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How Brexit will affect your car insurance


Who we are

U K Insurance Limited (UKI) was established in 1974 and is an insurer that underwrites policies for many well-known brands. It provides cover for motor, breakdown, home, pet and travel products.

U K Insurance Business Solutions Limited (UKIBS) is a company in the same group that introduces customers to UKI brands for insurance and other products and services.

Introduction

You won’t need a Green Card for any trip that ends with your return to the UK before 11pm on 31st October 2019, as this is the first date a no deal Brexit could occur.

If a Brexit deal is agreed then there will be no change to today’s position and you will be able to move around Europe in the same way as you can today, although you should still contact us to make sure you have the right cover for you (other than for journeys to the Republic of Ireland, where you are covered as standard). You would not then need a Green Card.

If the UK does leave the EU with no deal then whilst this doesn’t change the cover provided by our insurance policies, there is some important information you will need if you’re planning on driving any UK-registered vehicle in the European Economic Area (EEA) and some other countries (Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland). A list of EEA countries is available here.

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  • Q1 What is a Green Card? Do I need one?

    A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary minimum motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to.

    You will need a Green Card to travel anywhere within the EU plus various other countries unless the UK and EU reach a deal. You will need this from the date the UK leaves the EU.

    Please note that a Green Card does not change your cover, it’s evidence of the most basic legal minimum cover. If you want to extend this to have the same level of cover you have in the UK, you should contact us to discuss whether you need a foreign use extension, for which there may be a charge. When you buy a foreign use extension this will automatically include a Green Card.

  • Q2 Which countries will I need a Green Card for?

    Your policy provides the minimum cover (in case you are responsible for injuring someone else or damaging their property) through large parts of Europe. You will need a Green Card if you are driving to any of the following:

    Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

  • Q3 What happens if I don’t have a Green Card? Does it really matter?

    Yes, it does. You may be refused entry to the country or you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution. This would not be covered by your insurance.

  • Q4 Do I need a Green Card for the Republic of Ireland?

    Yes, you will. Because the Republic of Ireland is in the EU, you will need a Green Card to drive there, even though the cover provided by your insurance allows this automatically. This means that if you have our comprehensive cover, you are still covered as normal but need to contact us to get a Green Card.

  • Q5 I live in Northern Ireland, do I need a Green Card too?

    Yes, you will. We realise that customers in Northern Ireland may cross into the EU on a very regular basis so if a no deal Brexit remains a possibility we will issue you a Green Card automatically before the exit date and will send you a new one if you make any relevant changes to your policy, such as a change of car or named drivers. We can email it to you should you need it urgently but you’ll need to print it double-sided, in colour and trim any white borders off. The laws relating to Green Card printing require a full edge-to-edge green background.

    If you change your car or insure it elsewhere, any Green Card we have sent you will no longer be valid.

  • Q6 How much is a Green Card?

    We can send you a Green Card for free. However, this only proves that you have the minimum cover. If you want to extend the cover you have, e.g. to have comprehensive cover abroad, you should contact us to discuss whether you need a foreign use extension. There may be a charge for this.

  • Q7 How do I get a Green Card?

    You should contact us on the number provided in your documents. Because you need a physical document, we recommend you allow two weeks for us to process and send this to you.

    Our lines are open 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sunday.

  • Q8 I am travelling within the next two weeks; can you still help?

    We can email a copy of your Green Card to you. However, you will need to print it double-sided, in colour and trim any white borders off.

    The laws relating to Green Card printing require a full edge-to-edge green background.

  • Q9 I am travelling now or about to go abroad; can you still help?

    If you plan on returning to the UK before the UK leaves the EU then you don’t need to do anything.

    If you will still be abroad after the UK leaves the EU, it’s unclear whether you’ll be expected to be able to present documents or whether allowances will be made by authorities overseas. We can email you a copy of your Green Card, but you’ll need to print it double-sided, in colour and trim any white borders off.

    The laws relating to Green Card printing require a full edge-to-edge green background.

  • Q10 I need to change the details on my Green Card, can I do this myself?

    No, you need to contact us so we can reissue it. Your Green Card needs to match up to our records for you to be covered.

  • Q11 My policy is due to expire while I’m away. What do I do?

    Please contact us, we’ll need to issue a second Green Card for you. You will also need to arrange renewing your policy.

    If you’re switching insurers, you need to speak to both insurers to make sure you have the necessary documents.

  • Q12 If I am towing a trailer or caravan, will I need a separate green card for the trailer?

    Yes, some EEA and EU countries require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for your trailer, including caravans. If you are travelling with a trailer, contact us to get two Green Cards: one for the towing vehicle, and one for the trailer. We recommend you allow two weeks for us to process and send this to you.

  • Q13 Do I need a Green Card for each person? Or for each car?

    You need one Green Card for every car you take into the countries listed above.

  • Q14 Do I need a Green Card if I’m driving a hire car?

    If you hire a vehicle in the UK and drive it abroad, you will need the permission of the hirer and a Green Card from the vehicle’s insurers.

    If you plan on flying abroad and hiring a car when you’re there, then you won’t normally need a Green Card: for instance, if you’re in Spain and travel to Portugal or France. You may still require an International Driving Permit though. However, if you hire a car in the Republic of Ireland and travel to Northern Ireland then you would need a Green Card.

  • Q15 What about my driving licence?

    The rules for driving licences are also changing. You’ll need one or more International Driving Permits, although you do not need an IDP for the Republic of Ireland. IDPs can be obtained from the Post Office, and currently cost £5.50 each. You can find out more here.

  • Q16 Do I need a European Accident Statement form?

    This form has many different names, e.g. it’s known as a “constat amiable” in France and a “DAA” in Spain. It’s not a legal requirement but it’s sensible to print one off and take it with you, as completing it is standard practice in many countries, and it will ensure you understand what the questions are, since the format is identical regardless of language. We include a form in our foreign use extension pack, or you can download and print one here.

  • Q17 Do I need to do anything with my number plate?

    EU GB number plates will no longer be valid. These are plates with a “GB” country identifier (or other UK variations, e.g. Cymru) surrounded by the EU star design. You will need to have a GB (or other UK variation) sticker or a number plate without the EU stars.

  • Q18 Do I need to know anything else about driving in Europe? Where can I get information?

    UK Government advice is here, and you can sign up for updates. You can also get specific country advice here.

  • Q19 What about breakdown cover?

    It’s a good idea to speak to your breakdown provider to check you have cover for taking your car to Europe.

  • Q20 Are passport rules changing?

    Yes. Passport validity rules are changing. You can check if you need to update your passport here. Because many passports may now need updating, you should allow extra time.

  • Q21 What about health? Can I still use my EHIC?

    The European Health Insurance Card allows holders to get reciprocal healthcare at the same terms as nationals of that country – this doesn’t necessarily mean free of charge. It’s likely that EHIC will cease to be valid so it’s especially important to buy travel insurance. If you do have any existing medical conditions, it’s important to discuss them with your insurer.

  • Q22 I’m planning on taking my dog abroad. Do the rules change for this?

    The Pet Passport scheme may be ending for UK holders. You can read about this here, and it’s a good idea to speak to your vet at least four months before you intend to travel.