Driving in Europe post-Brexit. What you need to know.

Mar 28, 2019

Uncertainty remains on whether the UK leaves the European Union without a ‘no-deal Brexit’.

In the event of no deal, a Green Card will be required for all vehicles which travel in the EU after 29 March to prove that you have the required insurance, regardless of the level of motor cover provided on your policy.

Green Cards are international certificates of insurance issued by insurance providers, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary minimum motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to.

Who will be affected?

An individual Green Card will be needed for each vehicle registration, regardless of whether it is part of a fleet. Special attention will also need to be paid to the differences between countries’ rules; for example, trailers and vehicles are usually considered one unit within the UK, but in some European Union member states there is a need to specify the trailer being used with an identification number.

Travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland is a particular issue, with a high number of vehicles regularly crossing the border each day. Not having a physical copy of a Green Card means motorists would not have proof of insurance and would be in breach of the law. There is also the likelihood that documentation such as Green Cards will be rigorously checked at border check points.

If you are planning to be driving your vehicle in the EU on or after 29 March 2019, please contact us before you plan to travel so we can contact insurers to issue you with a Green Card.

We will need to organise a physical hard copy to be posted to you so please allow enough time to enable this to arrive before you travel.

Other Changes for UK Citizens

UK citizens will need additional documentation to drive within the European Union or European Economic Area. A no deal outcome will mean UK citizens must carry both a UK driving licence and the correct International Driving Permit to drive in EU/EEA countries.

Changes for Commercial Drivers

The government stated that commercial drivers will also need updated documentation to drive within the EU/EEA in the event of a no-deal. Although UK lorry drivers with international routes to and from the EU/EEA currently must have an international operator’s licence and a community licence, some countries may not recognise this documentation in a no-deal.

To prepare for this possibility, UK operators need to have a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) international road haulage permit for international travel.

Lorry drivers should also consider exchanging their UK Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) for an EU Driver CPC, which they can do by applying to the relevant body in an EU or EEA country.

To summarise

The Green Card situation in the event of a hard Brexit is as follows:

  • The driver will need to obtain an International Driving Permit from the Post Office.
  • Cars will need specific Green Cards with the dates of travel noted. Underwriters want to know the countries being driven in (although the Green Card will be issued for the whole of the EEA).
  • The alternative to specific trip-length Green Cards will be for an annual Green Card to be issued for each vehicle and insurers may charge a significant additional premium for this.
  • Goods vehicles operators will need an ECMT international road haulage permit.

Clearly this situation is fluid and might change in the event of a deal or a transition period.

If you have any questions relating to your motor insurance please do not hesitate to contact your account executive on 01638 660651

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