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Driving to Europe post-Brexit? You'll need a 'green card' if there's no deal

UK motorists planning to drive to other European countries will need to get a 'green card' in the event of a no-deal Brexit, insurers have warned – and you'll need to apply for one at least a month ahead.

If you want to use your vehicle on the Continent or cross the Irish border by road, you'll have to get one of these cards if the Brexit deadline of 29 March is reached with no deal in place. Green cards – essentially international insurance certificates that prove your policy provides minimum cover – are free, but you'll need to contact your insurer at least a month beforehand to get one.

An agreement between UK and European insurance authorities was struck in May 2018 to waive the need for green cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit – but the agreement has not yet been passed into law by the European Commission, the arm of the EU responsible for proposing legislation.

For a full rundown of the likely practical impact of Brexit – based on what we know at the moment – see our 25 Brexit need-to-knows. And for more info on the rules when driving on the Continent, see our Driving in Europe guide. 

Who needs a green card?

If Britain leaves the EU without agreeing a deal and you then take your vehicle to Europe, you'll need a green card if you plan to use your UK insurance.

You shouldn't need a green card if you're just hiring a car. If you rent a vehicle abroad then the insurance that comes with it from the rental company should cover you.

However, if you rent a car in the UK for use in the EU, in the event of a no-deal Brexit you would need to have a green card.

How to apply for a green card

To get a green card, you need to contact your motor insurance provider, usually a month before you need it.

Cards are issued free of charge, although the Department for Transport has warned that insurers may face small admin charges.

What do insurers say?

Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers, which represents insurers, said: "As it looks increasingly possible that a no-deal Brexit may happen, we want all insurance customers to know the facts about what this means for them.

"If you live in Northern Ireland and drive to the Republic of Ireland, or if you plan to drive your vehicle to mainland Europe after a no-deal Brexit, you will need a green card to prove you are insured."

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