Saturday 23 February 2019

Five things Irish motorists need to know about the 'Green Card' in event of a No-Deal Brexit

Traffic on the M50 Photo: Arthur Carron
Traffic on the M50 Photo: Arthur Carron
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Irish motorists wanting to drive in the UK, including Northern Ireland, will need to arrange so-called 'Green Cards' in the event of a no-deal Brexit, insurers have warned.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is an internationally recognised insurance document which provides proof of the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the country visited. 

The 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.

What is the current situation?

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.

So what will happen if there is a No-Deal Brexit?

Insurers and brokers are now preparing to provide the extra documentation for motorists. The 'Green Card' will show Northern Ireland and British authorities that the vehicle has valid motor insurance cover.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) are informing drivers today that the cards will be issued to policy holders from March, in line with the current expected Brexit date of March 29, 2019.

It will not be needed if an agreement is reached between the EU and UK on Brexit, or if a transitional arrangement is implemented.

What else are the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) saying?

The MIBI Chief Executive said today they had hoped to avoid the need for Green Cards. David Fitzgerald said they are still hoping a deal will be agreed between the UK and the EU to avoid disruption.

"Green Cards will only be necessary in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit," David Fitzgerald said.

"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. 

"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."

When did the motor industry start preparing for this?

MIBI Chief Executive David Fitzgerald said the motor insurance industry had been preparing for this possibility for months.

"By the end of this week over 400,000 Green Card forms, along with electronic templates, will have been sent to the various motor insurance companies and insurance brokers to prepare for distribution, in the event they are required," he said.

"If there are no further developments and a hard Brexit is still a possibility, then insurance companies and insurance brokers will begin issuing Green Cards to affected policyholders in March.

"At that point anyone who is planning on driving their motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK is advised to contact their insurer or broker one month in advance of their expected travel date."

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