Brexit and travelling: what you need to know

Post update on 6th February 2020:

Through the transition period of Brexit, you are not required to have a Green Card when driving your car abroad; the transition period is set to run until the end of 2020.

At the end of the transition period, it is expected you will need driver permits and green cards to validate your insurance when driving abroad.

The below post was initially published on 30th January 2019 and was updated on 18th October 2019.

Whilst it is most likely property and home insurance policies will not be affected by Brexit, there are some areas that need to be considered, including motor and travel.

Motor Insurance

Should a Brexit deal be agreed, it is likely there will be no change and you will be able to drive your car, motorbike, supercar or classic as freely as you can do now. This means, if you have European cover – often shown as ‘Foreign Use’ on your policy schedule – you can go away for up to as many days as your insurance policy states.

However, should there be a ‘no deal’ Brexit, after the 31st October 2019, you will need to consider Green Cards, an International Driving Permit (IDP) and taking other documentation with you if you’re planning to drive in any EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, as well as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.

Green Cards

Green Cards will be required to show that your motor insurance meets EU standards. Without a Green Card, you may not be allowed to enter into Europe and would need to purchase local insurance in the country you are visiting, or face being fined.

If you are planning to travel to another country within Europe with your vehicle, please get in touch with us as soon as possible for us to be able to issue you with one. The vast majority of insurers will provide you with a Green Card on an annual basis so once you have been issued with one, it will be valid until your next policy renewal date, meaning you can travel as many times as your insurance policy allows, using the same Green Card.

You will need multiple Green Cards if;

  • You have fleet insurance – you will need one card per vehicle
  • You are towing a caravan or trailer – you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer/caravan. We may be able to provide one if the number plate is the same on both the vehicle and the trailer/caravan
  • You have 2 policies covering the duration of your trip (e.g. if your policy renews during your trip).

Vehicle Registration Documents

When driving abroad, you should also have:

  • Your driving licence
  • Your vehicle log book (V5C) if you have one, or
  • a VE103 to show you are allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad
  • A ‘GB’ sticker on the rear of the car/trailer ; this is in addition to any ‘GB’ or ‘Euro’ symbol you may have on your number plate.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

You can get an IDP over the counter at the Post Office. In order to obtain an IDP, you must be a GB or Northern Ireland resident, have a full UK driving licence and be 18 or over.

Please note that different IDP’s are required for different countries. For further information and to stay up to date with the latest updates and requirements, we suggest visiting the government website, here.

Caravan & Trailer Insurance

In the event of a Brexit deal being agreed, your caravan and trailer will most likely be covered to allow you to travel across the EU, again under the ‘Foreign Use’ section of your policy schedule, for up to as many days as your policy states. However, a Green Card will still be required in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Travel Insurance

Again, depending on if a deal is agreed or not, your travel insurance will be impacted differently. If we agree a deal, Brexit is unlikely to disrupt your travel to EU countries. However, ‘no deal’ could lead to travel disruptions from 31st October.

Should your trip be cancelled due to Brexit disruption, you should:

  • Contact your travel agent if your flight and accommodation was booked through them, as you’re likely to be ATOL protected.
  • Contact your airline or other transport provider if you booked your trip directly as you may be able to get a refund. We advise that you also check the cancellation conditions of your accommodation.
  • Alternatively, you may be able to claim back costs from your credit card provider or PayPal.

Should you be unable to obtain a refund through the above sources, you may be able to claim through your Travel Insurance, depending on the policy you decided to take out.

Another thing to think about is your EHIC card – it is not advised to rely on these being valid after Brexit. The latest government advice is to buy travel insurance to cover health care “just as you would if visiting a non-EU country”. Government have also offered further advice on healthcare when travelling, which you can view, here.

If you would like to discuss your motor or travel insurance with us in light of the implications of Brexit, please do not hesitate to contact your Account Handler directly, email or call the main office number – 01653 697055.

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