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Driving abroad post-Brexit: What you need to know

Brexit: What are the new rules on driving in the EU?

Your driving licence

Our current pink credit card-style licences are standard right across Europe. Meaning most UK drivers will still be able to use their normal driving licence to drive in EU countries.

There are some exceptions and what is called an International Driving Permit (IDP) could be needed. These exceptions include people who only have a paper licence, not a photocard one, as well as those with licences issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

Current advice if you fall into one of these groups is to check with the embassy of the country you are planning to drive in to see if you will need an IDP. If you do you can buy an IDP from certain branches of the Post Office (you can find out which ones by searching online). An IDP costs £5.50, so if your trip is going to take you to countries where different versions of the IDP are required (driving through France to get to Spain, for example), you’ll have to buy both versions.

Insurance

When driving in Europe, you’ll need to keep a physical copy in the car of what's known as a motor insurance green card in order to prove you’re covered.

A green card is an international certificate issued by UK insurance companies, guaranteeing that the motorist has third-party cover for driving in the country you’re travelling in. It isn’t actually a card: it’s a paper document printed on green paper.

You should contact your insurers six weeks before travelling, to ask for a green card.

DO NOTE: The green card is only proof of a minimum level of third-party cover - it will not necessarily match the level of cover that you pay for in the UK. Check with your insurer to find out what level of cover you would receive.

You might need more than one green card if you’re towing a trailer or caravan – one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan. Some countries might also require you to have separate trailer insurance, so check before you travel. You’ll also need to have two cards if you have two policies covering the duration of your trip (if your policy renews during the journey, perhaps).

Documents

If you’re taking your vehicle to the EU for less than 12 months, you should carry a document with you that shows you either own the vehicle or have a leasing agreement for it. This means that you should have your vehicle log book (V5C) in the car or a VE103, which proves that you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad.

GB stickers

This gets a little complicated, you will need to display a GB sticker on the back of your vehicle, unless your number plate has GB on it, either alone or alongside a union flag. If the GB is alongside an EU flag or the flag of England, Scotland or Wales then you still need a GB sticker.

Best advice is to always have a GB sticker that way you won't get caught out! 

Road traffic accidents

If you’re involved in a road traffic accident in an EU or EEA country (the 27 EU states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you may not be able to make a claim via a UK-based claims representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Instead, you might have to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened, which could involve bringing the claim in the local language.

In addition, in the event of a collision in an EU or EEA country caused by an uninsured or an untraced driver, you may not receive compensation – but this will vary from country to country.

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