THE prospect of a no-deal Brexit, meaning no transition period, will mean insurance ‘green cards’ will be required for UK drivers venturing across the Channel or into the Republic of Ireland from March 29, 2019.

The car industry is gearing up for issuing green cards in potentially significant numbers which may be needed for entry into mainland Europe, to prove insurance cover is in place.

Currently, under EU law, all motor insurance issued in the EU is valid throughout the EU as well as Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland to the minimum that is legally required in each country, usually third party only.  

Many insurers extend their comprehensive cover to countries outside the UK, typically for up to 90 days, and there are no plans to change that in future, regardless of the Brexit outcome.

What is a green card?

A green card is an international certificate of insurance which proves your UK motor insurance policy provides you with the minimum compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country you’re visiting.

In addition to the basic cover, it gives you, some insurers may also match all the additional benefits of your policy for up to 90 days in certain countries (see below).

Some Insurers will be able to provide you with a green card at no extra cost, but you must contact your insurance provider before you travel to request one. A green card is unlikely to be issued to customers automatically, and you may not be granted entry to a country outside the UK without one.

Note that some insurers require anything between two weeks and a month’s notice to process your request.

Where will my policy cover me after March 29?

Once insurance companies have issued you with a green card, your policy is most likely to cover you when driving in the following areas after March 29:

  • Countries in the European Union (EU)
  • Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Switzerland
  • Andorra
  • Serbia

I’m travelling outside the UK and returning before the 29th March

You do not need a green card to drive your vehicle in the above countries between now and March 29

I’m travelling outside the UK soon and returning after the 29th March

You will need a green card to drive in the above named countries after March 29. Contact your insurance provider before you travel to request one.

I’m travelling outside the UK after March 29

If you are travelling to Europe after March 29, you will require a green card to start from your travel date. This can be done nearer your time of travel or when is convenient for you.

Remember, some insurers require between two weeks and a month’s notice to process your request.
To request a green card, call your insurance company.

What’s the car industry saying?

A spokesperson for the AA says: “Cover that you have isn’t going to suddenly stop at midnight on March 28, but it would be prudent to ask your insurer for a green card before you go, if you expect to be away on that date.

“Although there may be more queueing at ferry ports as documents are checked when leaving and re-entering the UK, once in Europe, there is no restriction in driving across borders. No-one is going to single out British drivers when they travel between, say, France and Belgium.

“I see no need to change your travel plans because of Brexit.”