When the UK joined the then Common Market in 1973 it heralded new freedoms for business and private drivers crossing borders in Europe. With Brexit, especially if negotiations end with no deal, Britain faces travel restrictions that go straight back to the 1960s which is made abundantly clear in the latest Government Brexit technical paper, covering insurance.
Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance says: “At present, drivers can cross the Channel and drive where they like within the EU. All you need is your pink EU-compliant UK driving licence and your passport.
“The hard Brexit facts are that it could bring back the long-forgotten requirement of an insurance ‘green card’, last needed decades ago. At present that proof of insurance is not legally required although it is advisable to take a print-out of your insurance certificate with you.
“Drivers would need to remember to obtain their green card from their insurer prior to their departure, otherwise they run the risk of picking up a fine.
“Seven million drivers go into Europe for business or pleasure every year. The need for an insurance Green Card, which at present is free of charge, could bring a greater administrative burden and costs on insurers.
“The same rules would apply to Europeans driving in the UK, but no detail has been given about how the documents would be checked. The Government has made it clear that they will not check items at the border, so it needs to declare who will check them and where.
“This is on top of the potential need for an International Driving Permit (IDP) of which there are two types in different European countries.
“This extra administration is an inconvenience for drivers but for industry and particularly small businesses, it potentially adds a further layer of bureaucratic difficulty to cross-border trading.
“From what was an easy and simple process of driving on to the Continent, driving your own car in Europe could become a real pain. Overall, a no deal Brexit would mean more hassle than the current arrangements, so we hope a deal can be struck to avoid this potential red tape. And while there is no immediate change, it’s important for anyone planning to travel with their car on or after 29th March 2019 to check with their insurer.”