Driving in the EU in 2021? You’ll need a Green Card


*Please note that the information in this article may no longer be accurate due to changes to the Green Card rules for British drivers in the EU. You can find the most recent information on green cards here.

While the Coronavirus pandemic dominated much of the headlines last year, the end of 2020 shifted the focus to the post-Brexit talks. On 31st December 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the EU, which means there are a new set of laws for driving in Europe.

As part of the EU, UK drivers used to benefit 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. However, this is no longer the case.

In the months leading up to Brexit, there was no agreement in place for the UK to continue participating in the Green Card Free Zone. In preparation, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) informed all British drivers that anyone taking their vehicle to the EU will be required to carry with them a Green Card”.

This has now become the reality. Therefore, if you’re planning on taking your vehicle to Europe in the future, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the new rules. 

To support you, we’ve listed answers to some of the common FAQs below.

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 that UK drivers can use their vehicles 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, please get in touch with us – your personal client manager will be able to obtain a Green Card for you through your insurer. The ABI recommends doing this up to six weeks before your journey to allow enough time for it to come through.

Likewise, 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 still 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. It’s important to remember that 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 vehicle insurance 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 an estimated 30,000 drivers who travel across the Republic of Ireland border may be caught out this year if they don’t have a Green Card, stating that UK motorists will be required to carry Green Cards for driving in the Republic and other EU states.”

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.”  

Do you need a Green Card? Speak with your personal client manager or call us on 0121 248 9440 for help with your application.

*Please note that the information in this article may no longer be accurate due to changes to the Green Card rules for British drivers in the EU. You can find the most recent information on green cards here.

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