Cross-border motorists will need 'green card' if there is a no-deal Brexit

Cross-border motorists have been advised they will need extra documentation if the UK crashes out of the EU on March 29. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Ryan Wilkinson, Press Association

NORTHERN Ireland motorists have been advised to carry an insurance document when crossing the border in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In new guidance, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) urged drivers to contact their insurer to arrange what is known as a "green card" if the UK crashes out of the EU on March 29.

It has warned that those who travel without one may be breaking the law.

The ABI warned that companies may apply a "small administrative charge" to issue green cards.

It will affect milions of UK drivers also wanting to drive in the EU.

Holidaymakers and businesses intending to use their vehicles on the continent, or anyone crossing the border by road will be affected.

Private motorists and companies have been recommended to contact their providers around a month before they plan to travel to get one.

The same rules apply to European Economic Area (EEA) motorists travelling to the UK.

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Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: "As it looks increasingly possible that a 'no-deal' Brexit may happen, we want all insurance customers to know the facts about what this means for them.

"If you live in Northern Ireland and drive to the Republic of Ireland, or if you plan to drive your vehicle to mainland Europe after a no-deal Brexit, you will need a Green Card to prove you are insured.

"You should contact your insurer before you travel in order to get one. This advice applies to businesses as well as individuals."

An agreement between UK and European insurance authorities was struck in May 2018 to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

However the agreement has not yet been ratified by the European Commission.

There is currently a Green Card-free circulation area covering the EEA and Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.

Systematic border checks of the document as proof of third-party motor insurance have been abolished in the area.

While Prime Minister Theresa May is currently in talks in a bid to create a cross-party consensus, in the event of no-deal this would cease to apply for UK drivers.

British prime minister Theresa May is pushing for cross-party consensus to avoid crashing out. Picture by Press Assocation. 

The Department of Transport (DfT) issued guidance to motorists and insurers in September.

It said that the cards would be issued free of charge, although insurers may increase their administrations fees to reflect the cost of providing them.

Commercial operators with fleet insurance were advised they will need a card for each vehicle.

For countries that require separate trailer insurance, a separate Green Card may be required for the trailer.

Without a Green Card, motorists would have to be covered by third-party insurance bought in the country they are driving in.

Without it drivers may not be able to drive and could also be fined.

The ABI said it is against the UK leaving the EU without a deal, with Mr Evans warning such an outcome 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," he said.

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