No-deal Brexit: Motor insurance update for EU travellers

15 July 2019

Get a Green Card now, for work and travel in Europe

UK motorists visiting the EU should prepare for their journey by obtaining proof of insurance in case of a no-deal Brexit.

Uncertainty surrounds the nature of Britain’s exit from Europe, now scheduled to take place on 31 October 2019. Whether they are travelling for business or in a personal capacity, drivers should act as if a no-deal scenario is in place, according to advice from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Motorists need to apply at least a month in advance for the required proof of travel insurance, known as a Green Card. The document is supplied by insurers and is compulsory for non-EU motorists circulating in the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland. Collectively, this region is known as the Green Card-free circulation area. Those who travel in this region without a Green Card may be breaking the law. The regulations apply equally to EU motorists travelling to the UK.

Who would be required to travel with a Green Card after a no deal Brexit?

Any UK motorists who travel between Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and mainland Europe are likely to need a Green Card as proof of insurance if the period of travel is after or not completed by 31 October 2019. A physical copy of the card is necessary as digital copies are not currently accepted. 

Motorists should disregard the May 2018 agreement between the relevant European insurance authorities that was made to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The deal has not been confirmed by the European Commission so the industry is planning on the basis of Green Cards being required.

Drivers are advised to contact their insurer or broker at least a month before travelling, in order to arrange a Green Card. If this amount of notice is not possible, 10 working days should be allowed as a bare minimum.

What information should I supply in order to obtain a Green Card?

Information required by insurers includes (but might not be limited to) the following:

  • Period of travel
  • Countries being visited
  • Vehicle make, model and registration
  • Names of all drivers
  • If towing a trailer or caravan, the make and model will be needed, plus any serial number.

If drivers have unique circumstances that might mean they need a Green Card ahead of 31 October 2019 they should contact their insurer or broker as soon as possible.

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Would a no-deal Brexit affect my travel Insurance too?

Documents: When travelling, customers should have their travel insurance documents or their insurer’s emergency medical assistance contact number with them.

Disruption: 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.

Financial losses: If these routes have been exhausted and you have travel disruption cover in place as part of your travel insurance policy, it is possible you’ll be covered against some financial losses. This will depend on your policy so check with your broker or insurer.

Healthcare: Currently there is ‘no-deal’ uncertainty surrounding the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC card allows state healthcare in other EEA countries (and Switzerland) at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.

If the EHIC system isn’t replaced, travel insurance will continue to operate in the normal way when it comes to medical expenses, as emergency medical treatment is a standard feature. However, customers should always double check their travel insurance policy meets their full needs.

Talk to an expert

The Brexit landscape is constantly changing. For the most up to date advice, contact your specialist insurance broker.

For further information please contact John Cockram, Partner on +44 (0)20 7558 3409 or email

Further resources
ABI: Further advice on travelling to the EU in the case of a no-deal Brexit 
UK Government: Advice on driving in the EU and possible need for international driving permit
MIB: Green Card information for the Public