No-deal Brexit – Green Card FAQs

Introduction

If the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement in place, and in the absence of a specific agreement to the contrary, you will need to ensure you carry a physical Green Card while driving your vehicle in the European Economic Area (EEA) and some other countries (Andorra and Switzerland). A list of EEA countries is available here.

Green Cards are an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary minimum motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to.

Please note, the below FAQs are only applicable in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

Will my insurance cover me to drive in other EU member states after Brexit?  

Yes. Zurich will continue to provide the same motor insurance cover for travel to EEA countries (and Andorra and Switzerland). Therefore, you won’t need to purchase additional motor insurance policy cover when travelling to these countries with a UK-registered vehicle if you have a Green Card. You would continue to hold the same cover that you do now.

What happens to my Green Card if I cancel my policy?

The Green Card will become invalid from the date of cancellation and you should destroy it.

Will I need to carry any documents to prove I have the right insurance cover?  

If you are not carrying a Green Card when it is required, then you will not be able to drive legally in an EU member state. If you do attempt to drive outside the UK without holding a Green Card, you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution.

Do I need to carry any additional documents if I am driving with a trailer?

You will need a separate Green Card for each individual vehicle and trailers which are over 750kgs or braked.

Will there be any additional charges?

No. Zurich is not asking for an administrative charge associated with the provision of Green Card documents.

What happens if I don’t have a Green Card?  

If you are not carrying a Green Card when it is required, then you will not be able to drive legally in an EU member state.

If you do attempt to drive in the EU without holding a Green Card, you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution.

Will I need to show my insurance documents when I cross the border into the EU? 

You may be required to show documents at the border when entering the EU, but this will be a decision for the border authorities to take.

You may also be subject to police checks while driving abroad and you will also need to be able to present the document at the scene if you are involved in an accident.

Will all authorities in EU countries recognise the documents?

Yes. EU member states will all recognise the Green Card document.

The Green Card system has a standardised format that has been agreed by all EU member states (including the UK) and is currently used for travel outside the EU to other Green Card member countries.

I drive in the EU regularly in my own private car. Will I need to tell Zurich every time I travel?  

No, however you will need a valid Green Card any time you travel within the EU. When you request your Green Card you can choose the dates you are travelling from/to, but you will not be able to request a Green Card for travel outside of the dates of your current period of cover.

I’m a commercial motor customer and/or work for a business or council which insures its own vehicles. One or more of these vehicles may be used in the EU. Can I arrange a Green Card for each vehicle and trailer?  

Yes. You can use the online portal to request individual Green Cards, or sign up for our ‘bulk upload’ facility which will allow you to export a single file with up to 200 individual vehicles or trailers in one go.

What happens if I am involved in an accident abroad that I may be wholly or partly responsible for – do I need to contact Zurich? 

Yes. You will need to contact Zurich as soon as possible.

You will also need to ask for the insurance details of the other driver and we would also strongly recommend you gather as much evidence as you can about what happened in the accident, including taking photos if possible.

Do I need a European Accident Statement?

No. The European Accident Statement is a standardised document to make it easier for drivers involved in an accident to exchange facts but you are not required to carry a copy of the European Accident Statement in your car.

What help will I receive if I am involved in an accident that was not my fault while driving in the EU?  

Zurich is a trusted global insurer and has well established relationships with motor insurers in each member state to facilitate the settlement of claims for any incidents involving cross-border drivers.

If the UK exits the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and you need to make an insurance claim against an EU-registered insurer, you will be subject to the local legal system and your claim may be treated differently to how it would be in the UK.

Are you planning to charge for issuing Green Cards?

No, we will not charge for a Green Card.

How long will it take to get my Green Card?

If you choose to print the Green Card(s) at home, we will email a PDF to you within two working days. Remember, you would require access to green paper to print a valid Green Card.

If you opt for the Green Card(s) to be posted to you it can take up to 15 days depending on demand.

How long will Green Cards be valid for?

A Green Card will be valid for the period that you have requested and as stated on the document.

It will not be possible to generate a Green Card which falls outside the start and end dates of your current period of cover. If you move your insurance to a different provider at the end of your current period of cover, you will need to obtain a Green Card from your new provider.

Where will the Green card allow me to drive?

A Green Card that we issue through the online application process will allow you to drive in member countries of the EU plus Andorra, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. If you’re planning to travel to or through any other territory, please speak to your broker or call your usual Zurich contact.

I will be travelling in the EU on the date that Brexit is due to take place. Do I need to carry a Green Card before I start my trip? 

Yes; the EU deadline is 31 October 2019. Please make sure you request a Green Card in good time.

What happens if a deal is agreed?

This will depend on the nature of the negotiations and the deal that is agreed.

Does this apply for driving across the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland border?

Yes. A Green Card is required and if based in Northern Ireland we will be sending you the necessary Green Cards for your vehicles. If you do not receive a Green Card from us please contact your broker or if you are a direct customer your usual Zurich contact using the contact details in your policy documents.

What happens if I travel without a Green Card by mistake?

If you are travelling without a Green Card, a Green Card PDF can be emailed to you but you will need to arrange for it to be printed on green paper as a single, double sided document. Or a Green Card can posted to an address of your choosing.

What shade of green paper can be used?

Any recognisable shade of green is acceptable.

I regularly drive my vehicle in the EU. Will I need to tell Zurich every time I travel?

No, however you will need a valid Green Card any time you travel within the EU. When you request your Green Card you can choose the dates you are travelling from/to, but you will not be able to request a Green Card for travel outside of the dates of your current period of cover.

What information do I need to make a request for a Green Card?

You’ll need the:

  • Policy number
  • Policy start and end dates of the period of insurance
  • Dates of travel for the Green Card to cover
  • Vehicle registration number and make
  • Vehicle category (please see separate question for more details)
  • Policyholder name and address
  • Named drivers – where applicable
  • If you’d like the Green Card to be posted, name of the person to send it to and their address (if different from the policyholder).

What do the vehicle categories mean?

The category code on the Green card is to confirm the type of vehicle:

  • A - Car
  • B - Motorcycle
  • C - Lorry or Tractor
  • D - Cycle fitted with auxiliary engine
  • E - Bus
  • F - Trailer
  • G - Others

  • For a caravan or a horsebox, please select F – Trailer. 
  • For a van, works van or a motorhome, please select G – Others
  • For farm or agricultural tractors, please select G – Others (‘C’ is for Lorry tractor units).

Why is there a space limit for some information I need to input in my request?

This is to make sure the information fits within the Green Card when printed. If the name/address doesn’t fit within 103 characters, please use an abbreviation. For example, Street to St. / Avenue to Ave and you don’t need to include your title (e.g. Mr or Mrs etc.) alongside names and you can use an initial for a first name.

Do I need to include the make and model of my vehicle?

We only need the MAKE of vehicle.

For multiple Green Card requests, can I update an existing Green card excel template, rather than download a new one?

When using the bulk upload facility, we recommend you download a new one each time to make sure you’re always using the most up to date template.

I need a Green Card urgently, how do I get one quickly?

The quickest way is to use our Green Card portal for a single Green Card and select the email me option. We’ll email a PDF of the Green Card to you but you’ll need to be able to print it yourself on green paper as a single, double sided document. Authorities will only accept a physical document in this format.

Why can’t I just show a copy of the Green Card on my phone?

If you are not carrying a physical Green Card when it is required, then you will not be able to drive legally.

If you do attempt to drive outside the UK without holding a Green Card, you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution.

Can an annual Green Card be issued for a vehicle which regularly drives into or through EU countries?

Yes. Our Green Card portal allows users to select the dates that the Green Card will be required for. However, users are unable to generate a Green Card which falls outside of the start and end dates of their current policy period.

Do I need to register to the website to produce a Green Card and is a password required?

There are two different processes depending on whether a single or multiple Green Cards are being requested. To generate a single Green Card, a user does not need to register and sign in. To request the production of multiple Green Cards, a user will need to register in order to access the bulk upload facility. Access to the bulk upload facility will then require a password.

I need a Green Card that extends beyond my current period of insurance. How do I process this?

You can request a Green Card to cover you up to the expiry date of your current policy.

Then, if you’ve renewed the policy you can create a new request for another Green Card commencing from the renewal date to the required end date (within the new period of insurance).

If you’ve changed insurer you’ll need to contact your new provider.  

What vehicles need a Green Card?

Green Cards will be required for each individual vehicle and trailers over 750kgs or braked. Full instructions can be found in our Online Green Card Portal.