The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : How to cross the channel in your motorhome The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : How to cross the channel in your motorhome
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How to cross the channel in your motorhome

Going abroad in your recreational vehicle is a great deal of fun. Planning your route and making the necessary preparations before you depart helps ensure your channel-crossing trip runs smoothly, so it’s well worth the effort.

Of course, you can’t rule out every risk. Taking your motorhome overseas increases its exposure to the risk of damage and theft, amongst other hazards.

Lancaster Insurance understands how much house trailers mean to their owners – they’re so much more than an investment.

We offer reliable motorhome insurance that comes with a whole host of wonderful benefits.

We’ve put our specialists to good use and created this guide to channel-crossing in your beloved vehicle. Let’s get motoring…

 

Can I take my motorhome on the Eurotunnel?

Seen as the easiest method of channel-crossing in a motorhome, the Eurotunnel provides routes to Calais, travelling platform to platform in as little as 35 minutes.

Better yet, you won’t face the perils of delays caused by miserable weather!

Those travelling with their recreational vehicles will be housed in a single deck carriage, designed for easy manoeuvring.

These carriages have wider entrances and higher ceilings than double deck carriages, so they’re ideal for larger motorhomes.

The price of travel remains the same, however big or small your motorhome is. While you need to highlight any bike racks when booking, you should not be charged extra.

While travelling, you are obliged to remain with your motorhome at all times. Brew any hot drinks beforehand, as the use of gas is prohibited when in transit.

The Eurostar train travelling through France

Can I travel by ferry with my motorhome?

If you’d prefer to travel by ferry, you can choose from a range of crossing options. Different routes and providers offer varying facilities and journey times, so do your homework before booking anything.

Your choice of route will likely rest upon your desired destination, budget and timeframe.

When booking your motorhome’s space on a ferry, you must provide its precise measurements ­– don’t leave out any additional fittings, such as bike racks.

If you enter the incorrect measurements, you may face extra charges when you board: these tend to be priced per additional metre.

 

Which ports can you travel to France from?

When channel-crossing in your motorhome, it’s worth considering purchasing a one-way ticket either way; this allows for a more varied and interesting trip, stopping off at different places.

The major ferry operators are Brittany Ferries, P&O and DFDS, with the following routes and approximate prices available for a return trip (2 children and 2 adults):

 

P&O:       Dover to Calais - £178

 

Brittany: Portsmouth to Caen - £495

                Portsmouth to Cherbourg - £610

                Portsmouth to St Malo - £630

                Portsmouth to Le Havre (economy) - £408

 

DFDS:     Dover to Dunkirk - £99

                Dover to Calais - £109

                Newhaven to Dieppe - £212.50

 

You must submit your vehicle registration when booking, whichever route you pick. This enables automatic plate detectors to instantly identify your motorhome at check-in.

The rear of a ferry with its wake stretching across the sea into the distance

Can I bring my pet on a ferry or the Eurotunnel?

As long as you have the required paperwork, the Eurotunnel and ferry operators will allow your furry friends to travel with you.

The price varies, but it tends to cost roughly £15-20, one way.

Your pet must stay in your motorhome during the crossing, so if you have a nervous or elderly pet, the Eurotunnel is your best bet, as it enables the whole family to travel together.

 

Legal driving requirements in France

So, once you reach France, what do you need?

Documents:

  • A full and valid UK driver’s licence
  • National insurance number
  • A passport or national identification card
  • A V5C – proof of vehicle ownership and insurance
  • European Breakdown Cover policy number and paperwork

 

Lancaster Insurance offers motorhome insurance that covers you at home and abroad.

A standard rate gives you around 90 days of cover in the EU, with the possibility of extensions to 180 or 365 days.

Before you head off, make sure your motorhome’s tax and MOT are valid and current.

If and when Brexit occurs, drivers may also need one or more International Driving Permits, along with a motor insurance green card.

French law obliges drivers to tick a number of safety boxes. It’s important to comply, as to ignore these requirements is illegal and could leave you facing hefty fines.

When driving in France, every vehicle should have:

 

  • Hi-vis jackets for each passenger, stored in an easily accessible spot
  • Warning triangles
  • A French government approved (NF) breathalyser or, alternatively, an alcohol detection kit – bear in mind, this law will no longer apply soon
  • A number plate that incorporates the GB-euro symbol or a GB sign

 

Headlamp beam deflectors

Drivers using right-handed vehicles are required to install headlamp beam deflectors, to prevent other drivers from getting dazzled.

 

No hands-free or Bluetooth devices

France has made it illegal to use any Bluetooth or mobile hands-free devices – when driving. If you’re caught doing so, you’ll receive a €135 fine.

 

A pollution sticker in Paris

If you plan on seeing the sights of Paris during your trip, don’t forget to purchase and display a pollution sticker. Clean air stickers must display your vehicle’s emission levels, and can be found online for about £3.50.

Those driving without the obligatory sticker could face a fine of €68-€135.

 

No speed camera alerts

If you’re found driving with a speed camera detector, you could be slapped with a €1,500 fine. Make sure to check your motorhome’s sat nav features, as if a speed camera detector is included, you’ll need to disable the alert system – to leave this running is against the law.

 

Protecting your motorhome at home and abroad

A motorhome travelling on a motorway

You can never predict every eventuality. Before you travel abroad, it’s vital to secure dependable protection for your motorhome.

Lancaster Insurance wants you to enjoy your holiday worry-free. Our specialist motorhome insurance will cover your house trailer when you travel abroad in the EU.

Don’t wait, get a quote today.

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