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Should you drive, while living abroad?

By April 26, 2017October 3rd,

Should you drive, while living abroad?

April 26, 2017

If you are emigrating from a country like South Africa, where cars are the most common form of transport, you’ll likely have the same ‘driver’ mindset when heading off to your new country. However, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that purchasing a car might not be a priority.

Cities where you can get by without a car

If you are moving to New York, London, Berlin, Zurich, Tokyo, Paris and Singapore with developed forms of public transport, you’ll discover that very few people bother with owning a car – they simply have an annual or monthly transport ticket that covers them for most forms of public transport from trains, to tubes/subways and buses and they leap on and off as they please. To discover whether the country you are moving to has a good public transport system, do your research before you leave and see how most people prefer to get around.

What to consider when expats discover they need a car:

Is it legal for you to drive?

More than likely your driver’s license will not be valid in the country you are moving to. Some countries will accept a temporary International Driver’s Permit (IDP), but these are usually only valid for a short period of time. So check out whether getting a new license is as simple as just applying for one, or whether you have to redo a written and physical driving test. If you are moving to Australia from South Africa, you’ll have to do both!

What side of the road will you be driving on?

Switching from the left side to the right side is not as easy as it sounds and many drivers have had accidents because they looked over the wrong shoulder or glanced the wrong way at a stop street. If your IDP is accepted in the country you are moving to, start by driving around on a few quiet roads first and build your confidence before hitting the highways.

Have you got insurance?

It goes without saying; you and your car need to be insured before you start driving. If you are driving a rental car, your car will likely be covered by some form of insurance. Ensure you understand the terms of the insurance before you accept the car, as you don’t want to discover post-accident that you are liable for a huge amount of excess. If you are immigrating, it makes sense, if you have a track record of not claims, to get a certificate from your existing car insurer. You can then present this certificate in your new country and many insurers will offer you reduced premiums as a result.

Do you know the no-go areas?

In many cities, especially in third-world countries, there are areas where it is more dangerous to drive, especially at night. Discover where these areas are and plot your route carefully to avoid them during deserted times if you are driving alone

Pack a comprehensive first-aid kit

Always ensure your car has a comprehensive first-aid kit that stays in the car, you never know when you may need it. A map and a small fire extinguisher are also basic car necessities that should never be removed from your vehicle.

If you’re planning on immigrating and need advice on your financial migration, contact us today. We’re here to help put you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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