With the current uncertainty on whether there will be a ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ Brexit it is important to understand what legal changes may occur from 29th March which, in turn, will have an effect on motor insurance policies.
If the UK leaves the EU on 29th March without a withdrawal agreement in place (ie a ‘no deal’ scenario) and you are intending to be driving in EU and/or EEA countries (and certain other countries described below) from this date you will need to ensure you are carrying a physical Green Card document. This is an international certificate of motor insurance which guarantees a motorist has the necessary legal minimum motor insurance cover for travel in the country they are visiting. It may be required to be produced at border checks or if the local police or authorities stop a vehicle while being driven. The Green Card will be required regardless of whether the journey is for business or personal purposes.
Green Cards are issued by the relevant insurance companies. In order to produce the document the following information is required:
- Reason for travel – ie social, domestic or pleasure/business excluding hire or reward/business including hire or reward (which must be a use already insured under the policy);
- Start and end date of travel (which must be within the current insurance policy cover period);
- Vehicle registration number (which must be a vehicle already insured under the policy);
- Vehicle make, model and type;
- Countries being visited (including those being driven through to reach the final destination);
- Main driver name (who must fall in to the category of who is already insured to drive under the policy);
- All other potential driver names (who must fall in to the category of who is already insured to drive under the policy).
If we arrange the motor insurance policy on your behalf, please contact ourselves with this information in good time in order that we can obtain the Green Card from your insurance company and be able to post this to you in advance of the journey beginning. It is likely that insurers will take at least a few days to administer the Green Card, therefore, it is crucial we are notified of the journey as early as possible. If you try to enter (or are already driving in) an EU or EEA country on or after 28th March you are running the risk of being denied entry or denied permission to drive in the relevant country.
It is expected insurance companies will be under heavy administrative pressure in late March with Green Card requests at what is already the busiest time of the year in the insurance market, therefore, the earlier a request is made, the better.
Motor insurance companies have advised they are willing to issue Green Cards now even if it transpires they are not legally required, therefore, if you are planning to be driving your vehicle(s) in the EU or EEA (and certain other countries as described below) from 29th March, our recommendation is to obtain a Green Card at the earliest opportunity.
More information on Green Cards can be found at https://www.mib.org.uk/making-a-claim/accidents-in-the-uk-involving-a-foreign-registered-vehicle/green-card-system-explained/
In addition to the motor vehicle itself, if you are towing a trailer this will require its own Green Card. In order to qualify for a Green Card the trailer must already be insured under the current motor insurance policy and certain types of trailers must also be registered with the DVLA from 28th March before travel to or through most EU and EEA countries.
All commercial trailers weighing over 750kg and all non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg must be registered with the DVLA. There is also the option to voluntarily register non-commercial trailers over 750kg.
Trailers which are only to be used within the UK or between the UK and Ireland do not require to be registered with the DVLA.
Further information on this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trailer-registration .
If you need to obtain a Green Card for a trailer, in addition to the above information, we will require the following in order to arrange this with the insurance company:
- Trailer registration;
- Make and type of trailer;
- Trailer weight.
International Driving Permit (IDP)
In addition to a Green Card, drivers with UK driving licences travelling in the EU and/or EEA may also need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IPD). The UK currently issues three types of IDP. The type of IDP depends on the country you are driving in. Some countries will stop recognising certain types of IPD from 28th March and you may require to obtain an alternative type of IDP.
Further information on this can be found at:
Countries Potentially Affected
The countries affected by the changes described above are as follows:
European Union (EU) Countries – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
European Economic Area (EEA) Countries – Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Norway
Additional Countries – Andorra, Serbia, Switzerland
Other European countries already require a Green Card (and potentially trailer registration and an IDP)
If you intend to be driving in any such countries (including driving through a country as well as the final destination) please review what Green Card, Trailer Registration and International Driving Permit requirements you will have.
We’re Happy to Help
If you have any queries on the content of this communication or other insurance related matters please contact your CCRS Account Director.