Driving in the EU in 2021? Then you need a Green Card!

While the Coronavirus pandemic has dominated much of the headlines of 2020, another major event that should be on our minds now is Brexit.

While the UK has been part of the EU, drivers have benefited from being part of the Green Card Free Zone, meaning they didn’t need to carry a Green Card when driving to other European Economic Area (EEA) countries. At the moment, there is no agreement for the UK to participate in the Green Card Free Zone post-Brexit and, as a result, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) states that “anyone taking their vehicle to the EU will be required to carry with them a Green Card”.

If you’re a haulier or drive in Europe as part of your business and are still planning to after 31st December, it is especially important that you familiarise yourself with the rules now.  To support you, we’ve answered some of your burning FAQs ahead of the transition period ending.

What is a Green Card?

The ABI defines the Green Card as “an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the law of the country visited.” Put simply, it means a driver can legally use their vehicle in the EU.

It is worth noting, if you’re towing a trailer or caravan, you will need a separate Green Card from the one for your vehicle for the trailer or caravan.

How do I get a Green Card? 

If you’re planning a trip to an EEA country after 31st December, please get in touch with us, so we can obtain a Green Card for you. The ABI recommends doing this a month before your journey. If you have a multi-car policy, you will need a Green Card to cover each car, as one card only covers the registration of a single vehicle.

Do I need to print My Green Card on green paper?

It is no longer a requirement for them to be printed on green paper or card. A Green Card printed on white paper will be valid.

Can I show a digital copy?

You must carry a physical copy of your Green Card with you when driving in the EU post-Brexit, a digital version on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop will not be acceptable.

What should I do if my policy renews while I’m away?

You will need two cards, one for each policy. If you are changing insurer at your renewal, don’t

forget to ask us to help you obtain a Green Card from both insurers, so you can continue to abide by the rules.

What do I need to do if I’m travelling to the Republic of Ireland?

The ABI has highlighted that 30,000 drivers who travel across the Republic of Ireland border may be caught out come 1st January 2021 if they don’t have a Green Card. The ABI said: “However, when the transition period ends then UK motorists will be required to carry Green Cards for driving in the Republic and other EU states, unless the European Commission agrees that the UK can remain in the Green Card scheme.”

For motorists who drive across the border without a card, the ABI has warned: “This means that you will be failing to comply with the legal requirement in the Republic (or other EU country) to carry a Green Card, and will risk having your vehicle seized, and facing prosecution.”  

Did you know it is no longer a legal requirement for you to carry a disposable breathalyser kit in your vehicle when travelling to France? The French Government has decided to scrap the law.