I am travelling through Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and onwards to Greece by car. I cannot get any uk car insurance for these countries and therefore no Green Card to cross borders. Do you know how other people overcome this problem without altering their itinery. I have searched extensively but every one seems to have a different explanation
Thank you for any advice
Very interesting topic.
The one country that gives UK (and others - but mostly UK) drivers the most grief, is Serbia. If you've Green Card cover then you'll be OK, but they usually still hold you at the border for an hour or two, asking totally pointless questions. The Green Card cover purchase fee to cross into Serbia is a minimum of €110. Some people I have read on-line about have paid up to €150 for the same piece of paper. It simply covers you to cross from one side to another and is valid for a month. Were you to use it, or try to, the chances are you'd have endless problems making a claim.
Macedonia is fine. There is a small fee to pay at the border, or beyond - if they wave you through (buy it at a petrol station - and make sure you do. If the cops stop you and you haven't purchased it, there's a hefty O-T-S fine).
Albanian guards won't bother to look at your paperwork, nor as you enter Montenegro will you have any problem either. However, it's advisable to try and get some sort of insurance extension when entering non-EU territories by private car. The police won't have any sympathy for you whatsoever, if you have an accident (whether your fault or not) and your car isn't covered. If there are injuries to third parties and you've no cover, expect to be arrested and possibly remanded in custody - unless you can put up a substantial cash surety, that will almost certainly run into many 1,000's of €'s.
Don't think it's just the Eastern Europeans being big-headed in any way, either. Switzerland and Norway behave in much the same manner if your insurance isn't to their liking.
Thank you for your reply.
Does having a green card for Serbia mean that it covers Montenegro? We are not driving through Serbia.
Today I telephoned the embassies in London for Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia and they all said I can purchase insurance at the border for between 40 and 60 Euros. If I am unable to get cover from UK company then this is what I shall have to do. Can I assume the Embassies know what they are talking about?
Researching this has been confusing to say the least
No it certainly does not. A Serbia G.C. covers just Serbia.
Oh and the €40 - €60 sounds a bit steep. You might find that if you get to a good UK broker, they can split things up for you, for different territories. Should work out quite a bit cheaper.
If only...Uk insurance companies do not want to cover those countries full stop. If anyone knows of a co. I would be very interested. It is a ludicrous situation; on the one hand reading people's experiences of, for instance, Albania it is mostly positive and yet the official line from the UK Foriegn office is quite the opposite and so I assume that is partly why the uk companies are nervous.
Thanks for you input.
Certainly the embassies/consulates should know what they're on about.
Non-EU driving with UK car insurance has always been a sticky issue. Not only that, they seem to change the rules and regs on a very regular basis. For instance, Bulgaria is scrapping it's Vignette (it might have already done it - I'm not sure), but instead it's bringing in a weekly/monthly/annual toll tax instead. Then you hear stories of people getting to the Croatia border and being told they need to pay a levy. I have no reason to doubt them, but I drove into Croatia (Non-EU, as you know) with my UK registered car and the guard simply asked me where I was going - and that was it.
Serbia was awful (just the border - after that it was wonderful). I had to pay a fortune to cross and there are many travel forum websites that have stories of the Serrbia border guards giving people endless grief and charging them whatever they feel for a piece of paper, before allowing them to proceed.
My drive into Montenegro was straightforward.. 'Where are you heading, can I see your licence and vehicle registration document? Thank you - goodbye.' Yet I've heard of people being charged various entry fees. That doesn't mean I was necessarily covered - I probably wasn't. But I drove on, forward to Croatia and into Bosnia too. At the Bosnia border (I crossed at the little hut on the hill about 15 minutes outside Dubrovnik) I didn't even have my passport stamped - nor checked. The guy just looked out and waved us across. Then you'll hear of a person that was held up for hours and charged a 2nd mortgage.
I guess it's just a matter of pot luck generally.
I was told that many German insurance companies will listen to a UK car owner who wants to get their vehicle insured for non-EU driving. I've never tried it, or looked into the rumours, so can't help you with that one.
I think that all of you are incorrect and taking big chances. Please read my opinion and please tell me whether I am right or wrong about this:
I use Montenegro as an example.
My understanding is that the border patrol at a country which belongs to the extended Green Card system such as Montenegro has the duty upon you entering their country to check that your car insurance extends into Montenegro, and if so, unless your insurance has issued you with a green card document, then the border guard will sell you a Green Card certificate and incorrectly call it "insurance".
Green card is simply an agreement between nations that if you should have an accident and be covered by your native country's motor insurance then any difference in the regulations and laws in lawsuits between the insurance companies from the two different countries will not lead to surprises for you, and they will be ironed out. It does in no way replace insurance. I have rang and rang insurance underwriters and NOBODY will insure you for Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia. I was planning to go from Kotor to Dupnitza in Bulgaria as the Albanians have a new highway (they finished it in 2009). As no UK underwriter will cover my car, they are NASTY and GREEDY because they say "if we don't have to cover according to statute then we don't" (for example Lloyds Bank car insurance does not even cover Croatia and Serbia both full signatories of the green card agreement!!! it is unbelievable), then you simply cannot and should not travel through these countries. It is too risky. If you crash you will end up in jail and potentially the injured party may claim against your home and you may lose EVERYTHING in a lawsuit.
In fact, I believe that this Green Card certificate that the border guard sells you is simply a certificate for your benefit and that of the driver in collision with you, that there exists valid insurance and that both insurance companies will recognize the laws and arrangement for accidents and compensation in Montenegro.
If the guard cannot verify that your insurance is valid in Montenegro then he should NOT let you into the country. I also know this because in the old days, when one entered Serbia and the guard asked for a green card, my friend in his BMW had produced a green card certificate that he had obtained from his UK insurer but the guard refused it because it did not have the word "SERBIA" written on it specifically - that is consistent with my belief that it is the duty of the border guard to verify whether or not your car insurance covers you for third party in his country.
As all insurance companies and underwriters in the UK do not insure us for: Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia, my only solutions seem to be:
(a) try to obtain local insurance in each of these countries although my car is registered in the UK and I am resident in the UK OR
(b) try to obtain insurance in Bulgaria or Romania or indeed Croatia as in (a) because such countries are bordering or very close to these countries and will therefore not refuse to insure their citizens driving in these border countries. Indeed, Serbia may be another possibility (but probably not insure for Bosnia) and indeed Greece may be a good candidate.
I do not think this is true of Italian, Austrian, German and other continental car insurance companies. WE MUST ALL PROTEST STRONGLY AND FORCE THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT AND THE EU TO FORCE THE UK UNDERWRITERS TO COVER THESE COUNTRIES. We do not mind paying but there is no mechanism as NOBODY in the UK will sell you insurance, and the aforementioned of getting insurance for a UK registered and domiciled car from in a foreign country such as Germany is probably impossible. We would need to re-register the cars. It is scandalous.
Hi to all who have posted previously.
In the end we got insurance/green card for all countries visited from NFU (UK) and didn't, fortunately, have an accident. Therefore we never got to test the efficacy of the insurance/green card. Of course that was in 2010 and we are now in 2014 and there maybe changes.
Thanks for the posts