Green Cards needed for UK drivers in the EU

Green Cards required by UK drivers in light of a no-deal BREXIT?

Posted on 21st March 2019 by

Insurers have warned UK motorists planning to drive to other European Countries they will need Green Cards in the event of a no-deal BREXIT.

They are essentially international insurance certificates that prove your motor insurance policy provides the minimum cover required.

You will need to apply for your Green Card at least one month in advance of your planned drive in Europe. If you haven’t already applied for a Green Card, it might be an idea to do so now, especially if any part of your job role is reliant on you driving in Europe.

In May 2018, an agreement between UK and European insurance authorities was struck to waive the need for Green Cards, but the agreement has not yet been passed into law by the European Commission, the arm of the EU which is responsible for proposing legislation.


Who needs them?

It looks increasingly likely that the UK will leave the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement (a ‘no-deal’ Brexit). If/when this happens, UK motor insurance customers driving in the European Economic Area will need physical proof of motor insurance when they travel, this will be your Green Card. It will also be required to cross the Irish border by road.

It is likely that you will not need a Green Card if you are simply hiring a car in Europe as the rental from the hire company should cover you.

However, if you rent a vehicle in the UK for use in Europe, then you will need a Green Card in the event of a no-deal BREXIT.


How do I apply for a Green Card?

To apply you will need to contact your motor insurance provider a month in advance of the when you need it. Your insurer may issue a small admin charge for the process of issuing a green card to you.


In which countries are Green Cards being used?

Green Cards are required in 47 countries, including all 28 in the European Union. It also includes the additional countries that make up the European Economic Area (EEA) and several countries in the Middle East and others that border the Mediterranean Sea.

Although a Green Card is no longer required for travel to the EEA, including Switzerland, Andorra and Serbia, this would cease to apply for UK motorists in the event of a no-deal BREXIT.


Will I need a Green Card for my caravan?

Countries that specify that you carry separate trailer insurance will likely except you to carry a separate green card for your caravan or trailer. Better to be safe than sorry and ensure you carry a Green Card just in-case.

The same rules apply for commercial trailers, which will impact on most haulage companies. You must register a commercial trailer weighing over 750kg prior to towing them abroad. A separately registered trailer will require a green card and all trailers weighing over 3,500kg must also be registered.


What if I drive in Europe without a Green Card after BREXIT?

Failure to obtain a Green Card for your UK-registered vehicle/s may result in you having your vehicle/s seized, prosecution and/or a heavy fine.


Will my driving licence be valid in the EU after BREXIT?

In the event of a ‘no-deal’ BREXIT, the Department for Transport has indicated that you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). You would need to show this along with your driving licence.

You can get your IDP at the Post Office. It is important to remember that there are different types of IDP. Which one you will need depends on which countries you will be driving in:

  • A 1949 Convention IDP cover the following EU countries: Spain, Malta and Cyprus
  • A 1968 Convention IDP covers all other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland.


Is there any way I could drive in Europe without a Green Card after BREXIT?

‘Frontier Insurance’ could be an outside option for this. This is a third-party insurance bought in the country the motorist is driving in.

However, there are some caveats to this that you need to be aware of;

  • this type of insurance may not be readily available, so don’t rely on it.
  • the cover on offer is likely to be reduced in comparison to what you already have.
  • you may find yourself paying a lot more than you’d expect for this type of cover.

You will likely discover that simply applying for the Green Card is the easiest option available to you.



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