Please warn your readers to be careful when organising insurance cover for driving abroad.

I write to inform your readers of a potential major problem when organising Breakdown cover when taking your own vehicle across to Europe. Earlier this year, I planned a 5-week trip travelling around four European countries with my own car, and organised relevant cover with a well-known UK Company for the period in question. I have an annual policy with the same company for domestic cover and the premium is collected by direct debit mandate each year. The documents etc. for the trip were received in the post and I was informed that the premium of £84 would be collected nearer the time of departure.

Well, we had a lovely trip and duly arrived back home. Imagine my shock to find amongst the pile of post a letter from the breakdown company. It had attempted to collect the £84 from my bank about 10 days into my trip, and the bank had refused the payment, since the direct debit in force only covered the annual policy and not this one-off European trip; and I had not been asked to complete any additional paperwork. The letter stipulated that unless payment was received within seven days, no cover would be provided in the event of breakdown, accident, illness or any other event and I would have to pay in full for any assistance.

Since I did not return home until 14 days after this letter was delivered, I had in fact effectively driven 3500 miles without cover. The moral of the story: ensure everything is in order before you travel and payments are processed correctly.

Asked on 3 October 2012 by DL, Ryton

Answered by Honest John
Fair point. Sensible warning. But actually good that your bank was doing its job properly by refusing an unauthorised direct debit.
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