Don’t forget your Green Card - British insurers issue advice to customers on no-deal Brexit
February 20, 2019
The Association of British Insurers is today setting out advice for consumers and businesses who may be affected by a no-deal Brexit.
In new guidance published today, drivers are being advised of the need to contact their insurer, arrange what is known as a Green Card and take it with them if they wish to drive their vehicle in the EU in the event of no-deal.
Green Cards would be required under EU regulations as proof of insurance if there was no-deal. The documents are supplied by your insurer and customers are advised to contact their insurer about a month before they travel to get one. Those who travel without one may be breaking the law. The same requirements will apply to EU motorists travelling to the UK.
Among those affected are:
- People who drive across the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.
- Anyone planning to take their vehicle to Europe e.g. a family planning a holiday to France in the Easter holidays.
- Any freight company planning to transport goods into the EU after 29 March.
Although an agreement between the relevant European insurance authorities was made in May 2018 to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit, this has not been confirmed by the European Commission, hence the industry is planning on the basis of Green Cards being required.
Travellers are being reassured that travel insurance will continue to work in the normal way, even in the event the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) system that allows people some free healthcare in the EU isn’t replaced. Customers should have their travel insurance documents or their insurer’s emergency medical assistance contact number with them as they have the medical expertise, contacts and facilities to help you if you fall ill or are injured abroad.
In the event of severe travel disruption at ports or airports customers are being advised that airlines, travel agents or credit card providers would be the first port of call for financial compensation.
If these routes have been exhausted and you have travel disruption cover in place as part of your travel insurance policy, it is possible that you will be covered against some financial losses. However this will depend on your policy so you should check with your insurer.
Director General of the ABI, Huw Evans 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. You should contact your insurer before you travel in order to get one. This advice applies to businesses as well as individuals.
“Despite ‘no-deal’ uncertainty about the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), I also want to reassure people that their travel insurance will continue to operate in the normal way when it comes to medical expenses, as emergency medical treatment is a standard feature. Customers should always double check their travel insurance policy meets their full needs.
“It remains the case that Insurers do not want a ‘no deal’ Brexit; it would be bad for the economy and bad for our customers. We continue to hope these arrangements are never needed and urge the Government, UK Parliament and EU27 to agree an orderly way forward.”
Key facts on the number people driving from UK to Europe:
- The NI Department for the Economy suggests that there are approximately 110 million crossings between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland each year. This includes cars, HGVs and buses/coaches.
- Eurotunnel Shuttle Services carried 1.6m trucks and 2.6m cars in 2017 (total number; both directions).
- According to official statistics, in 2017 there were 2.4m HGVs travelling from Great Britain to Europe (excl. NI) and 370,000 HGVs travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.