If you are driving in the EU post-Brexit, there are certain documents you need. Here, we lay out a simple insurance guide for drivers planning on driving in European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Serbia or Switzerland after 1st January 2021. This helps to cut through the confusion about what documentation is needed for UK policyholders.

What new documents will I need?

All UK drivers hoping to visit and drive in a European border – even if that is from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland – will need a Green Card. This is essentially a certificate to prove your UK insurance policy provides you with the minimum cover required by law to drive abroad. If you drive without a Green Card, the ABI has warned that you could be breaking the law, as you would technically be driving without insurance. This could put your vehicle at risk of being seized, and you could be fined or even prosecuted. From 1 January 2021, all commercial trailers, including fleets and non-commercial trailers and caravans, must have a green card for your vehicle. You will need multiple green cards if you have fleet insurance, two policies covering your trip’s duration and your vehicle if it’s towing a trailer or caravan.

In addition to a Green Card, the UK driving licence holders might need an IDP (International Driving Permit), in some EU countries and Norway, if you have a paper driving licence or a licence that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. If you are taking your vehicle to the EU for less than 12 months, you will need your vehicle log book (V5C) and a VE103 to show you are allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad.

Asides from the above, a few things you should have are:

  • Your UK driving licence.
  • A Great Britain (GB) sticker on the rear of your vehicle or trailer, even if the number plate has a Euro symbol or GB national identifier (not needed in Ireland).
  • Trailer registration and vehicle registration documents. – please refer to the GOV.UK website for more details.

When will I need to get a Green Card and how do I get one? 

To get a Green Card ahead of your journey, you must apply for one through your motor insurer six weeks before you travel, or you can print one yourself. Additionally, you must carry a physical copy of your green card when driving abroad. Electronic versions are not acceptable. It is best to get in touch with your policy provider as soon as possible as application times vary. Most insurers now have dedicated email addresses or customer phone lines to deal with the anticipated influx of requests. You can apply for an IDP through the Post Office (charges apply) and these can be done on the spot in the branch.

Remember to contact your insurer first if you are involved in an accident in an EU country.

At Cowens, we want to ensure all of our customers make the necessary arrangements with their insurers to guarantee their travel plans’ security. If you have any questions about the potential changes to EU travel or need any assistance with the required documents to drive abroad, consult a Cowens Group expert at info@cowensgroup.co.uk or call tel:01623649931.