What is a car insurance ‘green card’ and will you need one post-Brexit?

Once the UK leaves the EU, motorists may need a car insurance 'green card' to drive in Europe – here’s how you can apply after Brexit

GB sticker

Under current EU car insurance rules it's easy for Brits to drive in Europe. Although some countries that require you to carry proof of insurance cover, it's fine for that to be your UK insurance certificate.

With the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020, however, it’s highly likely that UK residents driving on the continent will need an insurance green card.

Driving abroad: everything you need to know 

A motor insurance green card is a document produced by car insurers to prove that a driver has adequate insurance cover for driving abroad. Applying for one is a simple matter of contacting your insurer and asking but there are some important things you need to know. Below we’ve compiled a guide to the car insurance green card and how you can get one as quickly and easily as possible...

Get your green card application in sooner rather than later

After Brexit, there may well be more green card applications from UK motorists looking to drive in the EU. The administration process takes time this delay could grow with the increase in demand. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to get all your paperwork in order and contact your insurer as soon as possible, especially if you intend to drive in the EU soon after 29 March.

Andy Morton, general manager at Herts Insurance Consultants, which offers dedicated green card insurance, says his company’s call centre has been “inundated” with enquiries about driving in Europe in recent months. Morton is concerned “there are motorists who aren’t aware of the extra paperwork and the administration that’s involved” in driving in the EU post-Brexit.

It’s also worth noting you may need an International Driving Permit – which you can apply for at the Post Office – to go with your green card.

The green card must be printed on green paper. Strange as it may seem, a green card must be printed on green paper in order to be valid.

International driving permit: everything you need to know

In order to save time, it’s not unusual for insurance companies to email the green card and supporting documents to the motorist.

If you receive your green card in this manner, you must make sure you print it out on green paper, or else it won’t be valid when you go to use it at the border or are required to produce it by police.

Make sure your green card is valid for the country you’re visiting

UK motorists visiting more than one EU country will have to ensure that their green card covers them for all the countries they plan to visit. For example, if you’re driving through France and into Spain, you will need valid documentation for both countries.

With some European road trips taking in a number of different countries with different regulations. European Economic Area (EEA) includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and as such will require different passes to enter. Make sure you do the research and comply with the rules everywhere you visit. If you already live in the EU, driving licence rules will stay the same until at least 31 December 2020. Your rights will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. 

The green card must have a minimum of 15 days’ cover left on it

In the same way that a passport has to have at least six months’ left before its expiry date if you want to travel abroad with it, a green card must have a minimum of 15 days of cover left on it when you enter an EU country – even if you’re just on a day trip.

If there is less than 15 days’ worth of cover left on the document, you will have to renew it before you travel.

If you are planning a road trip to France, Italy or Spain then read our helpful guide here...

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