On 30 June 2021 the European Commission announced UK drivers will no longer be required to carry a Green Card when entering EU countries.

On 1 January 2021, at the end of the Brexit transition period, a requirement was introduced for motorists with UK-registered vehicles to present a Green Card on entering the EU, including the Republic of Ireland. However this requirement has now been waived both for personal and commercial vehicle drivers.

The Green Card, an international certificate of insurance, shows that motorists have the minimum compulsory motor insurance required by the country they are visiting. It was required in addition to a driver’s usual Certificate of Motor Insurance. For those with multi-car or fleet insurance, the requirement was one Green Card per vehicle on the policy. Motorists failing to present this proof could risk a fine, prosecution or having their vehicle seized.

Why has this change been made?

There are likely several reasons why the Green Card decision has been reversed, one being the amount of red tape involved in implementing the rule. However the decision appears to have been made predominantly in the context of the Northern Ireland Protocol which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, with the move part of an agreement struck by Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and the European Commission.

The scrapping of the Green Card is also something the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has been campaigning for, believing that the UK should remain part of the Green Card free circulation zone for the benefit of drivers, road hauliers and insurers. The ABI’s Director General, Huw Evans, said the move will help reduce bureaucracy and will be “especially welcomed by motorists in Northern Ireland driving across the border”1 which includes 25,000 people who regularly commute across it1.

When will the new rule apply?

The new rule came into effect on 2 August 2021. The advice from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) is for Insurers to continue to issue motor insurance green cards for a limited period after the effective date to allow the news to filter through. We would recommend that green cards are requested for trips that commence prior to 1st October 2021 but they should not be required after this date.

Please remember, however, if you are taking your own vehicle abroad, not all insurance policies will give the same level of cover as you have in the UK. For driving in EU countries UK vehicle insurance typically gives a minimum of third party cover but it is wise to check with your insurer or broker if you are covered for things like theft or damage to your vehicle.

To find out more or if you have any questions regarding your vehicle insurance please get in touch with your Gallagher representative.

1. https://www.insurancetimes.co.uk/news/insurance-industry-backs-ec-decision-to-scrap-green-card-requirement-for-uk-drivers/1438013.article
2. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/uk-drivers-no-longer-required-to-carry-green-card-insurance-in-eu-1.4608075

The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.