Irish motorists will need ‘green cards’ to drive in UK under Brexit

Motorists must apply a month before travelling under Irish insurance industry plan

Television broadcasters on Abingdon Green in Westminster, London, as a motion of no confidence in the British government was debated in the parliament nearby.  Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Television broadcasters on Abingdon Green in Westminster, London, as a motion of no confidence in the British government was debated in the parliament nearby. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

 

Irish Insurers and brokers are getting ready to issue so-called ‘green cards’ to motorists planning to travel to the UK, including to Northern Ireland, from the beginning of March in what will be one of the first tangible impacts a no-deal Brexit is likely to have.

In the event that the UK crashes out of the EU without an agreement, all motor vehicles travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and Britain will require the document to prove they have valid motor insurance in this jurisdiction.

As many as 400,000 green cards are being sent by the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) to insurance companies and brokers this week and any motorists who wish to drive their car anywhere in the UK will need to apply for the documentation a month before their planned departure to ensure they get it in time.

The green card is the internationally recognised insurance document which proves a driver has the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the country visited.

They provide a guarantee of insurance for a minimum of 15 days and can remain valid until the expiry date of the motor insurance policy, providing cover for multiple trips.

Insurers and insurance brokers in the Republic will begin issuing green cards to policyholders from March ahead of March 29th, the scheduled date for the UK to leave the EU.

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As it stands, all motor vehicles with a valid Irish registration travelling within the EU are automatically covered by the terms of the EU Motor Insurance Directive (MID) which allows motorists move freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and UK as well as other EU countries without requiring supplementary insurance documentation.

But if a no-deal Brexit occur, the UK will no longer be party to the MID and the green cards will be needed. Motorists who don’t display the green card could be treated as an ininsured driver and face penalties.

MIBI processes the cards in the Republic and its chief executive David Fitzgerald expressed the hope that a deal will be agreed between the UK and the EU “meaning there will be no disruption to the motor insurance status quo for those travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and UK”.

Final outcome

However he said that as uncertainty continues “as to what the final outcome of the Brexit process will be, we want to raise awareness about the possible implications from a motor insurance perspective”.

He stressed that even with a hard Brexit, policyholders’ existing policies will remain valid but they will require the green card before travelling.

“The motor insurance industry in this country has been preparing for this possibility for months,” he said.

Asked whether motorists would have to pay for the card, Mr Fitzgerald said this had yet to be worked out but he noted the card normally cost about £20 in the UK to cover administrative work.

The MIBI has been liaising with the European Commission, the Irish Government, and the various insurance authorities across Europe and the UK, as well as with members who comprise all insurers writing motor insurance in the Republic of Ireland.

By the end of this week over 400,000 Green Card forms, along with electronic templates, will have been sent to the motor insurance companies and insurance brokers to prepare for distribution, in the event they are required.

The Association of British Insurers is taking similar steps.

“It remains the case that insurers do not want a no-deal Brexit,” its director general Huw Evans said. “It would be bad for the economy and bad for our customers. We continue to hope these arrangements are never needed and urge the government, UK parliament and EU27 to agree an orderly way forward.”

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