The impact of Brexit for van drivers

What does a no-deal Brexit mean for van drivers?

Even if the UK exits the EU without a withdrawal agreement, we'll make sure you're still covered driving abroad on European roads.

The UK is set to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March. With Parliament rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal agreement in January, there is increasing talk of there being a 'no-deal Brexit'. This would mean exiting the EU, without a transition period or agreements in place on how to work together.

But what would this mean for van drivers that venture across the Channel or to the Republic of Ireland? Whether you're transporting goods or taking your family on holiday, driving in Europe could be impacted after Brexit. Read on to find out how no deal will impact you.

What would happen in a no-deal Brexit?

With no agreement in place, the UK and EU's relationship would follow general international law. There would be no specific arrangement outlining the rights of EU citizen in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. The free movement of goods, services, capital and people would stop.

Border checks would be imposed between the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA) – the custom union made up of the EU, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. This includes all crossings between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

International business would fall back on the basic rules of the World Trade Organisation – often referred to as 'WTO rules'.

Driving in Europe after Brexit FAQs

So will my van insurance still be valid in the EU?

Even after a no-deal Brexit, if you have our van insurance, we'll still provide a minimum level of cover in each EEA country. This protects you from liability claims in case you injure anyone while driving or damage property.

If you have Comprehensive or Third Party Fire And Theft cover in the UK, this will still be valid in the Republic of Ireland. But if you want this cover to extend in any other EEA country, you'll need a Foreign Use Extension (we'll come back to that in a minute).

Your standard Motor Breakdown cover may not include travel abroad, and if this is important to you should speak to your provider to understand your options.

Will I need to carry a Green Card?

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, no matter what insurance policy you have – or who your provider is – you'll need to carry a Green Card to drive in any EU or EEA country, including the Republic of Ireland.

This internationally-recognised certificate confirms your insurance provider offers at least minimum coverage in the country you're driving in.

How do I get a Green Card or Foreign Use Extension?

Green Cards are only valid for a defined period of time, so you only need to get one when you plan on travelling outside the UK. This would usually be for a minimum of 15 days or a maximum of 90 days. However, if your policy is due to expire during the time you're travelling, you'll need to ensure you have a Green Card for the next policy year too.

If you take out a Foreign Use Extension, there may be a charge, but we'll also arrange your Green Card for you at the same time.

To arrange either a Foreign Use Extension, a Green Card or both, you need to call us on 0345 301 2882, lines are open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday. In either case, you will need to let us know the following:

  • Your trip start and end dates and destination countries
  • And whether you will be towing, for example, a trailer or caravan

Will my UK driving licence still be valid in the EU?

If there is a no-deal Brexit, your UK driving licence may not be valid in the EU and EEA. Instead, you'll need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive abroad.

Each EU and EEA state decides if a foreign driver must have an IDP, as well as a driving licence, to legally drive in their country. This means you may need more than one type of IDP if you plan on driving through several countries, for example, going through France to Spain.

From 1 February 2019, you can only buy an IDP in person at the Post Office, which costs £5.50. Learn more here.

Do I need anything else?

It would also be a good idea to take a European Accident Statement with you, also known as a 'Constat Amiable'.

Widely used on the continent, if you have an accident, you might need to complete one of these legal forms. By taking one with you, you can be sure it's written in a language that you understand.

We'll send you a European Accident Statement if you buy a Foreign Use Extension, but you can also download a free English language version, which you can then print out, fill in and take with you. Driving in Europe after a no-deal Brexit can seem complicated, but we're here to help.

If you're thinking about buying a van and don't yet have insurance, see how our van insurance can keep you on the road.

Van Insurance

Added: 13th March 2019