Travelling after Brexit

Brexit – what does it mean for my travel abroad?

Uncertainty remains on 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, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland will need physical proof of motor insurance when they travel, commonly referred to as a Green Card.

What is the Green Card and why do I need it?

The Green Card is an internationally accepted physical document which proves that you have valid insurance to drive your car abroad. If there is a no-deal EU exit, it will be illegal for UK motorists to drive in Europe without it, whether travelling for business or pleasure, regardless of whether your policy provides the foreign travel cover extension.

Where can I drive with it?

The Green Card system currently comprises 47 countries. This includes all European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Switzerland, Russia and other members in the Middle East and surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. You will also need it if travelling from the UK including Northern Ireland to Ireland.

How do I apply for a Green Card?

Responsibility of issuing Green Cards lies with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), who have given delegated permission to insurers. This means that, if you are planning to drive in the EU after 12th April (*updated 22/03/19), you will need to contact your insurer directly. Greenways Insurance will do this on behalf of their customers, please call us with your travel plans.

Are Green Cards free?

The Department of Transport issued a statement in September that Green Card issuance would be free. However, individual insurers may charge a small administration fee. Check with your insurer about this.

How quickly will the process take?

If a no-deal Brexit goes ahead, the MIB and all insurers will no doubt be very busy. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggested motorists should ideally apply one month prior to travelling, so it’s worth planning ahead to avoid disappointment or disruption.

What if I have an accident whilst driving in the EU?

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK motorists suffering a road traffic accident may have to make a claim with the foreign insurer directly. In uninsured and ‘hit and run’ cases, the MIB or equivalent would ordinarily pay compensation costs. However, this may not be the case and so access to compensation claims could vary from country to country.

Can I drive a trailer?

Yes, you can drive a trailer. From 28 March, you must register commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg before they can travel in Europe.

If I have more than one vehicle, do I need more than one Green Card?

If you have several trailers and vehicles, you may require more than one Green Card. To find out more, speak with us so we can explain how many you require.

Will I definitely need a Green Card to drive in Europe?

You will need a Green Card if there is no deal in place after the UK exits the EU. However, regardless of whether there will be a no-deal, a deal has been made between UK and European insurance authorities to waive the need of a Green Card, but this has not yet been ratified by the European Commission.

What will happen if a customer travels without a Green Card?

If a customer decides to travel without a Green Card, it is highly probable they will not be allowed to cross the border or gain access onto a ferry. If however, this isn’t the case and they are allowed to travel and they are then subsequently stopped and held at the roadside because they have not travelled with the correct paperwork, they could be fined and have their vehicle impounded. Please note generally speaking, there is NO cover under motor policies to pay fines and release fees if impounded.

Will my driving licence be valid to drive in the EU after March 2019?

In the event of a “no deal” situation, the Department for Transport has indicated that you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU. This would need to be shown in conjunction with your UK driving licence.

The IDP is issued by the Government via Post Offices, so you will need to contact The Post Office for information on how to obtain one (as we cannot issue nor arrange for the issue of IDPs).

It is important to note that there are different types of IDP. Which one you will need will depend on which country you will be driving in:

  • A 1949 Convention IDP covers these EU countries: Spain, Malta and Cyprus; or
  • A 1968 Convention IDP covers all other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland

To drive in Republic of Ireland you should not need an IDP if you hold a UK driving licence as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries.

Whether you are planning on a small trip to France with your family, or you are a haulage or courier business operating in and out of Europe, motor insurance is likely to change. Stay on top of the game by calling our trusted team at Greenways Insurance. Simply call us on 01952 822919 to find out more.

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