February 14, 2019
Driving After Brexit – The Return of the Green Card
As with all things Brexit, there is uncertainty about the future of the motor insurance arrangements for cross border travel. If the Brexit deadline of 29 March is reached with no deal in place, you’ll have to have a ‘Green Card’ if you want to use your vehicle in the EEA including Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland, or cross the Irish border by road.
All UK motor insurance providers will continue to provide the legal minimum motor insurance cover for travel to EEA countries. However, you will need to carry a physical ‘Green Card’ to prove you have the insurance cover in place.
What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is essentially an international insurance certificate that proves your policy provides minimum cover when driving within the EEA. The entire Green Card scheme allows vehicles to move freely across the borders of all 48 subscribing countries and ensures that when a visiting vehicle causes damage, there is easy access to compensation in the victim’s home country. Under current international rules, Green Cards are physical paper documents printed on green paper.
I have a commercial fleet policy, does this affect me too?
This will apply to any motor vehicle and to all forms of motor insurance – including commercial and motor fleet policies. The Green Card is required to specify the licence plate number of each individual vehicle and identify any trailers or towed vehicles. In some EU member states, a separate Green Card is needed for each trailer. Your insurer will be able to advise you on the exact requirements for the countries you plan to visit.
How do I get a Green Card?
You’ll need to contact your insurer at least a month beforehand to get a Green Card. These are usually free, but some insurers may charge a small administrative fee. A Green Card will automatically provide you with a guarantee of insurance for a minimum of 15 days. Insurers can also specify that it covers a longer period if this is required. If you have a ‘fully comprehensive’ insurance policy, you will need to check what aspects apply while you are driving abroad. Some insurers will allow you to purchase additional cover if required.
What happens if I travel without a Green Card?
If you attempt to drive in the EU without holding a Green Card, you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution. Border authorities may require you to show documents at the border, you may also be subject to police checks while driving abroad and you will also need to present the Green Card at the scene if you are involved in an accident.
Will this change in the future?
An agreement between UK and European authorities was struck in May 2018 to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit – but the agreement has not yet been passed into law by the European Commission, the arm of the EU responsible for proposing legislation. Until this is in place, you must carry a Green Card.
Anything else I need to know?
There will be a number of significant changes to driving rules and licensing requirements that take effect on 29 March 2019. You will need to comply with all these requirements under the terms of your motor insurance policy. Also check any specific requirements for all the specific countries you are planning to visit or drive through.
www.gov.uk/guidance/prepare-to-drive-in-the-eu-after-brexit details everything you will need to know, so check thoroughly! The Government website euexit.campaign.gov.uk details the wider changes that will affect individuals and businesses.
Your usual Account Executive or Account Handler on 0115 9420 111 or by email.