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Car insurance green card: what is it and will you need one post-Brexit?

Car Buyer logo Car Buyer 18/03/2019 Ben Custard
a car parked on the side of a road: Car insurance green card: what is it and will you need one post-Brexit? © Carbuyer Car insurance green card: what is it and will you need one post-Brexit?

The current EU car insurance regulations ensure it's simple for Brits to drive in Europe. Certain countries require you to carry proof you have the correct insurance cover to drive in Europe. After the UK leaves the EU, though, it’s likely that this will change with a motor insurance green card becoming a requirement for all European road-trips.

What is an insurance green card, and how do you get one?

A motor insurance green card is a document that you can obtain from your insurance company proving you have valid insurance cover to drive in Europe. Depending on when and how the UK leaves the EU, it is highly likely that post-Brexit, all UK drivers will be required to have one when driving in Europe.

Applying for an insurance green card is a simple process. All you need to do is contact your insurance company, and they’ll provide one - either by post or email. Unlike an International Driving Permit (IDP), green cards are free. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll get one instantly, as many insurance providers require at least 14 days’ notice to get one issued to you.

If you’re likely to be driving in Europe soon after Brexit, we’d recommend getting a green card as soon as possible. After the 29th March or the 30th June if Brexit is extended, it’s expected that many more people will be requesting a green card potentially leading to lengthy processing times.

a person sitting in a car © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited Why do I need one?

You’ll need to make sure you have a green card in a no-deal Brexit scenario, as you could be fined or denied access to the country you’re trying to enter without one. It’s worth noting that a green card will be needed for all EU and EEA states, plus Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.

If you are planning on visiting more than one country, you will need to check that your green card is valid for all of the countries you plan to drive through. For example, if you intend to visit both France and Spain, you will need valid documentation for both countries.

So if you plan on visiting multiple countries on your road-trip, it's worth doing your research and checking with your insurance company to ensure you comply with the regulations of each country you plan to visit.

a hand holding a cellphone in front of a car © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited Anything else to know?

To be valid, an insurance green card must have at least 15 days’ worth of cover remaining, even if you’re only heading into Europe for one day. Also, all green cards must be printed on green paper which is worth bearing in mind if you receive one by email and need to print it at home.

If you’re going to be towing a trailer abroad, some EU and EEA countries require two separate green cards - one for the trailer, and another for the vehicle that’s towing it. Ask your insurance provider about this if you’ll be taking a trailer with you onto the continent.

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