What You Need To Know About Driving Abroad After Brexit


September 2018

What You Need To Know About Driving Abroad After Brexit

Following Brexit green cards could be required to drive in the EU, with administrative costs issued by insurers.

Currently, when driving within the EU, it is not required to carry proof of car insurance, but this could change with a no-deal Brexit.

In the case of a no-deal Brexit, UK drivers might be required to carry ‘green cards’ in order to drive within the EU. These green cards would be “issued by insurance providers to hire and drive in the EU on top of a full driver’s license”. UK drivers may be reassured to learn that their current insurance will still cover them for driving in the EU, but extra “paperwork and border checks” could be implemented.

With a no-deal Brexit, it is expected that production and handling costs for insurers will rise. Consequently, the insurance providers who currently issue the green cards for free could begin to add an administrative cost to the card.

Insurance Times has reported on the Department of Transport’s (DfT) recent publication of six technical notices about what the future might hold if there is a no-deal Brexit. The DfT explains that a “positive deal” is still actively being pursued, but warned that if this does not occur, UK driving licenses “may no longer be valid in the EU without a green card”. However, it should be noted that the DfT is looking for a deal that will allow “private and commercial” motorists to continue driving without the added green card.

Hugh Savill, of The Association of British Insurers, has assured that both the UK government and European insurance providers have “already agreed a plan to keep the UK in the EU’s car insurance zone”, which would remove the risk of increased insurance costs or returning to the green card system.

However, if there is a return to green cards, the UK will be confronted with travel restrictions that have not been experienced for decades.

Janet Connor, the director of insurance for AA, has explained that drivers are currently able to cross the channel and drive throughout the EU if they possess “a valid and EU-compliant driving licence and passport”. However, she warns that a no-deal Brexit could require drivers to secure a green card before leaving England, or risk being fined within the EU. An alternative to the green card is to “purchase local insurance in the country you are entering, also known as frontier insurance” to prevent fines. Green cards are the recommended option though, as frontier insurance can prove difficult and expensive to obtain.

Connor added that the same green card rules would also apply to those EU drivers coming into the UK. Though there is uncertainty over how these documents would be checked, “the Government has made it clear that they will not check items at the border, so it needs to declare who will check them and where”.

While the addition of a green card would be an added hassle for private drivers, the effect on industry and small business would be far greater, creating “a further layer of bureaucratic difficulty to cross-border trading”.

It is still hoped that a positive deal can be agreed upon, but Connor advises that if you are wanting to travel on or after 29 March 2019, you should check first with your insurer.