Remember the Green Card, that international certificate showing motorists have valid third-party motor insurance while driving in a country that is part of the Green Card system? Thanks to the free circulation zone, UK drivers aren’t required to have that piece of documentation when travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA) and to Andorra, Serbia, and Switzerland. However, that may no longer be the case after the first quarter of next year.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has released new guidance as part of a series of technical notices being published by the government to outline plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and it looks like motorists could be facing a U-turn.
“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,” stated the DfT in one of its technical notices published yesterday. “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.”
This is inconsistent with an earlier pronouncement on the issue of post-Brexit driving in the EU.
“UK drivers and hauliers should not have to apply or pay for ‘Green Card’ documentation from insurers when they travel in an EU member state after Brexit, the Department for Transport has confirmed in a letter to the ABI,” noted the Association of British Insurers (ABI) back in May.
“This is a significant development and once the Commission have agreed it, means that drivers, haulage operators, and insurers will not face the considerable administrative disruption associated with issuing Green Cards or having to face border checks.”
Now the government is saying it expects the need for Green Cards if the UK does not have access to the free circulation zone on March 29. The DfT said in the latest guidance: “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.”
As for commercial operators with fleet insurance, Green Cards will have to be provided for each vehicle. In addition, a separate Green Card may also be needed for a trailer in certain countries that require separate trailer insurance to that of the towing vehicle.
Reacting to the technical guidance for vehicle insurance, ABI director of regulation Hugh Savill commented: “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.”