The rules for British drivers on the continent are about to change – are you ready?

The UK’s Brexit transition period is nearly at an end. From 1 January 2021, the rules around driving in the European Union will change; if you regularly drive abroad, it’s time to get prepared.

What’s changing?

The government is currently petitioning the European Commission to allow the UK to remain part of the Green Card-free circulation area post-Brexit. However, a decision has not yet been issued and so, from 1 January 2021, UK motorists will need to prepare for carrying a Green Card (a document that serves as proof of insurance when driving abroad) when driving in:

  • EU member states
  • EEA member states
  • Switzerland
  • Serbia
  • Andorra
  • Ireland

Do I need to take out a new insurance policy?

No – not if you’re only looking to meet minimum insurance requirements. All UK motor insurance policies will continue to provide third-party insurance cover for travel to EU and EEA member states; you will not need to purchase additional third-party cover to meet individual countries’ minimum insurance requirements. However, if you would like the same level of cover as you enjoy in the UK, for example a comprehensive policy, you may need to get in touch with us. No matter what type of policy you have, you’ll still be required by law to carry a Green Card as proof of insurance.

How do I get a Green Card?

Simply get in touch with us at least six weeks before you travel. To make it easier for policyholders, new rules mean that Green Cards no longer have to be printed on green paper, but can be printed on white paper from a home printer. However, if you don’t have a printer, just let us know and we’ll send you a copy in the post.

Remember that an electronic copy of your Green Card will not be accepted; motorists must print out a copy or request the document from us before travelling.

When will I need to show my Green Card?

You may be required to show your Green Card when entering or moving between EU/EEA member states, although this depends on the border authorities of the country you’re in. If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll also need to show your Green Card then.

What if I travel without a Green Card?

If the UK fails to retain access to the Green Card-free zone by the end of the transition period, then it will be illegal to drive abroad without a Green Card from 1 January next year. The consequences of not carrying one could be severe, so make sure you’re prepared. You could be prosecuted, issued a fine, or even have your vehicle seized.

Anything else I should know?

There are some circumstances in which you will need multiple Green Cards to legally travel in the EU. These include:

  • If you have fleet insurance – you’ll need a Green Card per vehicle
  • If you are towing a trailer or caravan – you’ll need one Green Card for your vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan
  • If your policy is up for renewal while travelling, you’ll need a Green Card per policy.

We’ll help you get prepared

Here at BJP, we’re ready and waiting to help you with your Green Card requirements so you’re legally ready to drive in the EU from 1 January 2021. Get in touch with your account manager for expert assistance with the motor insurance documents you’ll need post-Brexit.