How will Brexit impact travel and driving abroad?

14 Oct

Negotiations are continuing over the UK’s departure from the European Union and uncertainty remains over the Brexit deal. Although there has been no formal agreement at this point, we wanted to update you on the potential impact that a no deal Brexit could have on travelling and driving abroad.

Whether for business or leisure, read on for our guidance if you are planning on travelling or driving outside of the UK after the 31st of October 2019.

Driving Abroad – Green Cards

This remains a fluid situation, but we believe that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it is likely that drivers will need to obtain and carry a physical copy of a Green Card with them when driving in the EEA as well as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland, to prove that they have valid insurance cover for their vehicle. This will also apply for driving across the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland Border.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that guarantees a motorist has the necessary third-party insurance cover and is suitably insured to drive in EEA countries.

If the UK becomes a ‘third country’ following Brexit, i.e. no longer a European Economic Area country, authorities in these countries are allowed to stop UK motorists at borders to check that they have a Green Card. In some EEA countries, it is a criminal offence to not carry a Green Card as it is proof of insurance and motorists could be subject to a fine, have their vehicle seized or face prosecution.

Motorists must carry an original, physical copy of a Green Card on green paper when travelling. Digital copies of a Green Card are not currently accepted and motorists that arrive at the border without a physical green card will not be permitted to drive in that country. It is important to remember that a separate Green Card must be carried for a trailer or caravan as each card has a unique, identifiable number.

What do you need to do?

If you are planning on driving outside of the UK for personal or work reasons, you must request a Green Card from your insurance broker for you or your employees. This includes those who are fleet owners and operators. Green Cards must be issued for a minimum of 15 days, even if this overlaps with the expiry of the motor policy.

To allow enough time for your Account Executive to arrange for a Green Card to be issued to you in plenty of time before your travel date, it is important that you notify us as soon as possible. To help speed up the process, please have the following details to hand when calling:

  • The dates you plan to drive your vehicle outside of the UK
  • The countries you intend to drive in
  • The names and ages of all drivers that you would like covered
  • The make, model and registration/chassis number of anything you intend to tow

Please note, the driver will also need to carry an International Driving Permit (available from The Post Office) when driving abroad, as a UK driving license will no longer be accepted on its own.

Flying and Travel Disruption

It’s not just driving abroad that a no deal Brexit might affect but flying to an EU and EEA country too. Although the Government’s official guidance says that flights ‘should’ continue as normal even if there is no deal, the International Air Transport Association has warned that some may be cancelled.

What does it mean?

If there is significant disruption at airports and ports, clients without Travel Disruption on their policy will likely not be covered as it’s unlikely to be the airline’s fault. If you don’t have insurance in place at all, you will not be able to claim for subsequent disruption as delays as a result of a no deal Brexit would have been known at that stage.

What do you need to do?

If you are travelling around the 31st of October 2019 for work or leisure, make sure that you have travel insurance in place. If you already have, check with your existing insurance broker or where applicable, your Thomas Carroll account executive to make certain that your policy includes Travel Disruption cover.

EHIC Cards

Currently, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when travelling in 31 EU countries. Despite the government making it clear that it wants the EHIC to continue post-Brexit, only three countries have agreed to cover UK tourists if there’s no deal.

What do you need to do?

The EHIC is limited and doesn’t cover repatriation, and with the uncertainty surrounding the future of the card, it is best to be on the safe side and not rely on it. Instead, make sure you have adequate cover under your travel insurance.

Need advice? Please get in touch today

If you have any questions or require further information regarding the above matters, please contact your Account Executive, call us on 02920 853788 or email

If you don’t currently have insurance with Thomas Carroll and would like some assistance, please get in touch using the details above.