Over the border with our fingers crossed

4 May 2013

It was with some trepidation we approached the border crossing from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina as we were not insured to drive through the country.

It’s a complicated situation, and a long story, but few UK insurers cover  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia or Albania. When Dave shopped around for insurance in February 2012 we were led to believe that some of the above would be covered by the Saga Motorhome policy we took out. However when it came to renewing the policy this February the situation had changed and they would no longer issue a Green Card for any of those countries. We complained, they listened to the recordings of all the past calls we'd had with them, they agreed we had been misled and reduced the premium but that still left us with this dilemma.

Leaving Serbia at Mali Zvornik (on the east side of the beautiful river Drina) was no problem, we drove up to the passport kiosk where a uniformed officer barks…“Passports” ….stamp, stamp – onto Customs man “Open the back”… he climbs in and straight back out again – “OK – Goodbye”…..

Over the bridge we go and enter Bosnia and Herzegovina through Karakaj (on the west side of the same river) …. Passport Guy No. 1 barks – “Passports” …..stamp stamp….”Car documents”….. So it’s at this point I try and explain we don’t have insurance and want to buy some. He speaks no English and my limited knowledge of the language stretches to ‘hello’ (which I’ve already said to him with a meek smile),’please’, ‘thankyou’ and the word for insurance ‘osiguranje’.

Passport guy No. 2, who also speaks no English, comes over, looks at our GB number plate and asks for the documents again. Dave tries again to explain we want to buy insurance and asks if  is there an office where we can get it. He gets ‘escorted’ to one of a number of truck agency offices about a hundred meters away leaving me to watch the world go slowly and routinely by at a border post. After about 10 minutes he returns with the necessary piece of paper to satisfy Passport Guy No. 1. It cost us €30 for 5 days or we could have had 2 weeks for €75. No dodgy dealings, no mark-ups, all seemingly above board and legit.

It was a relatively easy process in the end but one we struggled to get clear definitive information on from the internet. Searching forums and blogs came up with a range of experiences other travellers have had at various border posts. Even the Bosnia and Herzegovina Tourist Information FAQ section is vague. So we have 5 days to travel through this beautiful country now – after that we will have to go through the whole process again in Montenegro and Albania….

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