Brexit, and what it means for RAC Insurance customers

RAC Insurance Customers: Driving in the EU - Green Card Process

The new Brexit trade agreement means that from January 2021, you'll need to take extra documentation with you when driving in Europe.

UK customers: You'll need to carry a green card, which is an internationally recognised certificate of insurance, when driving in the EU and EEA. Those who travel without one may be breaking the law and may not be allowed to drive in the country they're visiting. 

Vehicles towing a trailer or caravan will also need a separate green card for the trailer or caravan – please contact us 21 days before traveling, and we'll arrange for one to be sent to you. 

In addition to a green card, you'll need to:

  • Take your driving licence and V5C log book with you.
  • Take your passport with you – this must have at least six months’ validity on it and be less than 10 years old.
  • Display a GB sticker on your vehicle. 
  • Take the appropriate documentation for pets travelling with you.

You may also need an International Driving Permit to drive in some EU/EEA countries.

Northern Ireland customers: Please contact us to get a green card and we'll issue you with one that lasts for the remainder of your policy. You can use your green card to travel elsewhere in Europe but are restricted to 60 days maximum. If your trip exceeds 60 days, your insurance policy cover for travel abroad will drop to the minimum level, as stated in your policy documentation.

For more information on driving abroad and any required documentation, please review the following websites:

  • Driving Abroad

  • International Driving Permits

  • The Motor Insurance Bureau

To request a Green Card to drive your vehicle in the European Economic Area (EEA):

Please contact us at least 14 days before you travel. Visit our existing customers page to find the relevant contact number. 

Temporary Car Insurance customers

If you have Temporary Car Insurance with us, see the comprehensive list of FAQs relating to the Green Card below, from our partner Dayinsure.

If you need any further assistance, please contact us on 0333 005 0944.

Temporary Car Insurance FAQs

Q. What is a green card?

A Green Card is issued by the driver’s insurer and acts as evidence that the minimum legal cover required is in force for the country visited whilst driving outside the UK. The Green Card is a physical document which is printed on green paper and cannot be issued in an electronic format.

Q. Can you insure me to drive abroad?

Yes. Our insurance includes third-party cover for a trip to countries within the EU, the EEA and Switzerland automatically – as long as the car is in the UK when the insurance starts and finishes.

You may upgrade this cover to comprehensive cover when you’re completing the application.

We can’t provide insurance to you in a country outside of the EU, EEA and Switzerland. Please click here to confirm which countries are in the EU and EEA.

A ‘Green Card’ will be required if you are driving your vehicle in the EU on or after 1 January 2021 and Dayinsure will require at least 28 days’ notice to issue you with a Green Card if one is required.

Q. Which countries are in the EU and EEA?

Countries in the EU and EEA:

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28 countries. It operates an internal (or single) market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.

EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

The European Economic Area (EEA):

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market. Check the list of EEA countries.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Q. I am travelling to the European Union by car. Will my car insurance be valid?

UK law requires that your motor insurance includes third party cover when driving in the European Union.

Your policy will provide cover for driving in the EU, but it will be necessary for you to obtain a Green Card and an International Driving Permit to show in the event of a documentation check.

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance, issued by UK insurers to say that the necessary third-party cover is in place for the country being travelled to.

If you are planning to be driving your vehicle in the EU on or after 1 January 2021, please contact us at least 28 days before you plan to travel so we can understand your needs and issue you with a Green Card if you require one.

More information on how to obtain an International Driving Permit can be obtained from here.

Q. Do I need a Green Card to travel to EU, EEA or Switzerland?

If you are travelling to the EU and will return prior to 31 December 2020, you do not need a Green Card and do not need to contact us.

If you are planning to be driving your vehicle in the EU on or after 1 January 2021, please email: [email protected] at least 28 days before you plan to travel so we can understand your needs and issue you with a Green Card if you require one.

Please note – A Green Card cannot be issued electronically so it will be sent via the post to the address provided as part of the application process.

Q. I’m travelling from Northern Ireland to Ireland. Will I need a Green Card?

Yes. Any vehicle driving across the Northern Irish border will require a Green Card.

Please email: [email protected] at least 28 days before you plan to travel so we can understand your needs and issue you with a Green Card.

Q. How do I get a Green Card?

If you’re planning to drive your vehicle in the EU, EEA or Switzerland on or after 1 January 2021. Please email: [email protected] at least 28 days before you plan to travel so that we can understand your needs and if required, issue you with a Green Card.

Q. Where can I get more information?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has issued a helpful document which addresses further questions on Green Cards and insurance requirements when driving abroad. Visit here for more information.

Q. What if I travel without a Green Card?

You will be breaking the law. If you do attempt to drive you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution.

The only other legal option would be to purchase insurance locally when you arrive in the country (often known as ‘frontier insurance’). However, such insurance cover may not be widely available and may be more expensive than UK-issued policies.

Q. How much will it cost?

A £10.00 administration fee will be charged to cover the costs associated with the issuing and posting of the Green Card documents.

Q. Can the Green Card be sent electronically?

No, under current international rules, the Green Card is a legal document which is printed on green paper. The original physical copy of the document must be carried with you when you travel.

Q. How long does a Green Card last?

Green Cards are normally valid for 15 days. However, if you are going to be travelling abroad for longer than 15 days, let us know and we may be able to extend it.

Q. I will be towing a trailer / caravan. What do I need to do?

You need to tell us when you request a Green Card from us. You need to provide us with as much information as you can about the vehicle you will be towing. Dayinsure will then issue you with two Green Cards. One for the vehicle you will be driving and one for the trailer/caravan you will be towing.