Car journeys

It may be advantageous to purchase a car in a foreign country. However, there are some important rules to keep in mind when importing a car. You must also be careful when renting a car in a foreign country. It is best to avoid any problems with the rental company.

If you had an accident with your car, you can fill out a damage form that is used in every European country. Insurance companies will then handle the damage from there. On this page, you can read more about buying and renting cars in a foreign country and about car damage.

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Good to know

 I want to rent a car in a foreign country. What should I look out for?


Be careful when renting a car in a foreign country. It is not uncommon for rental companies to charge additional expenses. If you have any problems, we can assist you with advice and support.

It is very well possible to rent a car in advance via the internet. We would advise you to pay attention to the following:

  • The additional cost for a second driver;
  • The cost of filling the gas tank when returning the car;
  • The cost of insurance;
  • The maximum number of kilometres;
  • The driver’s minimum age;
  • The amount of the deposit for the car;
  • The amount of the compulsory excess.

Damage to or theft of a rental car do not fall under the coverage of continuous travel insurance. You are usually offered several insurance options when renting a car. Carefully examine what each insurance offers and decide what you need. Make sure not to take out the same insurance twice.

If you are renting via a mediator, you must hand the voucher to the rental company. This voucher lists the insurance you took out. Make sure not to take out the same insurance again.

Inspect the rental car for damage in advance and together with a representative of the rental company. Write down any damage or take pictures. This prevents any disputes later. Some rental companies charge additional costs when picking up the car, e.g. VAT, a booking fee or documentation costs. Check whether these costs are justifiable.

If your rental car breaks down during the rental period, contact the rental company. They are required to come up with a solution. Do not have the car fixed yourself without conferring with the rental company.

Tips for renting a car in a foreign country:

  • Are you required to return the car with a full tank of gas? If so, fill the car up shortly before returning it and save the receipt;
  • If the rental car got damaged, have the rental company write down the damage. This prevents them from holding you responsible for other damages as well later on;
  • Return the car during the rental company’s opening hours. Go over everything carefully with a representative from the rental company. Always check your final bill. Was part of the deposit not returned and is that justifiable?
  • If you return the car outside the rental company’s opening hours, be sure to take pictures of the state you left the car in.

If it turns out that too much money was charged to your credit card after the rental period, immediately contact your credit card company and the rental company. You can file a complaint with us if you cannot resolve the issue directly with the rental company. We will act as mediators between you and the rental company, free of charge.


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I want to rent a car. What insurance should I take?

Damage to a rental car or theft is often NOT covered by a continuous travel insurance. Motor vehicles are excluded from cover.

You will be offered quite a lot of insurance when renting a car. Check carefully what you do and do not need. Be careful that you do not pay the same insurance twice.

Motor liability insurance (WAM)

In all EU Member States, motor liability insurance (WAM) is mandatory. This insurance covers damage you cause as a driver. Make sure that you have taken out this insurance and that the maximum cover is sufficient.

Additional comprehensive insurance (all-risk)

This insurance is not mandatory. It is an additional insurance on top of the standard cover for the rental car. This insurance covers damage to the rental car. The insurance does not cover everything, for instance it does not cover damage to:

  • the roof
  • the underside of the car
  • windscreens and tyres
  • the car caused by driving on unpaved roads

Look carefully at what damage is not covered because any damage will be at your own expense. You can often take out additional insurance for this damage.

The rental company often sells this insurance under the name Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). There is also a Super CDW (SCDW): this is an all-risk insurance that covers almost all costs.

Theft insurance

This is not included in the comprehensive insurance, but it is wise to take out this insurance. Look carefully at the excess in the case of theft.

This insurance has the following names:

  • Theft Protection (TP) or Theft Waiver (THW)
  • Loss Damage Waiver (LDW): CDW, plus cover for theft and vandalism

Accident insurance or driver and passenger insurance

This insurance pays out in the case of injury or death of passengers in an accident. This insurance is important if you are liable as a driver for the incident. This insurance is usually called Personal Accident Insurance (PAI).


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I live across the border and want to purchase a car in the Netherlands. What should I look out for?

Pay attention to the following if you want to purchase a car in the Netherlands from a foreign location:

  • Read the contract carefully;
  • Verify whether all documentation is in order;
  • Check whether you have to pay any taxes;
  • Only sign the contract when you fully understand its contents;
  • Check the warranty conditions;
  • The name of the entrepreneur must be listed on the registration certificate;
  • You do not have a cooling-off period if you sign the purchase contract on site, unless the contract states that you do;
  • You have a 14-day cooling-off period if you purchase the car from a distance, e.g. via the internet.

When making the sale, the seller will give you:

  • The registration certificate in credit card format;
  • The registration code;
  • Part II of the registration certificate;
  • A purchase contract;
  • A receipt.

When buying a new car, you pay taxes in the country where you live. When you purchase a second-hand car, you pay taxes in the Netherlands, namely 21% VAT. A car is new when it:

  • Was first used no more than 6 months ago, or;
  • If it has driven no more than 6,000 kilometres.

Have the car inspected before buying it and insure the car immediately after purchase. If the car does not have a Dutch license plate, you must request a temporary license plate.


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I want to import a foreign car. What are my duties?

You have to take certain regulations into account when importing a car. Have the car inspected by the RDW (Dutch Vehicle and Driver Licensing Authority) and file a declaration for BPM (Tax on passenger cars and motorcycles) with the Tax Authority. Once this is done, you will automatically be sent the registration certificate within 4 days. Next, you must do the following:

  • Have a license plate made;
  • Pay vehicle tax;
  • Take out civil liability insurance (WA).

If you have any problems with the RDW or the Tax Authority, you can file a complaint with the National ombudsman.


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I have suffered damage after getting in an accident abroad. What now?

After getting in an accident with your car or motorcycle, always fill out the European Damage Form. The insurance company will use this form to process the damage. Take pictures and write down important information, e.g. the other party’s license plate number. Do the following immediately after the accident:

  • Fill out the European Damage Form together with the other party;
  • Both of you must sign the form;
  • Write down the contact information of any witnesses;
  • Take pictures of the accident;
  • Call the police. The emergency number 112 is valid throughout Europe;
  • If the police draw up an official report, write down the report number;
  • In some countries, a police report is mandatory. Ask us for more information, if needed.

If you have all-risk insurance, your insurance company will take care of everything. If you have civil liability insurance, you must take care of the damage yourself and hold the other party responsible. If you have car insurance legal expenses insurance, the insurance company will also take care of everything.

You can take care of the damage in the Netherlands together with the Dutch claims representative of the foreign insurance company. This party is found with the Nederlands Bureau Motorrijtuigverzekeraars (Dutch Agency of Motor Vehicle Insurance Providers). This agency can also help you if you do not know what the other party’s insurance company is.


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I want to drive to another EU country. What traffic rules do apply?

When you drive a car in another country, you are supposed to know the driving rules that apply and respect them. The European Commission has created an interactive map with key traffic rules that apply in all EU member states. Have a look at this map before going abroad or download the app.


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My car is repaired abroad but I am not satisfied with the result. What can I do?

Sometimes repairs are not carried out properly. If you do have a complaint about a car repair, then it is important to follow all these steps:

  • Contact the foreign garage to give them a chance to solve the problem;
  • Collect evidence. Keep the invoice, take pictures of the repair and replaced car parts;
  • Ask you own garage / mechanic for a written statement about the repair;
  • Send your complaint– in writing – as soon as possible to the garage which carried out the repair;
  • Emphasise on the best solution for you.

Is it not possible to reach an amicable solution with the garage? Please submit a complaint with us.


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