Millions of UK motorists wanting to drive in the EU will need to arrange extra documentation in the event of a no-deal Brexit, insurers have warned.
In a scenario that would affect millions of motorists each year, anyone intending to use their vehicles on the continent – or anyone crossing the Irish border by road – will need a ‘Green Card’ if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on March 29.
A Green Card would be provided by your car insurance provider. The cards would be issued free of charge, although insurers may increase their administration fees to reflect the cost of providing them.
Private motorists and companies planning to travel to an EU country after March have been recommended to contact their insurers around a month before travel to get one – or risk breaking the law.
The same rules will apply to European Economic Area (EEA) motorists travelling to the UK.
No-deal waiver yet to ratified by Europe
An agreement between UK and European insurance authorities was struck in May 2018 to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
However, the agreement has not yet been ratified by the European Commission and no timetable is currently in place to address it.
Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “As it looks increasingly possible that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit may happen, we want all insurance customers to know the facts about what this means for them.
“If you live in Northern Ireland and drive to the Republic of Ireland, or if you plan to drive your vehicle to mainland Europe after a no-deal Brexit, you will need a Green Card to prove you are insured.
“You should contact your insurer before you travel in order to get one. This advice applies to businesses as well as individuals.”
There is currently a Green Card-free circulation area covering the EEA and Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.
Systematic border checks of the document as proof of third-party motor insurance have been abolished in the area.
However, in the event of no-deal this would cease to apply for UK drivers until the agreed waiver is ratified – a process that could take many months.
The Department of Transport (DfT) issued guidance to motorists and insurers in September.
Commercial operators with fleet insurance were advised they will need a card for each vehicle.
For countries that require separate trailer insurance, a separate Green Card may be required for the trailer.
No Green Card will mean paying for extra insurance
Without a Green Card, motorists would have to be covered by third-party insurance bought on the spot in the country they are driving in. This would then cover them for driving in any country in the EU, so you wouldn’t need separate cover for each country.
Without it, drivers will not be able to drive and could also be fined.