No-deal Brexit means the return of the Green Card

What a no-deal Brexit could mean

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, and without any agreement to the contrary, the UK’s participation in the free circulation zone will come to a swift end the moment the transition agreement expires on 31st December 2020.

This means that every driver taking their vehicle to the European Economic Area (EEA) (plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland) after this date will have to carry a Green Card – a free of charge document that guarantees and evidences the minimum motor insurance cover legally required for driving in the countries visited.

Please note that a Green Card may still be required irrespective of whether there is a deal or not.

Important information about Green Cards

  • Green Cards apply to the registration number of the vehicle rather than the driver.
  • Green Cards are issued for a minimum period of 15 days. If clients are making frequent and/or lengthy trips abroad, consider talking to them at renewal about arranging an annual Green Card for the vehicle(s) in question.
  • A Green Card only confirms that the vehicle has the minimum level of cover legally required in the countries within which your client is travelling.
  • It is the driver of the vehicle that is responsible for carrying a Green Card, even if the driver is an employee. No employee should drive a vehicle abroad without first having received a Green Card provided by their employer.
  • If clients drive abroad without physically holding a printed Green Card, they may be prosecuted for driving without insurance, fined and have their vehicle impounded.

When a client requires a Green Card

  • Clients should be encouraged to contact their insurance broker in good time before they travel outside the UK (including to the Republic of Ireland as well as mainland Europe), so that you can arrange a Green Card with their insurer and ensure issue prior to their departure. The more notice they give you, the better.
  • Clients must provide their name, policy number, vehicle registration number, the dates when they’ll be abroad, who will be driving the vehicle and the countries they’ll be visiting.
  • You should ascertain whether clients will be taking any form of trailer, for example, an articulated vehicle, a draw-bar trailer, a caravan etc. If they are intending to take a trailer, you must ascertain the trailer registration mark where relevant and contact their insurer to arrange for the issue of a separate Green Card for the trailer.
  • If the Green Card is provided to the client as an e-mailed PDF, ensure you remind your client that they must print it out and take it with them as a hard-copy (despite the name, a Green Card can now be printed on white paper).
  • A Green Card only confirms that the vehicle has the minimum level of cover legally required in the countries within which your client is travelling. Clients are likely to require the same level of cover whilst abroad as they enjoy in the UK, therefore in addition to arranging a Green Card, you should discuss this with your client and then contact their insurer to increase their cover for the relevant period.
  • If your client’s motor insurance policy is due to expire during the Green Card period, you will need to ensure they are issued with two Green Cards, one up to renewal date and the other covering the period post-renewal date.

For information published by the FCA for consumers, visit www.fca.org.uk/consumers/how-brexit-could-affect-you

For information about the possible requirement for an International Driving Permits, visit
www.gov.uk/driving-abroad/international-driving-permit

For the latest Brexit transition advice about passports and health insurance, go to
www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

For further Brexit-related advice, go to www.gov.uk/transition

Our Guide to Brexit and your business – click here