Motorists from Donegal will have to carry a ‘Green Card’ to drive across the border if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, to prove their vehicles have valid motor insurance.
Insurers and insurance brokers will provide ‘green cards’ to motor insurance policyholders who travel to the UK, including to Northern Ireland, if a ‘no deal’ Brexit takes place, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has advised.
If there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit, all motor vehicles travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland/ UK, will require a Green Card to demonstrate to law enforcement agencies they have valid motor insurance.
Green cards will not be required if an agreement is reached between the UK and the EU on Brexit, or if a transitional arrangement is implemented.
A Green Card is an internationally recognised insurance document which provides proof of the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the country visited. Green Cards provide a guarantee of insurance for a minimum of 15 days and can remain valid until the expiry date of the motor insurance policy, providing cover for multiple trips.
In line with the current expected Brexit date of March 29, insurers and insurance brokers will begin issuing Green Cards to policyholders from March. This is on the basis that no agreement has been reached between the UK and the EU on Brexit or that the process has not been further delayed. At that point anyone who plans on driving their Irish registered vehicle in Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK should contact their insurer or insurance broker one month in advance of their expected travel date. This is to ensure they receive their Green Card in sufficient time.
Currently all motor vehicles with a valid Irish registration travelling within the EU are covered by the terms of the EU Motor Insurance Directive (MID). This allows motor vehicles to travel freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland/ UK as well as within other EU countries without requiring supplementary insurance documentation. Should a ‘no deal’ Brexit occur, the UK (including Northern Ireland) will no longer be party to the MID, meaning a Green Card will be required to demonstrate to the authorities in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK that valid motor insurance cover is in place for those vehicles.
The MIBI acts as Green Card Bureau in the Republic of Ireland. The MIBI is a not for profit organisation that was established to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.
Speaking about this developing situation, David Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of the MIBI said: “Green Cards will only be necessary in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Our hope is that a deal will be agreed between the UK and the EU, meaning there will be no disruption to the motor insurance status quo for those travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland/ UK. If there is a transitional Brexit arrangement put in place between the EU and the UK then Green Cards will not be required.
"We had hoped to avoid the need for Green Cards, however as there continues to be uncertainty as to what the final outcome of the Brexit process will be, we want to raise awareness about the possible implications from a motor insurance perspective. This is to help members of the public who bring their motor vehicles to Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK to be prepared should a ‘no deal’ Brexit occur.
"Even if a hard Brexit does occur, policyholders’ existing insurance policies will remain valid for vehicles travelling from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK. However, the Green Card is necessary to provide proof of that insurance cover to the relevant law enforcement authorities."