How Brexit will affect your van insurance

Introduction

You won't need a Green Card for any trip that ends with your return to the UK before 11.59pm on 31st December 2020.

After the 1st January 2021, you will need to a Green Card to drive in the European Economic Area (EEA) and some other countries (Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland). A list of EEA countries is available here. There is no change to the cover of your insurance policy.

Customers who are based in Northern Ireland will automatically be issued with a Green Card.

Please contact us at least 2 weeks in advance if you are planning on travelling abroad.

There may also be other vehicle requirements so please check the Government website prior to any travel. More information can be found here.

  • Q What is a Green Card? Do I need one?

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

    You will need a Green Card to travel anywhere within the EU plus various other countries.

    Please note that a Green Card does not change your cover, it's evidence of the most basic legal minimum cover.

  • Q Which countries will I need a Green Card for?

    Your policy provides the minimum cover (in case you are responsible for injuring someone else or damaging their property) through large parts of Europe. You will need a Green Card if you are driving to any of the following:

    Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

  • Q What happens if I don't have a Green Card? Does it really matter?

    Yes, it does. You may be refused entry to the country or you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution. This would not be covered by your insurance.

  • Q Do I need a Green Card for the Republic of Ireland?

    Yes, you will. Because the Republic of Ireland is in the EU, you will need a Green Card to drive there, even though the cover provided by your insurance allows this automatically. This means that if you have our comprehensive cover, you are still covered as normal but need to contact us to get a Green Card.

  • Q I live in Northern Ireland, do I need a Green Card too?

    Yes, you will. We realise that customers in Northern Ireland may cross into the EU on a very regular basis so if a no deal Brexit remains a possibility we will issue you a Green Card automatically before the exit date and will send you a new one if you make any relevant changes to your policy, such as a change of van or named drivers. If you need it urgently please do contact us as we may be able to email it to you, but you'll need to print it double-sided, you cannot rely on an electronic only version.

    If you change your van or insure it elsewhere, any Green Card we have sent you will no longer be valid.

  • Q How much is a Green Card?

    We can send you a Green Card for free. However, this only proves that you have the minimum cover. When you have Direct Line Van Insurance, your policy automatically provides up to 90 days Foreign Use during each year of your policy. Please refer to the "Territorial limits and foreign use" section in your policy booklet for more detail.

  • Q How do I get a Green Card?

    You should contact us on the number provided in your documents. Because you need a physical document, we recommend you allow at least two weeks for us to process and send this to you.

    Our lines are open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm Saturday. The opening times for your brand will be on your policy documents.

    We may also be able to email a copy of your Green Card to you. However, you will need to print it yourself, you cannot rely on an electronic only version.

  • Q I am travelling now and about to go abroad; can you still help?

    You won't need a Green Card for any trip that ends with your return to the UK before 11.59pm on 31st December 2020.

    After the 1st January 2021, you will need to a Green Card to drive in the European Economic Area (EEA) and some other countries (Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland). A list of EEA countries is available here. There is no change to the cover of your insurance policy.

  • Q I need to change the details on my Green card, can I do this myself?

    No, you need to contact us so we can reissue it. Your Green Card needs to match up to our records for you to be covered.

  • Q My policy is due to expire while I'm away. What do I do?

    Please contact us, we'll need to issue a second Green Card for you. You will also need to arrange renewing your policy.

    If you're switching insurers, you need to speak to both insurers to make sure you have the necessary documents.

  • Q If I am towing a trailer or caravan, will I need a separate Green Card for the trailer?

    Yes, some EEA and EU countries require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for your trailer, including caravans. If you are travelling with a trailer, contact us to get two Green Cards: one for the towing vehicle, and one for the trailer. We recommend you allow at least two weeks for us to process and send this to you.

  • Q Do I need a Green Card for each person? Or for each van?

    You need one Green Card for every van you take into the countries listed above.

  • Q Do I need a Green Card if I’m driving a hire van?

    If you hire a vehicle in the UK and drive it abroad, you will need the permission of the hirer and a Green Card from the vehicle's insurers.

    If you plan on flying abroad and hiring a van when you're there, then you won't normally need a Green Card: for instance, if you're in Spain and travel to Portugal or France. You may still require an International Driving Permit though. However, if you hire a van in the Republic of Ireland and travel to Northern Ireland the UK Government has confirmed you would not need a Green Card.

  • Q What about my driving licence?

    Please refer to the latest Government advice which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

  • Q Do I need a European Accident Statement form?

    This form has many different names, e.g. it's known as a "constat amiable" in France and a "DAA" in Spain. It's not a legal requirement but it's sensible to print one off and take it with you, as completing it is standard practice in many countries, and it will ensure you understand what the questions are, since the format is identical regardless of language.

  • Q Do I need to do anything with my number plate?

    EU GB number plates will no longer be valid. These are plates with a "GB" country identifier (or other UK variations, e.g. Cymru) surrounded by the EU star design. You will need to have a GB (or other UK variation) sticker or a number plate without the EU stars.

  • Q Do I need to know anything else about driving in Europe? where can I get information?

    UK Government advice is here, and you can sign up for updates. You can also get specific country advice here.

  • Q What about breakdown cover?

    It's a good idea to speak to your breakdown provider to check you have cover for taking your van to Europe.

  • Q Are passport rules changing?

    Yes. Passport validity rules are changing. You can check if you need to update your passport here. Because many passports may now need updating, you should allow extra time.

  • Q What about health? Can I still use my EHIC?

    The European Health Insurance Card allows holders to get reciprocal healthcare at the same terms as nationals of that country – this doesn't necessarily mean free of charge. It's likely that EHIC will cease to be valid so it's especially important to buy travel insurance. If you do have any existing medical conditions, it's important to discuss them with your insurer.

  • Q I'm planning on taking my dog abroad. Do the rules change for this?

    The Pet Passport scheme may be ending for UK holders. You can read about this here, and it's a good idea to speak to your vet at least four months before you intend to travel.