From the 2nd August this year, British people will no longer need an insurance green card to drive their own vehicle in an EU country. This comes after the European Commission reviewed the post-Brexit law, which has been in force since January 2021.
On 28th June the EU Commission decided that green cards are causing unnecessary tension for Northern Irish drivers, who currently need a green card to drive to the Republic of Ireland as a result of Brexit. There are also checks taking place on the border between both countries, which is causing unrest. The scrapping of green cards has largely been attributed to lobbying by the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland, who want ‘smoother travel’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
By taking away the need for green cards, as well as other measures, the EU Commission hope to reduce the friction caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
What are green cards for?
Green cards were initially introduced as a post-Brexit requirement for British people, as a result of us losing our place within the free circulation zone. The cards are intended to show that a driver has the minimum level of insurance required to drive in most EU countries. Without one, drivers could be subject to fines or, in some cases, may even need to buy additional insurance in the country of travel.
According to the government website, UK drivers in the EU currently have to show their green card if they’re involved in an accident. They could also be checked at border crossings and if being pulled over by the police. Therefore, we still recommend that you make sure you have a green card if you plan on driving in an EU country before 2nd August.
What other laws should I know about when driving in the EU?
Although green cards are on the way out, there are other laws to be aware of when driving in the EU. Drivers who carry a paper driving licence (these were issued before 1st April 1999) will need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IPD). Thankfully, these are easy to acquire; simply purchase one in your local Post Office for £5.50, and it will then be valid for the next 3 years.
There are three different IPDs and you will need to select the appropriate one for your country(s) of travel. We’ve listed these below, and you can take a look at the full list on the government website here.
- 1926 IDP: Driving through or in Lichtenstein
- 1949 IDP: Driving in Cyprus, Iceland, Malta and Spain
- 1968 IDP: Valid for all other EU/EEA countries (other than those listed above)
If you’re planning to travel abroad this year, there are quite a few things to remember when it comes to Brexit and COVID restrictions. If you’re unsure what you need to do before setting off, we recommend that you take a look at the government guidance on travel.
To speak with an expert about your vehicle insurance needs, please call a member of the Heritage team on 0121 248 9229.