Be aware that most insurance companies require you to inform them first before you go abroad. In particular you need to check that your insurance policy covers you for at least the minimum level of cover required by the laws of the country you are visiting.

Then ask your insurance company for what is called “a Green Card”. This is a document from your insurance company which confirms that your motor insurance is up to scratch as far as local motor insurance requirements are concerned.

The Green Card is internationally recognised and you should ensure that you pack it in case of emergencies, along with your insurance policy and the contact details for your insurers.
Rental contract. Woman automotive dealer offering key to buyer

You must also prepare your car thoroughly before you go abroad. Have it serviced, check the tyres and don’t forget to check the spare! If you are going to a country which drives on the right you will have to adjust your headlights to dip to the right. With some modern cars this may be just the flick of a switch so check your car’s manual. For other cars you will need a headlight deflector kit which you will be able to buy at any good car accessory shop. They usually only take a few minutes to fit. Oh yes, and whilst you’re at the accessory shop we suggest you buy some spare bulbs for your headlights, sidelights and break lights.

Some countries like Australia also require you by law to carry a first aid kit in the car. Even if they don’t, it’s still wise to carry one. As reported by one of the best Australian insurance companies called Youi, you may also be required to carry an emergency warning triangle. Again you can buy these at your local accessory shop or even at the ferry terminal before you leave. Incidentally, you should be aware that most ferry companies do not allow separate fuel cans to be carried aboard their ships.


If you do have an accident whilst driving abroad, the actions you need to take should not be too different to what you have to do in Australia. You should stay calm, never  admit fault, check for injuries and contact the emergency services should injuries have incurred. If a police officer comes, make sure you note  his number. Whilst doing that, you also need to get the details for the other drivers including their insurance. Note their registration plates and their vehicle details as well as their name and address.

If you have any witnesses then you should get their details as well.

Sometimes, you’ll be asked to sign a document in a foreign language that you don’t understand. If this happens, write on it in large letters: “I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS DOCUMENT” and then sign it. If you’re on holiday you are likely to have a camera with you. If so, take photos of the accident . If the damage to your Motor is minimal and you car is still safe to drive then you can wait until you get back to Australia before contacting your insurer. However, if the damage is serious, then call your insurer’s emergency claims number straight away.