Driving in Europe after Brexit

Everything you need to know about driving for your business in the EU post-Brexit

The rules around driving in the European Union (EU) as a Brit are likely to change as a result of Brexit, but what do you need to know next time you drive abroad?

If you drive in Europe for business, however frequently, things are set to change as a result of the UK leaving the EU on 31 January.

Nevertheless, there’s no need to panic just yet as the UK has entered a transition period during which the rules will not change.

This means that until December 2020, the existing rules on driving in Europe will remain in place.

However, to begin preparing for life after Brexit there are some key changes you’ll likely need to make before driving in EU and EEA (European Economic Area) countries.

International Driving Permits

In addition to your UK driving licence, motorists may also be required to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some EU states after the EU exit transition period finishes in December 2020.

All types of IDP are available over the counter at 3,000 Post Office branches. The RAC no longer issues IDPs. It is important to ensure you have the right IDP for the EU country you are travelling in - the GOV.UK website has the most-up-to-date information.

An IDP will cost £5.50, however if you are travelling to multiple countries where different IDP versions are required, you would need to purchase both the 1949 and the 1968 versions of IDPs, costing £11.

Read our guide to IDPs in other non-EU states for more information.

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Green Card Insurance

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) advises that motorists driving in an EU state should bring ‘a physical copy of what is called a Green Card’.

Though European insurance authorities have said they will waive the need for a green card post-Brexit, this has not yet been confirmed by the European Commission. This means that the insurance industry is still advising drivers obtain one to be safe.

Green Cards are an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary third-party motor insurance cover for travel in the country being travelled to.

Note, they are not cards in the physical sense – they are paper documents which under current international rules, should be printed on green paper.

Motorists should contact their vehicle insurers to obtain a green card both for their car and, if they are towing, for their trailer or caravan as well. There may be an administrative cost involved. The ABI recommends that to be sure, drivers ‘should allow sufficient time – about one month before you travel - for your insurer to process your request and if need be, post your Green Card document to you.’

European Breakdown Cover

The RAC will continue to provide breakdown cover through our partners operating within the European Union.

With our comprehensive plus European breakdown cover, there is no limit to the costs to get your vehicle home. If repairs cost more than £500 you can choose to have your car brought home instead of having it repaired in Europe, providing the vehicle is not beyond economical repair.

It is vital that you also have the correct documentation with you after the UK leaves the EU. Whilst these requirements are yet to be decided, they may include an International Driving Permit and Green Card insurance documents.

Business Breakdown cover

For more information about our 12 and 24 month Business Breakdown cover, or for a quote, get in touch below.

Road Traffic Accidents in Europe

The Government has indicated that after Brexit, UK residents involved in a road traffic accident in an EU or EEA country ‘should not expect to be able to make a claim in respect of that accident via a UK-based Claims Representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)’.

Instead, UK residents may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle country where the accident happened.

In the event of an accident in an EU or EEA country caused by an uninsured or an untraced driver, UK residents may not receive compensation. Contact your insurer for more information.

This scenario could differ depending on the country.

GB stickers post-Brexit

UK-registered cars will need to display a GB sticker when driving in any of the 27 EU countries – including the Republic of Ireland.

Drivers currently only need the sticker if their car does not have blue EU registration plates that display the ‘GB’ initials, but when the UK leaves the EU, drivers will need a separate GB sticker even if they have GB on their number plate.

Stay on the right side of the law in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe by buying a European Driving Kit from RAC Shop which contains the GB sticker you need as well as other legally required items for driving abroad.