No-deal Brexit would mean new rules for UK motorists

*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.

What is going to change?

The BBC has reported that UK motorists travelling abroad after the 29th March 2019 will be required to carry proof of insurance, known as a green card, in the event of a no deal Brexit.

At present, the UK is within the motor insurance ‘Free Circulation Zone’. In May 2018 following representations from European insurance agencies, the Department for Transport confirmed the UK Government’s intention to keep the UK within this arrangement. However, the European Commission have not as yet formally approved the decision.

If this is not agreed by the European Commission and the UK does leave without a confirmed deal on 29th March, UK motorists travelling in EEA countries will need a green card to prove that their vehicle is covered if they are stopped by authorities. The same will apply to EU motorists driving in the UK.


What is a green card?

Green cards are an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary minimum motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to. In addition to functioning as proof of sufficient insurance, it is also designed to ensure that the victims of accidents involving foreign registered vehicles are not disadvantaged.

Do I need to tell my insurer I plan to drive in another EU member state?

Policyholders will need to contact their insurer in advance of their trip in order to arrange for green card documents to be provided. This will apply to any motor vehicle and to all forms of motor insurance, including commercial and motor fleet policies.

How much notice will I need to give my insurer?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has advised ordering the card a month before you plan to travel, to ensure you receive it in time.

It is a requirement that your green card document covers a minimum period of 15 days. So if your motor insurance policy is due to expire less than 15 days after the date of travel, you will need to ensure you have confirmed your renewal before you depart (even if your trip is less than 15 days in total).

If I have a multi-car policy will I need a green card for each vehicle insured?

Yes. A green card is required to cover the registration number of the individual vehicle, so a green card will be needed to cover each vehicle insured under one policy when being driven in the EU.

Does this apply for driving across the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland border?

Yes. You should contact your insurer to arrange for the appropriate green card documents.

I run a business where I employ drivers who regularly cross the border into the EU. Can I arrange their insurance for them or will they need their own documents?

As an employer, you will be able to arrange insurance cover on behalf of your employees, as you do today.

However, each of your employees will have an individual legal responsibility to carry these documents. Driving for employment or business purposes would not exempt anyone from needing to carry a green card.

What if we don’t leave the EU on the 29th March?

If Brexit is postponed then current rules and insurance documents will continue to be satisfactory.

Will the rules for driving abroad change after Britain officially leaves?

In addition to the potential changes to insurance rules, there will be a number of significant changes to driving rules and licensing requirements that take effect on 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU on this date. You will need to comply with all these requirements under the terms of your motor insurance policy.

The Department for Transport has produced a series of guidance notes on the impact of Brexit on Driving and Transport – you can read these here.

Insured with us and want some help?

if you have your motor policy with us and you need a green card, or you have further questions, we’re here to help – email us at nortonservice@norton-ib.co.uk or call 0121 246 5050 to speak with our friendly customer service team.


This article was last updated March 2019.