General Insurance Article - AA comments on European Union referendum result


Following the momentous decision taken today by United Kingdom voters to leave the European Union, many motorists will want to know how this decision is likely to affect them.

 • Fuel prices, driving in Europe, motor insurance could all be affected, says AA
  
 The AA did not take a position on the referendum and declared it was for members to decide.
  
 The AA stresses there are many unanswered questions and that it will take months, possibly years, to negotiate a complete picture for motoring and the motor industry in the UK.
  
 Fuel Prices
 In terms of the price of petrol at the pumps, there will be a period of instability as the market begins to adjust to the news. With the value of the pound falling by more than 9% overnight and the weaker pound against the dollar fuel prices at the pumps are likely to creep up.
  
 GB Sticker
 For Brits driving abroad, you must display a GB sign and could be fined if you don't, however it is unclear if the GB Euro-plates will still be valid in the EU. Outside the EU, some countries still require a GB sticker even if you have euro-plates, so it is always safer to display one. The letters must be black on a white, elliptical background. They must be at least 80mm high with a stroke width of 10mm.
  
 Breakdown
 There will be no immediate effect on British drivers taking their car over the channel and in terms of roadside assistance on the continent we can assure our members that they will be unaffected. The AA continues to work with the roadside assistance clubs across Europe and will ensure that our members are not left stranded at the roadside.
  
 Motor insurance
 Under current EU legislation, anyone who has a car that they insure can legally drive their car in any other EU country and benefit from the minimum level of insurance cover (usually third party) that applies in the countries visited. Although there will be no immediate change to this arrangement, it could be withdrawn in the longer term.
  
 Many insurers offer an extension of drivers’ comprehensive cover for European travel either free or at a cost. There will be no change to this arrangement for drivers with AA insurance who enjoy up to 90 days cover free of charge in Europe as well as European Economic Area countries such as Switzerland and Norway. Similarly caravan owners will also continue to enjoy unlimited cover throughout Europe.
  
 In December 2012 a new EU directive made it illegal for insurers anywhere in the EU including Britain to base the cost of insurance using gender as a risk factor. That meant that the cost of insurance for men and women equalised – both for life insurance and for car insurance. Potentially, this directive could be reversed following an exit from the EU –
  
 However, the AA doesn’t believe reversal of this directive is likely given that the industry has now adapted well to the new ruling and there would be a significant cost to insurers to do so.
  
 Travel insurance
 There is no change to travel insurance cover for travellers planning to go to Europe and existing policies will continue to be effective. Similarly, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which provides reciprocal health cover in EU countries will continue to apply.
  
 Borders
 At present border controls between the UK and other European countries exist but they are likely to become more onerous. While this might lead to greater delays for travellers and increased bureaucracy it may have much greater implications for the freight transport industry. It could also lead to limits on how much ‘duty free’ could be brought home.
  
 The UK’s only land border with an EU country – the Northern Ireland border – currently has no border controls which allows residents to cross the border at will in order, for example, to benefit from cheaper fuel prices in the Eurozone. It is probable that border controls will once again be imposed between Northern Ireland and Eire.
 Comment
  
 Edmund King OBE, AA president, says : "While the fallout of the referendum result will continue to be discussed, there are lots of points drivers will want to see resolved. As the voice of the motorist we will ensure that their views are heard loud in clear throughout the negotiation process.
  
 "Driving abroad anything can happen but we would like to reassure our members with AA European Breakdown Cover that they will continue to get a first class service coordinated from our control centre in Lyon.
  
 "Fuel prices will be the biggest immediate concern of drivers with the weaker pound and the Chancellor's prediction that leaving the EU would lead to fuel duty increases. We will oppose duty increases and continue to monitor the situation on behalf of our members."

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