How to travel safely and relaxed with the car ferry
Holidays with a motorhome or your own car have become increasingly popular in recent years. No wonder, as this way of travelling offers many advantages – you remain flexible in the holiday destination and have no luggage restrictions. If the holiday destination is a Mediterranean island, Scandinavia or Great Britain, part of the journey is made by ferry.
To ensure that the journey – and the subsequent holiday – can be enjoyed in a relaxed manner, the journey should be well prepared. Motor vehicle and insurance expert Alexander Held from Verti Versicherung AG gives five fundamental tips for the next holiday with a ferry crossing:
Ferry crossings to popular destinations are often very heavily booked in the high season and the number of cabins is also limited. But not only is the supply limited, demand is also high, as during the Corona pandemic many people got a taste for motorhome travel and individual holidays in their own cars. In addition, those who book earlier pay less. Since shipping companies now work with flexible pricing systems, you can often save money by choosing a departure time that is less in demand.
In addition, you should check the validity of your personal documents in good time; the passport number must already be provided when booking. When booking, in addition to personal details and possible accompanying persons, all vehicle characteristics should be listed – such as type of vehicle, dimensions, registration number and extras such as roof boxes.
Arrive in good time
If you miss “your” ferry, you cannot simply take the next one. It is therefore advisable to plan the time for arrival very generously – for long, cross-border routes that take eight or more hours, this is often two hours before departure. The exact check-in time can be found in the booking confirmation. It is important to bear in mind that some ports are quite large, with different addresses for different ferry companies. Checking the port access plans in advance and finding out exactly where the departure terminal is located will therefore save time and nerves at the crucial moment. Queues in front of the ferry are also the norm – parking cars and motorhomes is millimetre work and takes time. If you are bringing pets or need help at the port, you should allow a little extra time.
Drive up safely
On the ship, the vehicles park very tightly. After all, the shipping company wants to use the available space as efficiently as possible. Nevertheless, modern ferries are often even easier to navigate than multi-storey car parks, because staff are on hand to help find a space. It is essential to follow their instructions. It is common to fold in the side mirrors. It may also not be possible to open the outside storage compartments and the rear doors.
Accident on board? Shipping companies often have limited liability
It is essential to find out about the exact insurance conditions of the tour operator before buying a ferry ticket. Often, shipping companies have only very limited liability for damage caused by an accident on board or – In the worst case – a loss of the vehicle caused by the sinking of the ship. If the ferry company does not cover the costs, your own car insurance may be able to step in. However, whether a hull insurance policy covers the costs of an accident on board depends on the tariff: there are both contract models that include such a claim and those that do not.
Before leaving the vehicle, the handbrake must be pulled and a gear engaged. It makes sense to switch off alarm systems with tilt sensors during the journey over the water, as they can easily be triggered in stronger seas. As car ferries can be very large, especially for the long routes, it is essential to remember the exact parking space so that you can quickly find your vehicle again at the end of the crossing. Sitting in the car is almost always taboo on car ferries.
Check your International Insurance Card before you travel
The International Insurance Card (IIC) extends the scope of the motor vehicle liability insurance to some non-European countries – as long as these are not crossed out on the card. Before you start your journey, it is therefore important to check whether countries you intend to travel to are shown on your ICC. Only in these countries do you have full insurance cover and do not have to purchase a so-called “border policy” when entering the country.
In general, all countries within the geographical borders of Europe as well as in the non-European areas that belong to the area of validity of the European Union are listed on the IVK, plus a few more. Which countries of these are included in the scope of the motor liability insurance varies from insurer to insurer.
Further information on Verti Versicherung AG’s insurance offer is available at www.verti.de.
Verti Versicherung AG is the second largest direct car insurance company in Germany. Founded in 1996, the company counts more than one million in-force policies. Verti employs about 500 employees at its headquarters in Teltow near Berlin and at its second site in Vaterstetten near Munich, which was newly established in 2018. Since 2015, Verti has been part of the MAPFRE Group and operated as Direct Line until 2017. MAPFRE is the largest Spanish-owned insurer in the world and the largest multinational insurance company in Latin America. Based on premium volume, MAPFRE ranks among the Top15 largest insurance groups in Europe. Verti is the global digital brand of MAPFRE. Since 2018, Verti has been the namesake of one of Europe’s most modern venues: the Verti Music Hall in Berlin.