*Please note that the information in this article may no longer be accurate due to changes to the green card rules for British drivers in the EU. You can find the most recent information on green cards here.
As 31 October approaches, uncertainty continues about whether the UK leaves the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement (a ‘no-deal Brexit’). If this happens, UK motor insurance customers driving in the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland will need physical proof of motor insurance when they travel, referred to as a green card.
A green card is a physical document that acts as evidence that you’re insured to the minimum legal cover required while driving outside of the UK. It takes its name from the green paper that the original green cards were printed on – most are still green today!
You will need a green card if:
- there is no deal and you are travelling in the EU after the “exit date”. This will be the case even if you have a foreign use extension on your motor policy.
- you are driving from Northern Ireland to Ireland
If you are travelling with a trailer or caravan, you’ll need two green cards – one for the towing vehicle, and one for the trailer/caravan. Any trailer weighing over 3,500kg and any commercial trailer weighing over 750kg needs to be registered before you can tow it through some European countries. Check here if you need to register a trailer before towing it abroad.
If you are travelling to the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland and will return to the UK before the EU exit date, you will not need a green card.
If you are travelling to the EU before Brexit and intend to return to the UK after the exit date, we would still recommend obtaining a green card in case your visit is prolonged unexpectedly.
Contact your insurance broker who will be able to apply for a green card on your behalf. Typically it will take 7-10 days for your green card to be issued.
If you’re covered with us and think you may need a green card, give us a call on 0121 248 9229 or email us.
If you decide to travel without a green card after the exit date, it’s highly likely you will not be allowed to cross the border or get access onto a ferry. If you are permitted to pass but are later stopped and held at the roadside for not travelling with the correct paperwork, you could be fined and have your vehicle impounded. Most motor policies will not cover the cost of paying fines or release fees for impounded vehicles.
The Department for Transport has indicated that drivers may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, depending on the country you’re going to or through. This would need to be shown in conjunction with your UK driving licence.
You should not need an IDP to drive in the Republic of Ireland if you hold a UK driving licence, as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by drivers from non-EU countries.
For more information on International Driving Permits, check the government guidance here.
For all your travel insurance needs, Heritage is here to help. If you want to talk about your requirements, or have your motor policy with us and need to enquire about a green card, just let us know.