drive alive holidays

Green Card - what is it and do you need a green card?

Green card insurance cover in Europe explained

Green card insurance for driving in Europe after Brexit: do you need a green card and what is a green card?

Make sure you Drive Alive! Drive on the right in Europe!

Do you need a green card when you take your car out of the UK to countries in the Eu? No!
The UK left the European Union at the start of 2020 and entered a transition period which ended on January 1st 2021 when the UK finally left the EU. The good news is that the negotiators were able to conclude a deal which means you do not need to carry a Green Card when driving in Europe.

However, if you feel nervous about driving in Europe without a Green Card to prove your vehicle is insured then request one from your insurer. The benefit of a green card is that it is recognised everywhere, whereas your insurance certificate might only be in English and this could cause problems with some police forces. Some insurers print a multilingual summary explaining the cover on the reverse of the insurance certificate.

 We also recommend you contact your insurer to be certain that your cover includes vehicle insurance for driving in Europe, unless you are certain that it does. If you have third party cover in the UK that is all you will get in Europe, and some policies with Comprehensive cover in the UK only offer third party cover abroad.

The card is usually free. It can take anything from a few days to several weeks for your Green Card to arrive in the post, depending on the insurance company. Many insurers' websites have a form to request the Green Card online.

The Green Card exemption only applies to the EU plus Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland. For other European countries such as Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine you still need a Green Card.

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithunia, Luxembourg, Yes, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

According to Route 4 Me a popular routing and maps software, the green card is not in itself an insurance cover. It is a document recognised in all the participating countries as proof that your vehicle has been insured to the minimum necessary to meet the legal requirements of those countries. This requirement is often simply third-party insurance, covering you against a claim for damage you cause to another vehicle.


Even if you have fully comprehensive cover in  the UK you need to check that this level of cover extends to Europe. Many insurers will only offer third party cover in Europe, no matter what your cover in the UK. Many insurers will extend your third party cover to fully comprehensive for Europe, but only if requested and only for an extra premium. They will also usually impose a time limit per trip and per total number of days abroad in any one year.

Some insurers will not cover you for driving in Europe at all, or will only offer the third party minimum. So if driving in Europe is something you think you might want to do, it's worth checking the position when renewing your car insurance.

If you want to take your car to somewhere outside the area covered by the green card agreement then it is entirely up to individual insurers as to whether they will offer cover. Most do not and if they do it will always cost. Bear in mind that cover can be bought at borders and this can be cheaper than buying from your own insurer.

Finally, remember that your car insurance will not cover you for breakdowns (unless as an add-on when you bought the policy). Even if you have breakdown insurance make sure to check it will cover you for driving in Europe. If not, we recommend Insurance4breakdown for competitive premiums and an excellent level of cover and service.

Motorway Autoroute Autobahn and Tunnel Tolls
Distance Chart
International Driving Permit
Interactive Route Planner
Carbon emissions for driving


All information on this page is provided as a service to our clients. It is intended as a guide to the more important rules for the different countries to which we offer driving holidays. It is not meant to be a comprehensive document. We try and keep the information on this page up-to-date, but we cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences arising from any inaccuracies. If you find a mistake or would like to send us some additional information, please email us. Your co-operation is appreciated.

Newsletter sign-up

Driving in Europe
Driving in Europe
Driving in Austria
Driving in Belgium
Driving in Denmark
Driving in France
Driving in Germany
Driving in Ireland
Driving in Italy
Driving in Luxembourg
Driving in The Netherlands
Driving in Norway
Driving in Poland
Driving in Portugal
Driving in Spain
Driving in Switzerland
Driving in the UK
Green card
Low emission zones
Fuel prices Europe
Winter driving in Europe
If you like all the fantastic free information on Drive-Alive please come back here to book ferries, hotels, apartments, holidays homes, and car hire. You book with the provider and pay exactly the same prices as if you'd gone direct. We earn a small commission which funds the upkeep of this website.