Can You Take A Lease Car Abroad?
Whether it’s Hull to Rotterdam, Dover to Calais or Harwich to Esbjerg, travelling to your holiday destination in the comfort of your car brings joy to many Brits. But can you still create the same memories in a lease car?
You can in fact take a car which you have leased abroad, provided that you have the correct documents, approval from your leasing provider and insurance company before going, as well as some essential onboard items which ensure your vehicle meets European requirements.
How do I get a VE103 form?
Before you throw the family’s luggage in the back of a car you’ve leased and head for the port, you’ll need to request a VE103 ‘Vehicle on Hire’ form from your provider. On top of this, they’ll most likely give you a letter of authorisation from the funder, stating that you can take the vehicle abroad.
Remember: It takes time to process a request for a VE103 form, so we advise that you submit one at least 14 days before you plan to travel.
Below is some information your provider may ask you for in a request.
- Full name of the driver and any additional drivers
- Contact details
- UK address as shown on driving licence
- Outbound and inbound travel dates
- Which country you’re visiting
A VE103 form will be valid for 12 months from the date you receive it, so you won’t need to submit a separate request if you decide you want to take the car abroad again in this period.
With that being said, you should check with your provider in your request whether there’s a rule on how long you can take its car out of the country for. This is especially true if you plan to stay outside of the UK for longer than two months.
Do I need breakdown cover?
Although it’s not essential for you to have breakdown cover for a lease vehicle abroad, it will save you a lot of money if you do come unstuck.
It may be that you don’t need to pay for separate breakdown cover if your comprehensive insurance policy includes it. Likewise, some leasing providers may also add in this cover.
However, should you need to buy it separately, both the RAC and AA offer roadside assistance for UK drivers in Europe. It costs around £6 per day, but if you’re a member then you may be able to get discounted rates too.
Can I take my business lease car abroad?
If you have leased a car for business use then you may be able to take it with you if your job requires overseas work.
For company car drivers, it’s important to check what the business’ policy is when it comes to taking vehicles out of the UK. Because the finance will be under the name of the company director, the leasing provider will only deal with them when it comes to discussions for getting permission to drive the vehicle abroad.
The same documentation for personal car leases (full driving licence, VE103 form, any additional paperwork from the provider and potentially a green card from your insurer) will be required. Plus the compulsory kit mentioned above.
Remember: Ask your company director about European breakdown cover and whether it’s included with the original business lease agreement.
How to drive in Europe
Besides the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, the rest of Europe drives on the right-hand side of the road. This is perhaps the biggest difference that you will need to familiarise yourself with if you decide to take your lease car away with you.
However, there are other laws specific to each country which relate to speed, use of headlights, parking permissions and even the cleanliness of your vehicle!
So, if it’s your first time driving anywhere other than the UK, or if it’s been some time since you last drove in Europe, how can you quickly get to grips with it? Here are our top tips for keeping you, your passengers, and your lease car safe when travelling abroad.
8 tips to driving on the right side of the road
- On narrow lanes, use lay-bys on the right when you see oncoming vehicles to let them pass safely.
- Remember that the overtaking lane is on the left-hand side when driving on motorways and dual carriageways.
- Take care when overtaking, especially if your lease car is right-hand drive and you will need to be extra vigilant with your mirror and blindspot checks.
- When you come to a roundabout, give way to the left, remembering to drive anti-clockwise around them.
- Use road signs as an indication to show that you’re on the right side of the road (they should be facing you).
- Observe the two-second rule for gauging a safe distance from the car in front (four seconds in wet conditions and as much as 10 or more seconds for icy weather).
- If you leave the car for a period of time after parking or fuelling up, remember to take care to return to the right side of the road.
- If it makes you feel more relaxed and you can, carry a passenger who is used to driving on the right-hand side of the road who can advise you while you drive along.
What does the law say?
Besides from the driving etiquette listed above, you’ll need to be mindful of the individual laws of the country you’re visiting with your new motor.
You can get a full list online of what each country in Europe’s rules are. Be sure to read these before travelling to ensure you don’t commit any offence you were otherwise unaware of.
The EU introduced a system where, following some offences, details of drivers would be shared across borders, but only when:
- The offender isn’t penalised while still in the country.
- One of the following offences has been committed:
- Drink/drug driving
- Phone use
- Forbidden lane/redlight
- Crash helmet/seatbelt
How civil offences are handled
Contrary to popular belief, UK drivers aren’t immune from fines for offences such as illegal parking, mobile phone use behind the wheel or driving in restricted traffic zones.
So, if you do decide to take a car you’ve leased abroad, treat a motoring fine as you would back home. That is, pay it off at the earliest opportunity, otherwise you will receive another penalty which will be way more expensive. If push comes to shove, authorities in Europe may call on a third-party debt collecting agency to recover the fine.
It’s not nice to have to deal with these types of issues when you’re trying to relax on your holiday, and your return journey may prove even more difficult if you do ignore it. This is because all information relating to any driving offence you may commit abroad will be shared with and available to see by those manning the border.
Considering a new car but aren’t sure what you want yet? Then try our budget search tool to find the right set of wheels, without having to go over your spending limit. Alternatively, you can check out our best value special offers to see the hottest prices on vehicles which are in stock.
For more answers to your questions about leasing, check out our guides page to get all the information you need.