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Motor News

23 September 2019 by Geoffrey Insurance

Planning a driving holiday in the EU?


With 55% of UK motorists unaware that they may need to carry a Green Card when driving in the EU after Brexit, we’ve taken a look at everything you need to consider before starting your journey.


Currently, the UK will be leaving the EU on the 31st January with no deal yet in place. As a result, you need to consider what will be accepted when driving within the EU and beyond. Otherwise, you risk breaking the law.


First of all, you’ll need to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) alongside your regular UK driving license. There are 3 types, depending on where you are driving to, and they can be purchased from the Post Office for £5.50 – just say which countries you are visiting and you will be given the appropriate IDP as long as you can show your current, valid UK driving license.


POST OFFICE: Find your local Post Office with their Branch Finder.


Being insured to travel

If you are insured with us at Geoffrey Insurance, you are automatically covered for driving in the EU for third party claims and for the same level as your main UK cover for any trip of up to 3 days.

You can extend this cover at any time for longer trips for up to 90 days. We charge £10 for a week, going up to £35 per annum.

Additionally, assuming there is a no-deal Brexit on the 31st January, you will need to have a Green Card, which is an internationally recognised document that acts as proof of insurance in Europe.

You may need to present your Green Card at European borders or to local authorities to demonstrate you have insurance – your normal insurance certificate will not suffice.

We provide Green Cards free of charge. If you would like to request one, or would like to purchase additional insurance cover, please call the contact centre on 0808 196 1526.


Why do I need a Green Card?

Being insured to drive in Europe isn’t enough. Internationally recognised, a Green Card will make life easier if you need to make a claim or exchange details with another driver, or the police whilst abroad.

The exception is that you shouldn't need a Green Card if you're hiring a car. If you rent a vehicle from a car hire firm whilst abroad, the insurance that comes with it should cover you. You would still need a Green Card if you were renting a car from the UK to drive in the EU, however.

Outside of the EU, countries that still need a Green Card are:

  • Albania
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Russia
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

For up-to-date guidance on Green Cards and Brexit, visit the Motor Insurance Bureau.


How do I request my Green Card?

A Green Card is a certificate of insurance literally printed on green paper. We can provide Geoffrey customers with a Green Card free of charge, but we require 21 days’ notice, so it is important you plan ahead for your trip.

We are already issuing Green Cards and have a process in place to issue them as swiftly as possible. To make your request, please call our contact centre on 0808 196 1526.


Arranging Breakdown Cover

While it may be tempting to save a small amount of money and go without breakdown cover, this could be a false economy given the cost of repatriation can be quite high. After all, would you feel comfortable arranging your own recovery and repairs in a foreign country?

At Geoffrey, we provide a range of optional extras, which includes European Breakdown cover. If you haven’t already taken advantage of this, you can read more about the costs and details on our dedicated Optional Extras page.


Create your checklist

We recommend creating yourself a checklist before you go on your trip. Another important factor is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) no longer being accepted by 28 countries within the EU in a no deal Brexit situation, rendering it useless outside of Ireland, Spain and Portugal. More than ever, you should ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for your travels.

CHECK GUIDANCE: Current information country-by-country is available on the NHS website.


Here is our suggested checklist of documents for your trip:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Green Card
  • Insurance documents
  • Car registration document (V5)
  • Authorisation letter if it’s a company car
  • Breakdown policy documents
  • Travel insurance documents
  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
  • Ctir’Air sticker (applicable for some French cities)


The following kit is also recommended to take with you:

  • Reflective jackets for all passengers
  • Warning triangle
  • Headlamp beam deflectors
  • GB car sticker (if you don’t have a GB Euro number plate)
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Replacement bulbs
  • Torch


Of course, your car should be in good mechanical fettle before you go, with oil and fluids all at the correct levels. Ensure also that your tax and MOT will not expire whilst on your trip!

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Please keep an eye on the following websites for further updates around any changes to Green Card requirements. advice?