Green Cards are required under EU regulations as proof of insurance, however, from the 2nd of August 2021, the European Commission announced that the UK would be able to participate in the Green Card Free Circulation Area
On 30 June 2021, the European Commission announced that the UK would be able to participate in the Green Card Free Circulation Area (GCFCA), which comprises all 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries as well as Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Switzerland. The Commission’s decision was published in the Official Journal of the EU on the 13 July 2021 and will enter into effect on the 02 August 2021. The MIB’s recommendation remains that MIB members continue to issue motor insurance green cards for a limited period after the effective date to allow the news to filter through.
Green Cards are required under EU regulations as proof of insurance. The documents are supplied by motor insurers, whose customers are advised to request their Green Card about a month before they travel if possible. Those who travel without a Green Card may be breaking the law and may not be allowed to drive in the country they are visiting. Motorists based in GCFCA countries and travelling to the UK are not required to carry Green Cards although they might be asked to provide proof of insurance (e.g., a copy of their current policy document).
Some GCFCA countries may also require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for trailers or caravans, irrespective of registration requirements. If you are travelling with a trailer/caravan, please contact your insurance company to get two Green Cards: one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer/caravan.
The Government, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Association of British Insurers (ABI) have provided helpful guidance on what members of the public need to know when driving in Europe. This includes information about getting a Green Card and driving with a trailer including caravan for personal or commercial use.
A spokesperson for the MIB told Insurance Times, “we are delighted that the European Commission has agreed that the UK should be part of the Green Card Free Circulation Area. We have worked with key partners to help achieve this outcome, which will make it much easier for British motorists to drive insured in EU and EEA states and vice versa. This is especially good news for motorists in Northern Ireland who frequently travel to the Republic of Ireland.”
“The EU Commission’s announcement that UK drivers will no longer require a Green Card as proof of valid motor insurance will be sent for publication in the Official Journal of the EU, and 20 days after this the law will come into effect. In the meantime, British motorists must continue to approach their insurer for a Green Card before driving in Europe.”
He continued: “The decision does not take effect immediately, however. The EU process to implement the decision requires publication in the official journal of the EU and then a waiting period of 20 days. So, drivers entering the EU must continue to obtain a Green Card from their insurer in the meantime. We will confirm to members as soon as the change is finalised.
“The EU’s statement was issued in the context of finding solutions to implement the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland and, of course, is of particular benefit to Northern Ireland motorists who travel frequently across the border. However, the decision applies to all UK motorists travelling to the EU.”