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Driving to Europe after no-deal Brexit? Don’t forget your Green Card

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January 17, 2019
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Motorists planning a trip to Europe or Southern Ireland following Brexit have been warned they must plan early or risk breaking the law.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said it was becoming more likely than ever that motorists taking their vehicles abroad will have to carry with them a Green Card after a no deal Brexit. 

The original Brexit date of January 31 will now not be met with ministers working towards a new date of April 12 in the event of agreeing no deal or May 22 in the event that Prime Minister Theresa May wins the backing of Parliament before the earlier deadline.

Green Card insurance

Green Cards to be required under EU regulations

Either way, it seems that Green Cards will be required under EU regulations as proof of insurance in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The ABI advised customers to contact their insurer a month before they travel to obtain their Green Card.

Those who travel without one will be breaking the law. The same requirements will apply to EU motorists travelling to the UK.

The organisation says those affected by the change include:

  • People who drive across the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.
  • Anyone planning to take their vehicle to Europe e.g. a family planning a holiday to France in the Easter holidays.
  • Any freight company planning to transport goods into the EU after Brexit.

ABI advises caution over Green Card rule change

Although an agreement between European insurance authorities was made in May 2018 to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it has not been confirmed by the European Commission. With that in mind, the ABI is advising caution and planning on the basis of Green Cards being obligatory.

Travellers are being reassured that travel insurance will continue to work in the normal way, even in the event the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) system that allows people some free healthcare in the EU isn’t replaced.

In the event of severe travel disruption at ports motorists are being advised that ferry companies, travel agents or credit card providers would be the first port of call for financial compensation.

Director General of the ABI, Huw Evans 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.”

Green card insurance

Insurers don’t want a no-deal Brexit

Evans added: “Insurers do not want a ‘no deal’ Brexit; it would be bad for the economy and bad for our customers.

“We continue to hope these arrangements are never needed and urge the Government, UK Parliament and EU27 to agree an orderly way forward.”

How many people will be affected by a change in Green Card rules?
  • The NI Department for the Economy suggests that there are approximately 110 million crossings between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland each year. This includes cars, HGVs and buses/coaches.
  • Eurotunnel Shuttle Services carried 1.6m trucks and 2.6m cars in 2017 (total number; both directions).
  • According to official statistics, in 2017 there were 2.4m HGVs travelling from Great Britain to Europe (excl. NI) and 370,000 HGVs travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.


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