Brexit looks increasingly unlikely to happen, as both the EU and UK politicians scramble to make sure the UK continues to remain in the single market, subject to Brussels regulations and European Court of Justice decisions. Name one concession that the EU 27 negotiators have made in the last two years? That’s correct, zero is the answer.
However, a large section of the UK electorate need to be convinced that Britain HAS in fact left the EU somehow. One of the best ways to achieve this is to introduce a new range of pettifogging rules, paperwork and box-ticking so beloved of the political elite. One such area is the introduction of Green Cards for vehicle owners travelling to the EU after March 2019.
Here’s the official verbiage from the Department of Transport:
If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place regarding the implementation period and future arrangements, access to the Green Card-free circulation area would cease. This would mean that UK motorists would need to carry a Green Card as proof of third party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.
Travel to the EEA
Even in a no deal scenario, all UK motor insurance providers will continue to be required to provide third party motor insurance cover for travel to EEA countries. If you are a UK motorist, you will, therefore, not need to purchase additional third party motor insurance policy cover when travelling to these countries with a UK-registered vehicle. You would continue to hold the same third party cover that you do now.
The validity of UK Green Cards in these countries is subject to agreements that need to be reached between the UK’s Motor Insurers’ Bureau and the relevant National Insurers’ Bureaux. These agreements ensure Green Cards are recognised and facilitate the settlement of claims for traffic accident victims.
You should expect documentation checks to be carried out when entering these countries.
You can request a Green Card from your insurance provider free of charge, but insurers may decide to reflect production and handling costs in a small increase to their administration fees.
If you have 2 insurance policies covering the duration of your trip (because the policy renews whilst you are away), you must ensure you have the correct documentation (1 or 2 Green Cards may be required).
If you are a commercial operator and have fleet insurance, you must ensure you have Green Cards for each vehicle. Some countries also require separate trailer insurance to that of the towing vehicle, which means a separate Green Card may be required for your trailer.
Without a Green Card, you would have to purchase local insurance in the country you are entering (also known as frontier insurance). This provides proof of third party motor insurance cover for a UK-registered vehicle in that country for a limited period of time (the period of validity varies depending on policy purchased). However, due to high costs and limited availability of frontier insurance across these countries, we recommend that you obtain and carry a Green Card to ensure minimum requirements for motor insurance cover are met.
If you don’t have proof of third party motor insurance cover, you may not be able to drive in that country. You may also be fined according to the law of that country.
Please note that you do not need to request a Green Card yet. If Green Cards are required, this will be communicated to you at an appropriate time.
Insurance providers should plan for a scenario where no deal is reached and where they will need to provide for a much higher number of Green Cards. This involves ensuring their current administrative systems are suitable for an increased demand from UK motorists.
Insurance Edge Comment:
Is any of this nonsense really necessary in an age of email, apps and electronic documents? Of course not. But common sense has no bearing on this process, because in the end Brussels needs to make very awkward for Britons, so that other nations will be too scared to leave the EU cartel…sorry, trading bloc.
Hugh Savill, Director of Regulation at the Association of British Insurers, said:
“The Government and motor insurance bodies across Europe have already agreed a plan to keep the UK in the EU’s car insurance zone – the timeframes simply need rubber-stamping by the European Commission. We hope the Commission gets on with this as soon as possible to protect motorists and haulage operators, here and in Europe, from the unnecessary hassle and cost of having to return to a Green Card system.”