Taking your lease car on holiday abroad

 Published 9th June 2023
Driver Guides 

Leasing your car takes a lot of the hassle out of driving. Depreciation is not an issue, you can end up driving something much newer and nicer than if you were a cash buyer, and if you're sensible and opt for a maintained contract there are no surprise servicing costs to worry about. You may not be the “owner”, but essentially the car is yours to use however you like, including taking it abroad for a holiday.

But before you start packing your bags for the summer there's a few things to bear in mind.

Nipping on the train or ferry and heading off to Europe for a couple of weeks is a very popular way to holiday. Taking your own car makes it simple and gives you the freedom to explore whichever location you've chosen for this year's sun. Just as long as you've got the right documents.

Without the correct documentation, you could face long delays at the border or worse, risk having your vehicle impounded.

The VE103 - the document you need

The single most important document you'll need if you lease your car is a VE103 vehicle on hire certificate. The VE103 must be produced on demand to prove that the driver has permission from the vehicle owner to be in possession of the vehicle. It is the only legal alternative to the vehicle log book (V5C) which you won't have as a lease customer.

The consequences of not having the right paperwork will vary according to the country, the law enforcement agency and even the time of day in which the vehicle was stopped. Without a VE103 certificate you could at least face a potentially massive inconvenience. Worst case scenario, you could be fined and your car impounded until you can prove you have the legal right to drive it outside the UK.

All it takes is a phone call too

Drivers can obtain a VE103 certificate by contacting their vehicle rental or leasing company before travel. As well as issuing the certificate, vehicle rental and leasing companies can also provide valuable advice on other necessary documentation, vehicle accessories (hi-vis jackets, spare bulbs, and so on), as well as breakdown and insurance cover required for the countries that the driver intends to visit.

The UK Government has published information on Driving Abroad leased vehicle abroad. It also offers a handy checklist so you know what to expect before you head for the beach.

Driving abroad

  1. Check where you can use your licence.

    You may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive outside the UK. You can apply for an IDP at the Post Office and they only cost a few pounds.

  2. Get insurance.

    Your car insurance may not be valid in every country so make sure your policy covers your destination as well as any other countries you might travel through on the way.

  3. Prepare the documents you need to take with you.

    Make sure everything you need is readily to hand just in case you're asked to produce it. A folder in the glovebox is much more easily accessible than one buried in a suitcase at the bottom of the boot.

  4. Check the rules for the country you're travelling to.

    Driving rules may be different in the country you're going to. For example, drink-driving rules might be different or you might need to carry extra equipment in your car. The AA and RAC provide useful information on this.

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