People planning self-drive holidays to European Union countries after Brexit may have to carry a motor insurance ‘green card’ or face prospection.

The warning came today from the Association of British Insurers in advice for consumers and businesses who may be affected by a no-deal Brexit.

Drivers are being advised of the need to contact their insurer, arrange a green card and take it with them if they wish to drive their vehicle in the EU in the event of no-deal.

Green cards would be required under EU regulations as proof of insurance if there is no-deal.

Drivers should contact their insurer about a month before they travel to get one, according to the ABI. Those who travel without one may be breaking the law.

Among those affected are:
• People who drive across the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.
• Anyone planning to take their vehicle to Europe e.g. a family planning a holiday to France in the Easter holidays.
• Any freight company planning to transport goods into the EU after March 29.

Although an agreement between the relevant European insurance authorities was made in May 2018 to waive the need for green cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit, this has not been confirmed by the European Commission.

Travellers are being reassured that travel insurance will continue to work in the normal way, even in the event the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that allows people some free healthcare in the EU is not replaced.

Customers are being advised that airlines, travel agents or credit card providers would be the first port of call for financial compensation in the event of severe travel disruption at ports or airports.

ABI director general Huw Evans 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.

“Despite ‘no-deal’ uncertainty about the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), I also want to reassure people that their travel insurance will continue to operate in the normal way when it comes to medical expenses, as emergency medical treatment is a standard feature. Customers should always double check their travel insurance policy meets their full needs.

“It remains the case that insurers do not want a ‘no deal’ Brexit; it 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.”