By Claire West

Company car drivers heading for sunnier climes during the holiday season need to make sure they have full insurance cover, according to research conducted by Masterlease.

Driving on the continent could cost millions of drivers more than they had bargained for due to confusion about where the responsibility lies for their breakdown and foreign insurance cover.

Company vehicles tend to come with breakdown cover, but only for UK roads, additional cover is required before heading to the ferry port, says Masterlease which advises drivers to check with their fleet managers, breakdown providers and insurance companies.

The number of British drivers taking their car to Europe on holiday has doubled in the last 10 years to approximately 3.5 million and around a quarter of drivers who take their car abroad could experience a breakdown. A significant number of these are company car drivers.

Many drivers fail to take out European breakdown cover for their company car drivers, because they are unaware of the fact that it could cost between £600 and £1,000 to have one vehicle repatriated. Equally, insurance has to be checked to make sure they are legal to drive on European roads.

Anthony Dowdall, head of operations at Masterlease, said: "Even if the business feels it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure they have the right cover, a company car is the company’s property... fleet managers need to get this message across before people go away for the summer or risk starting the autumn with hefty bills to pay".

"Roadside assistance on the continent can cost over €100 and bringing home a stranded vehicle can cost much more. As well as ensuring drivers have adequate insurance and breakdown cover, businesses should have a policy in place for driving overseas and make sure drivers have information about what to do if they break down or have an accident abroad".

Those drivers who do not have any roadside assistance entitlement could face average costs of around €100 (approx £67) in Germany, while in neighbouring Austria the call out figure is higher at €110 (approx £74). Breaking down in France could also set them back around £60.

Masterlease advised drivers to check the rules in the country they are driving in, and ensure that their warranty cover is valid in their country of destination. Firms should ensure that roadside cover has been extended to include Europe.


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