Should the UK leave the EU in a no-deal scenario on that date, in the absence of further guidance on the subject, UK motorists will need to ensure they obtain and carry a Green Card to drive in the European Economic Area (EEA)2 as well as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland (collectively referred to as the “countries in scope”).
This may include:
- Those driving across the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.
- Co-operation and agreement between the UK Government and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland means that drivers from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland will not require a Green Card.
- Anyone planning to take their vehicle to any country in scope. Any freight company planning to transport goods into any country in scope after the date of Brexit. Anyone travelling into any country in scope before but not returning until after the date of Brexit.
- From 28 March 2019, all commercial trailers weighing over 750kg and non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg must be registered with the DVLA before travel to or through any country in scope and a separate Green Card will be required for these.
- Please note regardless of the outcome of Brexit the following countries still require drivers to carry a physical copy of a Green Card when travelling through as they are not countries in scope: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Drivers with a UK driving licence travelling in any country in scope also need to obtain an IDP (International Driving Permit) depending on length of stay and European countries being visited. Depending on which country they’re going through, whether a photo card or paper driving licence is held, will depend if more than one IDP is required. Further guidance on each country’s IDP requirements can be found on the Department for Transport page below:
1. What’s a Green Card & who needs one?
A Green card is an international certificate of insurance that’s issued by UK insurance providers. It guarantees drivers third-party motor insurance cover for driving in Europe.
Currently, UK drivers travelling to Europe with their own vehicle are not required to carry a Green Card. However, in case of a no-deal Brexit, and in the absence of any further guidance, a physical copy of the Green Card will be required for travel within Europe. An electronic copy will not suffice. If a PDF copy is sent electronically, it MUST be printed on green paper prior to departure. A black and white copy is not acceptable because it would not meet the required format and therefore may not be accepted when checked.
A Green Card will be needed for any motor vehicle and to all forms of motor insurance – including private, commercial, motor trade and motor fleet policies. A Green Card is required to cover the registration number of the individual vehicle, so a Green Card will be needed to cover each vehicle insured under one policy when being driven in the any country in scope.
If drivers travel in any country in scope post Brexit without a valid Green Card they may be breaking the law and may be accused of driving without insurance. Additionally, the driver could be subject to a fine, have their vehicle seized or face prosecution.
If a driver is taking a vehicle to any country in scope for less than 12 months, the following registration documents should be carried:
- Vehicle log book (V5C) if they have one
- A VE103 to show they’re allowed to use the hired or leased vehicle abroad
2. The 4th Motor Insurance Directive and the impact post Brexit
When the UK leaves the EU, whether with a deal or not, it will very likely be withdrawn from the Protection of Visitors Scheme introduced by the 4th Motor Insurance Directive (Directive).
This arrangement is, in effect a mirror image of the Green Card system whereby the Green Card is mainly designed as a protection of a victim suffering damages in his own country, caused by a foreign vehicle. The Protection of Visitors scheme aims to protect the victim of a road traffic accident in another Member State than the one in which he had his normal residence.
This Directive was put in place to ensure that claims would be easier to manage for an EU driver whilst abroad in another country in scope by allowing claims to be perused in their own country of residence thereby simplifying the route to compensation.
It requires each insurer to nominate a representative in each territory and that representative is responsible for settling claims in that territory on behalf of the foreign insurer who appointed it.
It also requires the member state to put in place a Compensation Body and Information Centre – the MIB fulfils these roles in the UK. The Compensation body would step in, in the event that the foreign insurer hasn’t appointed a representative, the representative has failed to respond within 3 months, the information centre is unable to identify the third party vehicle (an uninsured driver).
a. What happens after Brexit?
The UK will likely withdraw from the ‘Directive’ so the MIB have asked the other countries in scope to sign a Bilateral Protection of Visitors Agreement (BPoVA) to facilitate the continuation of the current arrangements.
Currently most countries have agreed to the BPoVA however there are a handful who are yet to sign. A full list of countries can be found on
An important non-signatory is France as France is a major entry point to the EU. 2.5 million Vehicles travel to the EU each year, the majority enter via France.
Should a driver be involved in an accident in France it is expected that the Insurers would still pursue a claim but would have to do so in France. Any uninsured expenses would have to be pursued by the claimant via the French legal system.
Similarly, any accident by an uninsured/ untraceable vehicle would have to be pursued through the French system.
The only remedy recommended is to ensure that fleet policies are accompanied by a Legal Expenses policy of good standard and ensure that the client has personal accident cover in force.
3. Talk to us
Green cards are supplied by the insurer and can be obtained by submitting a request to us as early as possible before travelling abroad. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, those who travel without one may be in breach of the law.
Contact your usual Gallagher contact as soon as possible so we can understand your requirements and help you make the necessary arrangements in plenty of time
4. Further Information
Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit:
Travelling to the EU in case of a No-Deal Brexit:
- A no-deal Brexit means the exit of the UK from the EU without a deal and with no transitional agreement in place.
- Where reference is made to “EEA” in this document, we deem that to include (for the sake of brevity), countries located in the European Union and the three countries of the European Economic Area (“EEA”) – Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland.