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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 Europe? Yes.
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. So from January 1st 2021 a Green Card is required to drive your UK registered car in Europe.

But the good news is that it seems that negotioations are still in progress to remove the need for the Green Card - watch this space! But currently you need a Green Card.

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You should contact your insurer and request a Green Card if you are likely to want to drive in Europe after January 1st 2021. 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.

You should print it out and take it with you as the Green Card proves that you have insurance cover to drive in the countries of the EU. In most cases this cover is the same as on the UK policy you already hold (but see below). In addition you need to restrict your driving to the countries of the EU plus several others; Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland (incorporating Liechtenstein), Andorra and Serbia.

COUNTRIES SIGNATORIES TO THE GREEN CARD AGREEMENT:
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.

The green card is not in itself 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.

And even those insurers which do offer European cover will not always automatically provide you with a green card, and if they do there maybe a fee to pay, so again, check when buying your car insurance if you plan to drive in Europe.

Having said the above, a number of insurance companies will offer green cards for free! Check with 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, but the Green Card is still currently required.

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.

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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.


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Driving in Europe
Driving in Europe
Driving in Austria
Driving in Belgium
Driving in Denmark
Driving in France
Driving in Germany
Driving in Ireland
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Driving in Luxembourg
Driving in The Netherlands
Driving in Norway
Driving in Poland
Driving in Portugal
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Driving in Switzerland
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