No-deal Brexit warning for UK drivers

Cars in Paris Image copyright Reuters

If UK motorists plan to drive abroad after 29 March, they need to act soon or risk breaking the law.

That’s because a no-deal Brexit would leave drivers needing to have a Green Card to prove they have insurance.

EU regulations will hit businesses and individuals. They will also apply to anyone driving across the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.

You need to order the card a month before you plan to travel, warned the Association of British Insurers.

Although European insurance authorities agreed to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit in May 2018, it has not been confirmed by the European Commission.

It means Green Cards would be required under EU regulations as proof of insurance if the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal deal.

The documents are supplied by insurers and anyone who drives without one may be breaking the law.

Who will be affected?

Among those affected will be:

  • People who drive across the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.
  • Anyone planning to take their vehicle to Europe, such as a family planning a holiday to France in the Easter holidays.
  • Any freight company planning to transport goods into the EU after 29 March.

Huw Evans, director general of the ABI, 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.”

When it comes to travel insurance, he said that cover would continue to work in the normal way, even in the event that there is no replacement for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) system that allows people some free healthcare in the EU.

However, he added: “Customers should always double-check their travel insurance policy meets their full needs.”

If there is no deal with the EU, drivers may also need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive abroad.

From 1 February, the government will begin providing IDPs at 2,500 Post Offices across the UK.

How many people drive from the 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 1.6 million trucks and 2.6 million cars in 2017 (total number; both directions).
  • According to official statistics, in 2017 there were 2.4 million HGVs travelling from Great Britain to Europe (excluding NI) and 370,000 HGVs travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

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