Brits' booze cruise blunders


2.3 million Brits heading abroad to stock up on cheap alcohol could pick up a fine with their Frascati

Over half (57 per cent) of an estimated 2.3 million motorists1 planning to cross the channel to stock up on cheap alcohol this Christmas could be driving illegally, with over one in six (15 per cent) making risky assumptions about their car insurance.2

The research, conducted by esure car insurance, shows that many British motorists planning a 'booze cruise' in the next few weeks are not only unprepared but uninformed. An estimated 3.6 million motorists admit to not knowing the speed limits on foreign roads with 84 per cent unaware that the speed limit on a motorway in France is 130km/h.3 Hefty fines of up to €1,5004 could be incurred if caught speeding on a French road - making a money-saving 'booze cruise' rather expensive.

A third of those polled (33 per cent) wrongly think that the driving rules and regulations in the UK are the same as those in other European countries. Consequently over half (57 per cent) of motorists drive illegally in Europe by not carrying a warning triangle in their car - one of the compulsory requirements when driving in France, Belgium and Germany - as well as having headlamp adjustments and displaying a G.B. sticker for non Euro-plates5.

Motorists who think that their level of insurance cover whilst driving on foreign soil will be the same as in the UK could be in for a nasty surprise. Many policies only offer the minimum level of cover required to drive in that country - usually only third party cover. With one in ten motorists (10 per cent) also sustaining damage to their car whilst abroad - be it a collision, bump or a damaged windscreen - motorists must call their insurer to get their cover extended to fully comprehensive and flag-up that they'd be taking their car into Europe, in case they end up making a claim.

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said: "It's important for motorists who are planning a booze cruise to make sure they read up on the different motoring rules and regulations beforehand to help avoid being issued with any unwanted fines across the channel.

When planning to take a car to Europe, it is also crucial for motorists to call their insurer and tell them that they want to extend their level of cover for driving abroad."

esure has compiled some useful tips for driving abroad:


esure's press contacts:

For further information please contact the esure press office at Mischief PR on 020 7100 9999 or email
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Notes to editors:

  1. esure used the independent online research company Fly Research which interviewed a random sample of 1,012 drivers aged 18+ between 20th and 24th November 2008. Interviews were conducted across the UK via an online questionnaire. Fly Research is an online market research company. Its researchers are members of the MRS and Esomar, and abide by their guidelines. Further information at  2.3 million based on 7 percent of total UK motorists (DfT Transport Statistics - 33,522,106 motor vehicles currently licensed 2006)
  2. ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1010 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 2nd April - 3rd April 2008. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adult motorists. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at 15 per cent based on those answering the question, ‘Do you think your car insurance does or does not offer you the same cover in the UK as abroad’ with 'It does - I assume'
  5. Unless the UK registered vehicle is displaying a Euro-plate, which shows a circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on a blue background

About esure:

esure was launched in 2001. The company offers car, home, pet and travel insurance over the internet and by phone. esure also offers car insurance cover through the brands Halifax, Sainsbury's, Sheilas' Wheels and more recently home insurance through the Sheilas’ Wheels brand.


esure has secured two of the UK's most iconic sponsorships: the ITV National and Channel 4 Weather bulletins.