Over half of the UK motorists in a poll were unaware they will require an insurance green card from 31 October if the UK leaves with no deal

UK Motorists are facing a Green Card crisis if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, Biba has warned.

The association has undertaken new research, that found over half of the UK motorists polled were unaware they will require an insurance green card from 31 October if the UK leaves with no deal in place.

It comes after rising concerns over the backlog of applications from motorists who have applied for the insurance green card from their underwriters but have yet to receive them.

Biba commissioned Populus to conduct the research among 2,000 UK motorist and the results have caused concern for the industry with more respondents believed it was a legal requirement to have European breakdown cover (49%) than to have a motor insurance Green Card (45%). One fifth (20%) were not aware the law requires a valid driving licence.

Graeme Trudgill, Executive Director at BIBA explained why the research had been commissioned: “If we leave Europe without a withdrawal agreement there are certain reciprocities that we will not continue to enjoy. One of these is the benefits of driving in the free-circulation zone without vehicle insurance checks.

”If the UK is not allowed in the free circulation zone then UK motorists will have to produce what is known as a Green Card; a hard copy document evidencing valid motor insurance, printed on green paper.

”Since the 2016 referendum BIBA has raised with government the difficulties of reverting to a Green Card system and the additional bureaucracy that drivers will have to face. This research confirms what we suspect – those driving to Europe could be caught unawares.”

Necessary action

Director General of the ABI, Huw Evans, added: With a ‘no-deal Brexit still on the table, we want all insurance customers to know the facts about what this means for them, so that they can take the necessary action.

“If you live in Northern Ireland and drive to the Republic of Ireland, or if you plan to drive your vehicle to mainland Europe after a no-deal Brexit, you will need a Green Card to prove you are insured. You should contact your insurer before you travel in order to get one. This advice applies to businesses as well as individuals.

“Insurers are ready for a no deal. But we urge the UK Government to pull out all the stops to, at this eleventh hour, agree an orderly exit from the EU.”

Only around one in three people (35%) said that they have heard of the motor insurance Green Card. Awareness was significantly higher among those aged 65 and over, at 59%, compared to 20% for those aged 18-24. This difference may in part be explained by the fact that the Green Card was in common use until the early 1980s when insurance companies and insurance brokers provided them to customers whenever they drove to the continent.

Biba warned motorists they have to ensure they have a green card before they head int Europe of the EEA if the European Commission does not make a decision to exempt UK registered vehicles from being checked for proof of insurance.

“Those who travel without a Green Card may be breaking the law of the country they are traveling in and could face penalties such as fines and the seizure of their vehicle,” added Biba. “They may also not be allowed to drive in the country they are visiting.”

Hugh Savill, Director of Regulation at the ABI, said: “Insurers have issued over 400,000 Green Cards to customers and, together with insurance brokers, have been busy alerting motorists to what they need to do if driving their vehicle in the EU, including from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland, in the event of a no deal.”

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