What is a car insurance ‘green card’?

Now the UK has left the EU, motorists need a car insurance 'green card' to drive in Europe – here’s how you can apply

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, while the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December in the same year.

Under previous EU car insurance rules it was easy for Brits to drive in Europe. Although some countries that require you to carry proof of insurance cover, it's fine for that to be your UK insurance certificate.

With Brexit complete, however, UK residents driving on the continent now need to carry an insurance green card.

• Driving abroad: everything you need to know 

A motor insurance green card is a document produced by car insurers to prove that a driver has adequate insurance cover for driving abroad. Applying for one is a simple matter of contacting your insurer and asking but there are some important things you need to know. Below we’ve compiled a guide to the car insurance green card and how you can get one as quickly and easily as possible…

Apply for a green card

To apply for a green card, you simply need to telephone your insurer and ask for one. Make sure you tell your insurer exactly where you're going to be travelling to ensure the green card you receive is valid for all your destinations.

Strange as it may seem, a green card must be printed on green paper in order to be valid. In order to save time, it’s not unusual for insurance companies to email the green card and supporting documents to the motorist.

If you receive your green card in this manner, you must make sure you print it out on green paper, or else it won’t be valid when you go to use it at the border or are required to produce it by police.

Make sure your green card is valid for the country you’re visiting

UK motorists visiting more than one EU country will have to ensure that their green card covers them for all the countries they plan to visit. For example, if you’re driving through France and into Spain, you will need valid documentation for both countries.

With some European road trips taking in a number of different countries with different regulations. European Economic Area (EEA) includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and as such will require different passes to enter. Make sure you do the research and comply with the rules everywhere you visit.

The green card must have a minimum of 15 days’ cover left on it

In the same way that a passport has to have at least six months’ left before its expiry date if you want to travel abroad with it, a green card must have a minimum of 15 days of cover left on it when you enter an EU country – even if you’re just on a day trip.

If there is less than 15 days’ worth of cover left on the document, you will have to renew it before you travel.

If you are planning a road trip to France, Italy or Spain then read our helpful guide here…

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