The Brexit Effect: How will it impact travelling abroad?

7 Mar

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 our clients on the potential impact that a no deal Brexit could have on travelling abroad. Read on for our guidance if you are planning on travelling outside of the UK after the 29th of March 2019.

Driving Abroad – Green Cards

In the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal, it will be a legal requirement to carry a physical document know as a Green Card when driving in an EU or specified EEA country.

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.

Motorists must carry a 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’s 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?

As a policy holder, you have the right to request a Green Card from your insurance broker if you are planning on driving outside of the UK. If a request has been made, a Green Card must be issued for a minimum of 15 days, even if this overlaps the expiry of the motor policy. If this is the case, the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) and the insurer will decide who would handle a claim for a Green Card issued beyond the motor policy expiry date.

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’s important that you notify us as soon as possible. To help speed up the process, please have the following details to hand when calling your account executive:

  • 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 and model and registration/chassis number of anything you intend to tow, e.g. a trailer or caravan

Please note, you will also need to carry an International Driving Permit (available from The Post Office) when driving abroad, as your 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 29th March 2019, 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.

Need advice? Please get in touch today

Your personal account executive is on hand to answer any questions you may have, or if you require any further information regarding the matters above. If you don’t currently have insurance with Thomas Carroll and would like some assistance, you can also get in touch with our personal insurance team by calling 02920 858620 or emailing