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EU scraps ‘Green Card’ car insurance for UK drivers

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Written by: Emma Lunn
01/07/2021
The European Union has announced that UK drivers will no longer be required to carry insurance Green Cards when driving their cars in EU countries.

The Green Card is an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the law of the country visited.

All European Economic Area (EEA) countries (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are part of a Green Card free circulation area, meaning that motorists based there do not have to carry Green Cards when visiting other countries in the area.

These provisions previously applied to the UK, but ended when Brexit came into effect on 31 December 2020, meaning Brits had to get a Green Card to take their car to Europe. The rule has been particularly tricky in Ireland as vehicles from Northern Ireland are required to have a Green Card to enter the Republic of Ireland.

But the EU has now said that the UK can be part of the Green Card free area after discussions between the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and the EU Commission.

The agreement means those travailing from the UK to the EU, including those travelling from Northern Ireland to the Republic, will be able to travel freely without requiring supplementary insurance documentation.

The exact date for when the new measures will take effect is expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

David Fitzgerald, chief executive of the MIBI, said: “We strongly welcome confirmation from the European Commission that the UK will be admitted into the Green Card free circulation zone. Since the ramifications of Brexit on the issue of Green Cards became clear, the MIBI has been maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the European Commission to highlight the potential problems this could have caused, particularly across the island of Ireland.

“From the beginning of the year any UK registered motor vehicle which crossed the border into the Republic was legally required to carry a Green Card. This wasn’t a sustainable situation when you consider there are an estimated 43 million cross border vehicle trips per annum and there are approximately 25,000 people who live on one side of the border and who regularly commute to the other jurisdiction.”

Huw Evans, director general at the Association of British Insurers, said: “This is excellent news. We have long campaigned for the UK to be part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone so we warmly welcome the decision by the European Commission today.

“The commission has taken a pragmatic approach on the matter. UK drivers will no longer need to apply for a green card through their insurer which will help reduce bureaucracy for drivers and road hauliers travelling between the UK and EU. It will be especially welcomed by motorists in Northern Ireland driving across the border to the Republic of Ireland.”

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