It must be getting to that time of the year again, ‘Escape from Alcatraz’, as a week or so ago I realised that my Fulltimers Motorhome Insurance was coming up for renewal, but I had not received my usual renewal notification from my Insurers, Comfort Motorhome Insurance, who I had been with for the last six years, ‘Best I give them a call’ I said to Shazza. I usually speak to Katie, although I realise that they would have a number of different staff who answer the phones, so it was probably just by coincidence that I had always got through to her every year ? however, on this occasion it just so happened that I was greeted by a different unfamiliar voice, still very cheerful as always though. I gave my details and stated that unusually I had not received my renewal quotation, the pleasant young lady, well at least she sounded young, checked her records and informed me that an Email had be sent and suggested that I check my ‘junk’ folder but asked whether I wanted her to do the renewal quote over the phone, which of course I confirmed that I would. Now with Comfort they do not give the more usual ‘No Claims Discount’ but they do give a ‘Loyalty Discount’, not something they openly advertise, last year’s renewal only saw an increase of £20 on my annual premium from the previous year which I was mightily impressed with, so I was very interested to see how this years increase would fair in comparison. As well as taking out the ‘Fulltimers Insurance’ I also ask them to include full UK/EU Breakdown Cover at the top level of cover, always better to be safe than sorry, and when we needed to use it in 2016, when we unfortunately suffered from Fuel Contamination, it proved invaluable and the service provided was outstanding. She came back with the quotation at £755 which was £690 for the vehicle cover and £65 for the Breakdown cover, an increase of just £35 on the previous year, again I was more than happy with this as the cover is fully comprehensive throughout the EU, whereas some other’s only cover ‘Third Party’ in the EU, on top of that the policy allows me to make up to six claims in any one insurance year, it covers replacement glass in the whole of the Motorhome, not just solely to cover the windscreen, up to the value of £3,000 and also provides us with £5,000 personal contents cover, more than enough to cover our meagre possessions.
Whilst I was speaking to her I thought I had better just check out the procedure for obtaining the ‘Green Card’, something which will be a requirement for all UK drivers after Brexit for travelling within the EU and of course something which we will now require for our own upcoming Winter escape. Comfort have been pretty good with sending out regular updates on this, stating that if a ‘Green Card’ becomes necessary they would issue one to policy holders at no extra charge, unlike a lot of other Vehicle Insurance providers who are charging for the issue of such documentation, Shazza’s insurance providers for the car have quoted us £80 for a green card and that is only to cover a 90 day period !! The nice young lady confirmed that, if it became necessary, they would issue me with a green card for a 90 day period at no extra cost and that I just needed to notify them twenty-days prior to my travel date. Happy with this I stated that I would be renewing my policy with them but would leave it until nearer the renewal date at the end of the month.
So okay, I was more than happy with this but things got even better when a week later I decided to get my Motorhome Insurance renewal sorted. Again I did this over the telephone and surprise surprise it was Katie who answered the phone, I know that in reality she would not know who I was, she, and all the other staff, must deal with many thousands of different people every year, those just enquiring about quotes, new customers and of course renewal customers like myself but I always remembered her, because she just has such a bubbly personality, very efficient but also very personable and always has time for the odd bit of personal conversation. Anyway, she got my records up and went through the usual bits and pieces to ensure that nothing had changed to effect the Insurance quote, as usual I asked for her to send me a hardcopy of all the documents, normally they would Email them, but as you needed to be able to produce the original Insurance Certificate if stopped, I always get my documents sent to my ‘Contact Address’. At which point she that told me that as a I held a ‘Fulltimers Insurance Policy’ that she would send me out a ‘Green Card’ with my documents, I was a little confused as I thought they only issued them for 90 day periods, however she stated that as a Fulltimer they were now issuing a Green Card with the policy documents as a matter of course and that this was valid for the full period of the Insurance, so a full year, absolutely brilliant. Shazza and I had thought that we were going to have to apply for these ‘Green Cards’ twice a year, to cover each 90 day period that we would be spending in Europe, if we leave without a deal, which is looking ever more likely to be the case, but now that is an administrative burden that we can forget about.
There has also been a lot of confusion on many of the Motorhome Groups that I am a member of, around the International Driving Permits (IDP’s) required by UK motorists travelling within the various individual EU Countries if we leave the EU ‘Without a Deal’. Now whilst, in theory, there are three such IDP’s thay may be required, on checking the official UK Government Website, which now clearly states ‘We are leaving the EU on 31st October‘, the only Country where we would need to be in possession of an IDP, irrespective of length of stay, is France (now why doesn’t that surprise me ?) as for the others, whose dates do vary slightly, in general, provided that we have the newer Drivers Licence, the one with your photograph on it as opposed to the older style paper licence, then provided your stay is no longer than 180 days there is no requirement for an IDP, so even less administrative beaurocracy than what everyone has been anticipating.
Now none of the above is earth shattering news I know, but when you are planning travelling to and through EU Countries, not just for Winter escapes, but moreso for the near future when we once again become motorhome fulltime nomadic travellers, then knowing what documentation you require, and need to be in possession of, before you travel, and getting it all organised in time, especially with no permanent fixed residence, well this had just added to our already extensive ‘To Do List’. So, in all of this Brexit fiasco and with many of the uncertainties around it for us normal folk, it is the simple things like this that will make our future nomadic lives that much easier to organise and it is amazing how these ‘Little Things Can Make Your Day‘.
As we move closer to escape day, just twenty days, and yes we are still counting, we are getting ourselves sorted and not just the work side of things. The car has been through its annual service and MOT test and passed with flying colours, not bad for a vehicle that is very nearly ten years old, the van is not due its first annual MOT test until next year but had its first bi-annual service earlier in the year, we each have our six monthly dental check-ups all pre-booked for before we leave the UK, we have virtually finished re-organising the van for ‘travelling mode’, it just needs a good final wash ‘n’ wax, all our ferry bookings to and from Spain have been made, and with our brief return to the UK over the Christmas period, this has entailed a few more than normal this time around !! We have also pre-booked our campsite for our family visits when we leave site and travel North in three weeks time and also pre-booked a pitch in advance for our Christmas period back in the UK. So I think we are well on top of everything now, we really do not give Brexit much more than a cursory glance in the media headlines these days, Brexit Fatigue has certainly struch this household and we reckon, like everyone else, that Boris will call an election in the Autumn, but we will not be in the Country when it happens, even if we were, we probably would not bother voting again as this current fiasco has just proven what we have known for years, the Politicians do not give a hoot about Democracy or the National Interest, they are just in it for themselves, so we will just get on with our own lives and deal with any fall out from the beaurocracy as and when it effects us. We have more important matters to think about like, will our ferry crossing to Spain in four weeks time be a bumpy one ? Will our favourite watering holes on the sun drenched promenade in our little Spanish seaside town still be open or will they have closed down for their Winter break ? Will our ice-cream stall now have started to stock my favourite Rum ‘n’ Raisin flavour ? These are much more important things for us to be spending our valuable time wondering about, wouldn’t you agree ?