i

Coronavirus update Last updated 9th July 16:00

Show more

In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, most of our team are now working from home and are taking calls. However, waiting times are longer than normal and the quality of the call may not be as clear as if we were talking to you from our call centre. We're committed to supporting you in the best way we can and will be here throughout to keep you updated so make sure to check back regularly.

At this time, please help us to prioritise essential calls by using our online services.

  • If you're a car customer you can use MyAccount or the app to make policy changes or payments, including changing your payment date, checking your documents or to report or track a claim (MyAccount only).
  • If you're a home, bike or van customer, you can make policy changes or requests using our online forms.

If you do phone, we may only be able to deal with your query if:

  • Your policy is due to renew and you're concerned it's no longer suitable for you or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or
  • You are worried about making future payments, or
  • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health care worker who can't easily access our online services, or
  • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.

For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and help to use our online services.

Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

Hastings Direct.
i

Coronavirus update Last updated 9th July 16:00

Show more

  • We hope you and those close to you are keeping safe. Our teams are now working from home so we're very sorry if you notice the sound quality isn't as good as usual or you experience periods of silence. We're working hard on improving this so please bear with us.
  • Please help us prioritise urgent calls by only phoning us if you want to discuss your renewal or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or you're in financial difficulties and you're worried about payments, or you're an NHS or frontline healthcare worker.
  • For anything else, you can now manage your policy online. For latest advice and help to use our online tools, read our Coronavirus FAQs.

In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, most of our team are now working from home and are taking calls. However, waiting times are longer than normal and the quality of the call may not be as clear as if we were talking to you from our call centre. We're committed to supporting you in the best way we can and will be here throughout to keep you updated so make sure to check back regularly.

At this time, please help us to prioritise essential calls by using our online services.

  • If you're a car customer you can use MyAccount or the app to make policy changes or payments, including changing your payment date, checking your documents or to report or track a claim (MyAccount only).
  • If you're a home, bike or van customer, you can make policy changes or requests using our online forms.

If you do phone, we may only be able to deal with your query if:

  • Your policy is due to renew and you're concerned it's no longer suitable for you or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or
  • You are worried about making future payments, or
  • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health care worker who can't easily access our online services, or
  • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.

For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and help to use our online services.

Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

European breakdown cover

The Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomph.

Travelling by car's a great way to explore countries within Europe, whether you plan to soak up the sun in the south of France, indulge in Italy's exquisite cuisine, or unearth Spain's rich culture and heritage.

A potential change to the rules around driving in Europe could require all drivers to carry a Green Card (an international certificate of insurance). If you're not sure what they are or if you need one, take a look at our FAQs

Having your own wheels gives you the freedom to drive anywhere, anytime you like. But, each country has its own set of driving rules and regulations you'll need to familiarise yourself with before you set off.

If you have breakdown assistance as part of your Hastings policy, we're here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please call:
AXA +44 1737 815 876 (from Europe)
RAC +33 472 43 52 55 (from Europe)

Top European driving destinations

France

Speed limits: Speed limits are displayed in km/h and are typically:

  • 50km/h (31mph) in built-up areas
  • 90km/h (55mph) outside built-up areas
  • 110km/h (68mph) on dual carriageways and urban motorways
  • 130km/h (80mph) on standard motorways
  • The minimum motorway speed's 80km/h (49mph).

If it's raining or you've been driving for less than three years, lower speed limits apply:

  • 80km/h (49mph) outside built-up areas
  • 100km/h (62mph) on dual carriageways
  • 110km/h (68mph) on standard motorways.

Drink-drive limit: The blood alcohol limit's 0.05%. There are severe penalties for people found to be over the limit — you could be fined, lose your licence and face imprisonment. French police are legally authorised to conduct random breath tests.

Passengers: Children younger than 10 must use a car seat and they aren't allowed to travel in the passenger seat. The only two exceptions are when a car has no rear seat belts or the back seats have already been taken up by kids aged 10 or under.

Country-specific laws: All drivers are required to carry a warning triangle, reflective jacket, snow chains and a breathalyser in the car with them. Screen-based devices must be placed outside of the driver's view unless it's a sat nav. If a sat nav's used, you must turn off speed camera warnings.

Germany

Speed limits: Speed limits are displayed in km/h and are typically:

  • 50km/h (31mph) in built-up areas
  • 100km/h (62mph) outside built-up areas
  • Suggested maximum of 130km/h (80mph) on dual carriageways and motorways (autobahns in Germany)
  • If visibility's poor, a speed limit of 50hm/h (32mph) applies to all roads.

Drink-drive limit: Same as France, Germany's drink-drive limit's 0.05%. But the limits's zero for drivers under 21 and those who have passed their test within the past two years.

Passengers: A child restraint must be used for children under 12 or shorter than 1.5m (4'11"). If children ride in the front, the airbag must be deactivated.

Country-specific laws: Drivers are required to carry winter tyres and use them during the colder months. It's against the law to use standard summer tyres during winter. Some German cities have low emission zones and you'll need to purchase a vignette in order to drive through them — these can be ordered from an approved garage.

Spain

Speed limits: Speed limits are displayed in km/h and are typically:

  • 50km/h (31mph) in built-up areas
  • A maximum of 100km/h (62mph) outside built-up areas
  • 120km/h (74mph) limit on motorways along with a minimum speed of 60km/h (37mph).

Drink-drive limit: Spain's blood alcohol limit's 0.05%, dropping to 0.03% for drivers who got their licence within the past two years.

Passengers: Children under 12 years old and less than 1.35m (4'5") tall must travel in a car seat suited to their height and weight. They must sit in the back unless the seats are already occupied by other children.

Country-specific laws: You must carry a spare tyre or tyre repair kit, reflective jacket and warning triangle. It's against the law to sound your horn in urban areas unless it's an emergency. If you wear glasses to drive, the law states you must carry a spare pair.

Italy

Speed limits: Speed limits are displayed in km/h and are typically:

  • 50km/h (21mph) in built-up areas
  • 90km/h (55mph) outside built-up areas
  • 110km/h (68mph) on dual carriageways
  • 130km/h (80mph) on motorways.

If you've held your licence for three years or less, you're restricted to driving 90km/h (55mph) outside built-up areas and 100km/h (62mph) on motorways.

Drink-drive limit: The drink drive limit for Italy's 0.051%, dropping to zero for drivers who passed their test within the last three years.

Passengers: If you're driving your own car, any child restraints used must fall in line with UK legislation.

Country-specific laws: You must carry a reflective jacket and warning triangle at all times. Snow chains must be carried between 15th October and 15th April if you're traveling through the Val d'Aosta area, and between 1st November and 1st April in all other areas.

General tips for driving abroad

  • The majority of European countries require you to drive on the right-hand side of the road, which can take some getting used to. Drive with extra caution, particularly in the first few days of your trip.
  • If you're driving your own car, you must display a GB sign as failure to do so could result in an on-the-spot fine. You don't need a sticker if your car has a European licence plate that contains the GB symbol.
  • Check your insurance and breakdown policies include overseas travel and medical expenses. You might want to extend cover for a greater level of protection.
  • Put together a travel pack of essential documents, including: your driving licence and a photocopy, car registration form (V5), insurance and breakdown policy documents, and travel insurance documents and/or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
  • The driving style in other European countries may be completely different to the UK, so be prepared.
  • Europe's stringent drink-drive laws mean just one beer could push you over the limit. It's simply not worth the risk.
  • Some countries — including Russia and Albania — require you to carry a Green Card as proof of European insurance. The Motor Insurance Bureau website has more information on the Green Card system.
  • On long trips, you should stop for at least 15 minutes every couple of hours.
  • The emergency number in Europe is 112. Only call this number if you need urgent help from the fire brigade, police or a medical team.
  • If you're involved in an accident, contact your insurer as soon as possible and make sure you take lots of pictures at the scene.
  • To prevent a breakdown, give your car a good service before you set off. Take a look at our car service checklist for some handy tips.
  • If you plan on hiring a car instead of driving your own, you can save yourself a lot of money by booking in advance. Spend time comparing deals, paying attention to the small print and any hidden costs. For more information, take a look at the AA's comprehensive guide to hiring a car abroad.

All information is correct at time of publication. Hastings Direct cannot be held responsible for any misinformation displayed.

Car insurance

Our straightforward car insurance is Defaqto 5 Star rated, so you can be sure you're getting a great product. Plus you can choose from a great range of optional extras.

Join us...