Since Brexit became official at the end of January 2020 motorists have had to keep up to date with a changing picture on driving abroad. In January 2021, Green Cards were made compulsory for anyone planning to drive in the EU, either for business or leisure.
This meant a lot of extra red-tape for commercial motor customers, with those running fleets needing to obtain a green card for each vehicle individually – a big admin burden if you’re a charity sending an aid convoy to Eastern Europe or taking a group of disabled service users to France for a holiday. The problem was particularly acute in Northern Ireland, with an estimated 43 million trips across the border into the Republic of Ireland every year, creating an unsustainable situation for motorists and insurers.
Thankfully, this has been recognised by the European Commission and their latest move has been to make the UK part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone – meaning less bureaucracy for UK drivers.
What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is an international insurance certificate which proves that your UK motor vehicle policy provides you with the minimum compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country you’re visiting.
These are not issued automatically, so customers need to contact their insurer to request one if they intend to drive in a country where they are required.
What are the new rules for driving in the EU?
From 2 August 2021, the UK became part of the ‘Free Circulation Area’. This means that UK drivers will no longer be required to carry a Green Card when travelling to a country that’s a member of the EU or has agreed to follow the EU Directive (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia or Andorra).
Although you’ll no longer need a Green Card, don’t forget that your drivers still need to take their Certificate of Motor Insurance as evidence that they have the right cover in place. Without the right documentation drivers can be denied entry at the country borders, fined for not having the correct insurance or even have their vehicle seized.
Is there anything else I need for driving abroad?
Depending on the country you’re visiting, you may also need to ensure your drivers take the following items: • Additional safety equipment, such as a reflective jacket or warning triangle. • Emission stickers • Headlight converter stickers (for driving in Belgium or France) • First aid kit • Fire extinguisher • Breathalyser/alcohol test • Spare headlight bulbs • A tailored driving playlist including all their favourite tracks (this is essential)
Driving abroad but still not sure what to take? Check out RAC’s driving advice for every country in Europe.
Quick tip: A translation book could not only come in handy in shops and cafes, but may also be useful if your drivers happen to break down or get involved in an accident.
Endsleigh charity motor and fleet insurance
Did you know we’re the approved insurance partner for Community Transport Association members? Whether your organisation has a single vehicle or a fleet of minibuses, we can cover all your vehicles under one roof with our comprehensive charity fleet insurance . Cover is offered on an “any driver” basis, including volunteers.