March 18, 2022
With the war in Ukraine and rising cost of living, we are seeing more people opt to reduce the cost of travel for their summer holidays by driving to their destination, whether in the UK or mainland Europe.
To help you, and them, we’ve put together this article with all the essential info on what they’ll need to travel in their company car and how you, as fleet manager, can assist.
Firstly, you need to decide as a business whether drivers will be able to take their vehicles abroad and if so what restrictions they may need to agree to. This is something you will usually decide as part of your fleet management policy when first implementing it so for the rest of this article we have assumed your drivers can take their vehicles abroad.
Make Sure their Vehicle is Fully Functional
Before drivers set off, they should make sure their car is in a safe, roadworthy condition. The basic checks include making sure there are no active warning lights, there is no obvious damage or excessive wear that requires repairs, and it will not be due for a service or MOT whilst travelling.
Your employee should be regularly checking their vehicle for any damage or excessive wear and reporting anything of note to their fleet manager but we advise asking them to do an additional check about two or three weeks before travelling to make sure there is nothing that could cause them a problem on their trip.
Check Your Insurance
If your driver is planning on travelling abroad with their company car then you may need to inform your insurance provider depending on your fleet policy. You might also need to confirm with them the level of cover they will provide to vehicles abroad, as some insurers will give a lower level of cover when travelling.
If they do provide a lower level of cover then you should communicate this to your drivers so that they are all aware and you can arrange additional cover if needed.
Make Sure They Have the Right Documents
It’s not only insurance that your drivers will need to take with them, there are a number of other documents they may also require.
The most important will be:
- Their passport
- Their driving licence
- Any additional drivers’ licences
- The breakdown cover details
- Any stickers / permits required
- A VE103
As the UK is no longer a part of the EU all drivers will be required to have a GB sticker on the rear of their vehicle, unless they have GB on their licence plates, when taking it abroad. Additionally in parts of France drivers will need a Crit’Air sticker in order to legally drive there.
It will be up to your employee to make sure they have the correct documents though you might want to provide support and advice to them on what they will need to carry in various countries.
If the vehicle is a lease car, then they will need to request a VE103 from the lease funder. This is an essential document, and a physical copy is needed in the vehicle when taking it abroad. Because of this most funders advise you to get in touch with them at least three weeks prior to travel to ensure the driver has it in time. With the expected demand increase we recommend that where possible drivers give one month’s notice.
In order to obtain a VE103 most funders will require:
- The dates of travel
- The intended countries of travel
- The driver’s full name as appears on their licence
- The driver’s full home address as appears on their licence
- Any additional driver’s full name and home address as appear on their licences
- The vehicle make and model
- The vehicle registration
- The current vehicle mileage
Please note there may be a fee for a VE103 and this may be charged to the business bank details on file for the regular monthly payments. It will be up to your company to create and advise your employees of your policy on who pays such charges.
A VE103 will be valid for 12 months provided none of the vehicle or driver details change during that time.
Give Them Contact Numbers
Whether your driver is travelling or not they should be made aware of the contact numbers for their:
- Fleet management team
- Maintenance and breakdown provider(s)
- Insurance provider
So that if drivers ever need them they are close to hand. When they are travelling abroad there may be additional phone number to provide them with, for example if they need to contact the local provider of breakdown cover in that country rather than the regular number.
Provide Safety Equipment
There is no legal requirement for drivers to carry safety equipment when driving in the UK, though we do recommend that you provide your drivers with a safety pack whilst they’re in a company vehicle, however there are legal requirements in some countries.
We’ve put together the below table to help show where it is a legal requirement (ticked) and recommended (R) that drivers travel with this equipment
We would advise letting your employees know about these legal requirements, and where possible helping them source appropriate equipment.
If your employee is driving a company car, then we recommend that they do monthly checks on the vehicle condition which are reported back to your fleet management team. But if they are travelling in the car then we’d advise doing additional checks before they set off.
We’ve got a detailed breakdown of the 10 most important checks they should do here if you want to direct your drivers to a detailed breakdown.
They should visually inspect the vehicle, making sure that it is in good working condition and that all lights are working, they have any additional equipment they may need to take when travelling abroad (e.g. breathalyser for France), and know what to do and who to contact in the event of an accident.
Offer Driver Support for International Driving
We all know that driving in a foreign country can be daunting, especially when the UK is one of only a few countries with right hand drive. So, with the challenges of driving on the other side of the road, being on the kerb-side rather than the inside of the lane, and distances and speed limits being shown in kilometres rather than miles, you might want to consider offering them additional training or information on how to handle their vehicle abroad. This will not only help protect your asset (the vehicle) and keep your employee and their family safe but will also help them feel more confident as a driver.