American Moving To Europe: How to Deal with Car Accidents in a Foreign Country?

How many of you just sit there in a dream of moving to another country? People travel to other countries for different reasons. Some want to see their loved ones living in other nations while others want to experience a different work style.

No matter what your reason for traveling is, being abroad is a big deal for many people. The rules are different, the way people behave is completely different and the traffic flow depends on the country you are in. For example, English people like traveling in lanes, and following the rules, Australians are known to add a little kick in their driving, and the French – well they don’t care about driving at all because they have bicycles. Oh, and don’t forget that the holiday season could be extra tricky.

If you are traveling abroad, here is a general to-do list that describes a general overview of everything you need to do in case you meet an unwanted accident on foreign land.

What to do at the scene of the accident?

Let’s say an unfortunate event just happened and you have now suffered from an accident. If you are involved in a road accident abroad, make sure to immediately contact the police and inform them about your location and reason for the call.

In some countries, there might be a language barrier but you can always ask them to transfer the call to a translator. However, many police station staff across the globe has an understanding of English. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind until the police arrive:

  • We know you had an accident and it’s a bit difficult for you to handle the trauma but if you are not hurting and the passengers in your car also don’t have car accident injuries, make notes of the accident.
  • Check yourself and your fellow passengers for injuries from car accidents. In case of severe injuries, contact the local ambulance service. It is advised that you learn these emergency numbers before you leave home.
  • Use your phone to take clear pictures of the accident and how it happened. Clearly capture the location, position of the cars when they collided with each other, and number plates of both the vehicles.
  • Contact your insurance company and tell them that you recently met an accident. Exchange the insurance details with the other party
  • Naturally, if people are going to stop, if they see an accident. Make sure to have the names, contact details, and addresses of some of the witnesses who genuinely saw the accident happen firsthand. This can come in handy when you make claims.
  • Do not get friendly with the other party. Making sure that they are safe as a gesture of humanity is one thing but admitting liability of apologizing can actually make you look bad when you file for compensation.

Contact the Insurance Provider Right Away

Having your vehicle insured in a foreign country is quite important. As a foreigner, you might not enjoy the benefits of insurance as the other party but, it is always a good idea to get insurance. When you contact the insurance provider, inform them of everything about the accident. Their response will depend on whether the vehicle was hired or not and what kind of foreign insurance plan you have purchased.

Many countries especially in Europe give you an accident statement by the insurance company or at the scene of the accident. It comprises of some statements and facts about the accident and helps in getting insurance. It is known as the European Accident Statement or EAS but you should only sign it if you are aware of the scenario. Always ask them for a copy you can keep.

The vehicle you are driving can either belong to you or you must have hired it from a local car rental. Either way, the response of insurance companies might be different.

Let’s discuss these two scenarios:

Vehicle was your own

If the vehicle you were driving your personal possession, make sure that you are 100% certain to inform the insurance company about the accident at your utmost convenience. Whether you want to file against the other party is another subject but informing them is mandatory.

Insurance plans normally have a deadline for disclosing injuries, and if you refuse to adhere, you will not be compensated. You must provide the insurance providers as much detail regarding the crash as you could because this is one thing that can help them manage the claim.

Before you drive, you can verify if your vehicle insurance is available overseas. Preferably, notify your insurance company at least one month before sending your car overseas. If you haven’t reviewed your plan, you can notice that you don’t have the same amount of protection at home in comparison to abroad. Often insurers provide third-party compensation when abroad, not full coverage. This could be highly expensive if your car is destroyed.

Vehicle was hired

When renting a rental car, it is highly mandatory to analyze and report the smallest of injuries to the local law enforcement. Car hire companies may specify that injuries are recorded and this could be very complicated after you’ve fled the country. Please note that you do not take responsibility as this will impact your car rental insurance claim.

Don’t hesitate to contact your car rental company as quickly as possible. Any car rental agencies have help and support number in other countries that you should be able to identify in your deal. Be sure you are giving the organization as much detail as you can about the crash. Once you’re home, write a detailed account of the accident to the company.

Don’t get a rental car fixed without first receiving the permission of the rental firm. You would need to review the contract terms of the insurance you paid out when you rented a vehicle and see what costs you would be responsible for.

Claims on Personal Injuries

Obviously, you might meet some car accident injuries during the entire event and it is possible that you make a personal injury claim. Getting legal help, in this case, is highly recommended as you might not be aware of the personal injury compensation laws of other countries. You might think that filing for personal injuries on your own is a good way to save money but if you really want to win your case, make sure to get legal help.

Medical Help after Car Accidents

It is important that you seek medical help even if there are no visible symptoms of the injury. Many people have reported that they are still getting neck pain treatment after years of an accident because they simply did not take a common injury like whiplash seriously. Visiting the doctor should be right up there in the priority zone.


Car accidents in a foreign European land can be a complicated process and you need to be sure that you know how to handle a situation at hand. Don’t be shy to take any legal help. Get your insurance covered as soon as you plan on getting a vehicle abroad. Make sure that you seek immediate medical help so that you don’t have to go through the trauma of chronic pain.


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