Irish motorists are being warned they will need to arrange a 'Green Card' if they wish to be covered by insurance to drive in Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
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. It is a hard copy document which is printed on green paper or with a green background.
What has changed to cause this situation?
Currently all Irish motor vehicles with a valid 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, Northern Ireland and Great Britain as well as within other EU countries without requiring supplementary insurance documentation.
Should a ‘no deal’ Brexit occur, then the UK, including Northern Ireland, will no longer be party to the MID. This means that anyone who drives their Irish registered motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK will require a Green Card to demonstrate to the authorities in Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the UK that they have valid motor insurance cover in place.
Will everyone with motor insurance need a Green Card?
Only those who plan on driving their Irish registered motor vehicle in Northern Ireland, or any other part of the UK, will require a Green Card when driving in the UK/ Northern Ireland.
Green Cards are also required for any Irish motor insurance policyholders who wish to drive their Irish registered motor vehicle in a non EEA country. In this scenario the policyholder should check with their insurer or insurance broker as to the Green Card arrangements for the country in question.
When will I know for sure if I will need a Green Card?
A Green Card will only be required if a ‘no deal’ Brexit takes place. The EU and the UK are currently engaged in discussions about the final nature of the Brexit arrangements. If an agreement is reached then Green Cards will not be needed. Likewise, if the date of Brexit is extended, Green Cards will not be required before the revised date. The current expected date for Brexit is March 29, 2019.
What is the process for getting a Green Card? / Should I contact my insurance provider about this?
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) is the Green Card Bureau for the Republic of Ireland. We are working with motor insurance companies and insurance brokers operating in this country to provide anyone who wishes to drive their Irish registered motor vehicle in the UK, including Northern Ireland, with a Green Card should a ‘no deal’ Brexit take place.
If there is no Brexit deal between the UK and the EU, insurance companies and insurance brokers will begin providing Green Cards to their policyholders who wish to drive their motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK from March 2019 – provided that the expected 29th March timeline for Brexit is still in place.
From the beginning of March, if Brexit is still due to take place on March 29, then any Irish policyholder who plans to drive their motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in 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.
The point of contact for issuing Green Cards will be the insurance company or insurance broker you deal with. So if you receive your motor insurance via an insurance company you should contact them. Or if you receive your motor insurance via an insurance broker then you should contact your broker.
When will these Green Cards be needed?
The current timeline for Brexit is March 29, 2019 so Green Cards will only be needed after this date - if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit and you plan to drive your Irish registered vehicle in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK. This timeline will be pushed back should Brexit be delayed.
Will it be easy to get a Green Card if I need one?
Yes. A process for delivering Green Cards to effected motor insurance policyholders is currently being finalised. We are working with the various motor insurance providers to ensure they can be issued as swiftly and efficiently as possible to anyone who needs to drive their motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK post a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The Green Card will be provided in either hard copy, or electronic format for printing at home, depending on the arrangements your insurer or insurance broker puts in place. A period of one month’s advance notice will be required for the delivery of individual Green Cards.
How long will it take to get a Green Card if I need one?
Unless the expected date for Brexit, 29th March, has been delayed, insurance companies and insurance brokers will begin issuing Green Cards from March 2019. Anyone planning on driving their Irish registered motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK should contact their insurer or insurance broker one month in advance of their expected travel date.
I drive to the UK/ Northern Ireland every day, how will this impact me?
If there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit then anyone driving their motor vehicle from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, or anywhere else in the UK, will need a Green Card to show the law enforcement authorities that you have valid motor insurance.
What cover does a Green Card provide if I have an accident in Northern Ireland/ UK?
The Green Card merely confirms to the UK authorities that you have the legally required minimum third party motor insurance required to drive in the UK. Your existing cover may go further than what is provided for under third party policies. Whilst most Irish insurers automatically extend full policy cover for journeys into the UK, some restrictions may apply. It is therefore advisable to carefully read your policy documents if you are driving abroad and to check with your insurer if you are unsure.
Will British/ Northern Irish vehicles require a Green Card if they are travelling to the Republic of Ireland?
If a ‘no deal’ Brexit takes place then yes they will also require a Green Card.
If I plan on driving my vehicle in another part of the EU will I need a Green Card after Brexit?
No, unless you intend to travel to the EU via the UK.
What if I have to drive my motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK at short notice, will I still be able to get a Green Card?
Anyone planning on driving their Irish registered motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK is strongly advised to contact their insurer or insurance broker one month in advance of their expected travel date. Your insurance company or insurance broker will be able to advise you about the process they have in place for handling exceptional, short notice circumstances.
Is there a cost involved in getting a Green Card from my insurer/broker?
There may be a small admin charge associated with the provision of Green Card documents. Your insurance company or insurance broker will advise.
If I do get a Green Card, how long will it remain valid for?
Green Cards provide a guarantee of insurance cover for a minimum of 15 days and can remain valid until the expiry date of the motor insurance policy. Your insurer will specify the expiry date on the Green Card.
What happens if I change my vehicle?
Green Cards are issued in conjunction with a specific vehicle and a specific motor insurance policy. The maximum length a Green Card can remain valid is the length of time associated with a valid motor insurance policy. So if the vehicle is changed, the policyholder will require a new Green Card for the new vehicle.
What happens if I change my insurer and/or renew my policy?
Green Cards are issued in conjunction with a specific vehicle and a specific motor insurance policy. If you change your motor insurance provider or renew your motor insurance policy a new Green Card will also be needed.
You would also require a new Green Card if your motor insurance policy was renewed while you are still abroad.
My insurance is due to expire soon. Will the Green Card still cover me?
A Green Card will only be issued if the policyholder’s motor insurance policy remains valid for a minimum of 15 days after it is issued.
Can I transfer my Green Card to another vehicle?
Can I transfer my Green Card to my partner?
Each Green Card applies to a specific vehicle and the specific motor insurance policy covering that vehicle. If your partner is covered under the motor insurance policy on the specific vehicle then the Green Card will apply to them.
What happens if I drive in the UK/ Northern Ireland without a Green Card?
The law requires any motor vehicle to be properly insured no matter where it is used. If motorists do not have proof of insurance cover for the country they are driving in then they may be subject to legal penalties and fines in that country.
If Green Cards are required, will I have to have it with me all the time?
Yes, the Green Card will be required to be with you anytime you drive your motor vehicle in Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the UK.
My vehicle tows a trailer/caravan. Will I need a separate Green Card for the trailer/caravan?
No. The Green Card issued for the towing vehicle will cover the trailer/caravan while it is attached to that vehicle.
I have a multi vehicle insurance policy. Will my Green Card cover all the vehicles on my policy?
No. Each Green Card applies only to one specific vehicle and one specific motor insurance policy. So each of the vehicles will require their own specific Green Card.
I am planning to bring my car to Britain by ferry. Will I need my insurance documents at customs?
While this is a question for the UK customs authorities, legally you may be required to show your Green Card documentation before they will allow your vehicle enter the country in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario.
I employ drivers who regularly cross into Northern Ireland/ UK. Can I arrange Green Cards for them?
Yes, you will be able to liaise with your insurance company or insurance broker to ensure that any vehicles used by your drivers receive the necessary Green Cards. However it will be the responsibility of each individual driver to ensure they carry the Green Card specifically associated with their vehicle with them at all times when driving in Northern Ireland/ UK.
I am going to rent a car in Northern Ireland/ UK. Will I need a Green Card?
No. However if you plan on driving that car back into the Republic of Ireland or to another EU state then the rental company will need to issue you with a Green Card.