rental cars
- Car Insurance - A flexible range of policies for a wide range of cars and drivers
- Travel Insurance - Quick and easy cover for a range of travel needs
- Breakdown Cover - Flexible cover to help get you back on the road
- Touring Caravan Insurance - European cover included as standard
- Motorhome Insurance - European cover included as standard
Be sure to check out our other driving abroad guides: