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Brexit uncertainty and the motor industry – how will it affect you?

By Matthew Porter
Head Of Technical & Business Performance

Uncertainty around the future relationship between the EU and UK following Brexit could lead to restrictions and new regulations regarding cross-border motor travel, including new rules regarding proof of insurance.

The vote in Parliament on 13 March may have lessened the chances of a no deal Brexit but has not ruled out the possibility, and the motor industry should remain informed of the implications for their insurance cover.

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place, motorists will be required to carry a physical Green Card for international travel between the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA). Green Cards are international certificates of insurance issued by insurance providers, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary minimum motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to.

Green Cards are not currently required for travel from the UK to other EEA countries, but a no deal scenario will mean the UK may no longer be a part of the European motor insurance “free circulation zone”.

Who will be affected?

While the possible changes would affect all motorists travelling internationally, commercial operators will need to pay particular attention to the changes. The Green Cards will need to be applied for in advance and one Green Card will be needed for each vehicle registration, regardless of whether it is part of a fleet. Special attention will also need to be paid to the differences between countries’ rules; for example, trailers and vehicles are usually considered one unit within the UK, but in some EU member states there is a need to specifically state the trailer coverage with an identification number.

Travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland is a particular concern, with a high number of commercial vehicles regularly crossing the border each day when compared with the UK and Continental Europe. Not having a physical copy of a Green Card means you would not have proof of insurance and would be in breach of the law. There is also the likelihood that documentation such as Green Cards will be rigorously checked at border check points.

What now?

The outcome of Brexit is still undecided, and therefore it remains to be seen whether these new requirements will be put into place. However, we recommend our automotive customers be prepared to comply with new requirements.

Given these uncertainties, we will support our brokers and policyholders to meet any additional requirements. We recommend the following steps to ensure continuity of cover and legal compliance:

  • ·         Make sure you know the Green Card requirements and are prepared to apply in advance should the UK exit the EU without a deal in place.
  • ·         Inform your broker as soon as possible if you or your company plan to travel to the EU from the UK during the period directly following 29 March 2019 and obtain your Green Card in advance of the journey.
  • ·         Take a physical copy of the Green Card with you for travel into the EU, if the new requirements are put into place.
  • ·         Be aware that international driving licenses could be required for drivers travelling to the EU in the future.
  • ·         Speak with your broker about any concerns regarding how possible changes could affect your specific insurance needs and risk profile.


QBE has taken the necessary steps to be in a position to provide green cards for our policyholders that will require a green card in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and these are now available and ready to be issued. If you will require a Green Card, we will be able to issue these via your broker upon request. Please note that green cards will not be issued automatically and must be requested if needed. We would encourage these are requested as soon as possible before travel, recommended for one month prior.

While the outcome of Brexit is still unclear, we are prepared to support your needs regardless of the outcome. We will continue to update our policyholders of any new developments around requirements following Brexit.

Your contact

Your contact

Matthew Porter

Matthew Porter

Head Of Technical & Business Performance

Tel: +44 178 578 5379