General Insurance Article - You may need Green Cards again after Brexit


The prospect of a no-deal Brexit, meaning no transition period, will mean that insurance ‘green cards’ are likely to be required for UK drivers venturing across the Channel or into the Republic of Ireland from 29 March 2019.

 Along with the rest of the industry, the AA is gearing up for issuing green cards in potentially significant numbers which may be needed for entry into mainland Europe, to prove that insurance cover is in place.

 Currently, under EU law, all motor insurance issued in the EU is valid throughout the EU as well as Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland to the minimum that is legally required in each country, usually third party only. Many insurers including the AA, extend their comprehensive cover to countries outside the UK, typically for up to 90 days and there are no plans to change that in future, regardless of the Brexit outcome.

 The green card is a United Nations initiative recognised the world over. Some countries issue green cards electronically as a pdf, which can be printed at home (although it must be printed in colour, ie with a green background, to be legal) and the UK insurance industry is considering whether they can be issued them in this way.

 Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance says: “Around 4.7 million drivers take their cars into Europe each year, excluding commercial traffic and I see no reason why that should change even after a hard Brexit.

 “Insurers already issue green cards for drivers taking their cars beyond European borders and some ask for one for the additional comfort they provide in proving, if needed, that their car is insured. The green card is, after all, essentially a multi-language translation of your insurance certificate set out in an internationally recognisable format.

 “Cover that you have isn’t going to suddenly stop at midnight on 28th March but it would be prudent to ask your insurer for a green card before you go, if you expect to be away on that date.

 “Although there may be more queueing at ferry ports as documents are checked when leaving and re-entering the UK, once in Europe there is no restriction in driving across borders. No-one is going to single out British drivers when they travel between say, France and Belgium.

 “I see no need to change your travel plans because of Brexit.”

 The AA also points out that in the event of no Brexit transition, International Driving Permits (IDP) are also likely to be needed. From 1st February, these will only be available from Post Offices by applying in person. Currently the AA issues them by mail order.

 Two different types will apply:

 A ‘1949 Convention’ IDP for Republic of Ireland, Spain, Malta, Cyprus or,
 A ‘1968 Convention’ IDP for all other EU countries and for Norway and Switzerland
 If driving via France to Spain, therefore, drivers will need to take both types. 

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