The Green Card explained
In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on 29 March 2019, UK motorists planning to drive in Europe will need a Green Card. Use our handy guide to ensure you’re well in the know.
What is the Green Card and why do I need it?
The Green Card is an internationally accepted 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.
Do I need a Green Card if I am driving in the EU before 29 March 2019, but not returning to the UK until after 29 March 2019?
Yes. You would need to contact your insurer prior to driving in the EU to issue a Green Card as you will still be driving in the EU on or after 29 March 2019
I live in Northern Ireland and travel to the Republic of Ireland. Do I need a Green Card?
Yes, Northern Irish motorists will still need a Green Card to drive over the border.
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.
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 29 March 2019, you will need to contact your insurer or broker.
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 tow a trailer?
Yes, you can tow 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 your insurer or broker who will explain how many you require.
Will I need a Green Card to drive in Europe?
You will need a Green Card if there is a ‘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 been ratified by the European Commission.
Will my driving licence be valid to drive in the EU after 29 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 Government for information on how to obtain one (as Insurers or Brokers cannot issue IDPs).
It is important to note that there are different types of IDP. Which one you’ll 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 the 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 a haulage or courier business operating in and out of Europe or planning on a small trip to France with your family, motor insurance is likely to change. Give us a call on 01444 810 088 to find out more.
This is BC’s interpretation of information obtained from the various sources stated and should only be used as a guide. BC do not accept responsibility for misinterpretation of the information provided and you should therefore seek specific advice from your insurers and government websites in order to verify your own personal circumstances.