As the UK and EU continue to search for agreement on Brexit terms one item that may make a re-appearance is the Green Card, which offers proof of valid motor insurance cover when driving abroad.
For younger drivers this will be a new requirement but there are still plenty of UK drivers who will remember the procedure for driving in continental Europe before the UK became part of the EU.
In light of the uncertainty around the Brexit talks and the fact that it can take six weeks to obtain the correct paperwork, the Department of Transport has issued advice and information about the Green Card and how to obtain one. So, if you are planning to take your car to EU and EEA member states, Switzerland, Serbia, Andorra or Ireland after 31 December 2020 you need to understand what you may need to do to comply with European driving laws.
All UK motor insurance policies will continue to provide third-party motor insurance cover for travel to EU and EEA member states so UK motorists will not need to purchase additional third-party motor insurance policy cover to meet that country’s minimum insurance requirements. However, you may still need to contact your insurance broker or company if you want the same level of cover as you have in the UK.
Motorists should contact their Motor Insurance provider six weeks before travel to organise a Green Card for their vehicle and caravan or trailer. Be aware that insurers may charge an administrative fee for this. The cards may be printed and sent out by the insurer or sent by email to the policyholder for printing out at home on white paper. The most important thing to remember is that motorists must carry a physical copy of the Green Card when leaving the UK; electronic versions will not be valid.
In some cases motorists will need to carry multiple Green Cards. Companies with fleet insurance will need to obtain a Green Card for each vehicle. If the vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan, motorists need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer / caravan; be aware that in some countries motorists also need separate trailer insurance.
If a motorist’s policy is due for renewal during the period of travel they will be required to obtain two Green Cards – one for each policy. Where motorists change insurers, they should ask both their current and their new insurer to provide a Green Card. A Green Card is required to cover each vehicle insured under a policy, so motorists will need a one for each individual vehicle included in a multi-car policy.
Motorists may be required to show their Green Card at the border when entering the EU/EEA or moving between EU/EEA member states but this will depend on the border authorities of the relevant country. They may also face police checks while driving abroad and will need to present a Green Card if they are involved in an accident.
The rules will apply equally to EU motorists who will need to carry a Green Card or other valid proof of insurance when driving in the UK from 1 January 2021. Valid insurance discs will be accepted as proof of insurance for Irish motorists driving in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
The Government is still working towards the UK remaining part of the Green Card-free circulation area but this has not yet been agreed. If an agreement is reached then Green Cards will not be required.
In the meantime, if you are planning to take your vehicle overseas next year, or beyond, give us a call on 01494 77 37 77 and let us keep you legal and fully insured.