When we welcomed in a new year, most were so happy to wave “goodbye” to 2020 and its extraordinary events that we didn’t give much thought to the fact that we were leaving the European Union on the same day. It’s not really surprising; after a year of shortages of everything from loo roll to broccoli and with all but essential travel plans cancelled for the foreseeable, the ability to travel and shop “normally” has already been interrupted anyway.
If you have to travel for business or work, or if you are planning a trip to Europe as soon as possible, it is important that you know of the changes to the UK’s EU Future Relationships deal and how it affects you. There was a time when it was thought that UK residents travelling to the EU would have to get an International Driving Permit in order to travel. Thankfully, this is not the case for UK residents with valid photo driving licenses. However, as of midnight on New Year’s Eve, travellers to the EU from the UK will need to have an insurance green card and a GB sticker showing on their vehicle before they travel.
What does the car insurance green card do?
The green card will act as proof that the driver has a license and valid insurance for travel.
Is online proof sufficient?
In a word, no. Knowing that you have the right insurance is not enough – and nor is being able to show online evidence of your insurance cover. In order to meet the restrictions, you must have a physical card issued by your insurance company. These cards are not issued automatically, so if you are planning on travelling any time in the next year, it is probably wise to apply for your car insurance green card now; if and when travel restrictions are lifted, insurance companies may well be inundated with requests, which could lead to delayed responses and, potentially, disrupted travel plans. Once your card is issued, it is possible to download it and print from home.
Does one green card cover everything?
Your green card is, in a nutshell, proof from your insurance company that you are insured to drive your vehicle. If you have more than one insurance policy, or if you are towing a caravan, you will need additional green cards as proof of the additional policies. So, potentially, you could need three green cards printed and ready to show at all borders, upon request from police, and in the unlikely event that you have an accident.
My license plate has GB on it – do I still need a sticker?
Some European countries have always required non-native vehicles to have a sticker showing their origin. From now on, all cars from Great Britain are required to display GB stickers when they travel to any country in the EU, except Ireland. This applies even if your number plate displays a GB marking.