THE possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU without a ‘deal’ increased significantly last week when the agreement reached between the UK and the EU was overwhelmingly rejected by the British parliament.
If a ‘no deal’ exit does happen then motorists driving a Republic of Ireland (ROI) registered vehicle to Northern Ireland
(NI) and/or Great Britain (GB) will be required to produce evidence that the insurance cover issued in the ROI is valid in NI and/or GB. The document required is known as a Green Card. Currently all Irish motor vehicles travelling within the EU are covered by the terms of the EU Motor Insurance Directive. This allows motor vehicles to travel freely between the ROI, NI and GB as well as within other EU countries without requiring supplementary insurance documentation. Should a ‘no deal’ Brexit occur then NI and the UK will no longer be party to the EU Motor Insurance Directive. This means that anyone driving a ROI registered motor vehicle in NI or the rest of the UK will require a Green Card to demonstrate to the authorities in NI or the UK that they have valid insurance in place.
A Green Card is an internationally recognised insurance document which provides proof of the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the country visited. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIB)is the Green Card Bureau for the ROI. The MIB is working with insurance brokers and companies to provide motorists intending to travel in NI or the UK with a Green Card in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The current timeline for Brexit is 29 March 2019 so Green Cards will be needed after that date if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Insurance brokers and companies will begin issuing Green Cards from March 2019.
Anyone planning on driving their Irish registered motor vehicle in NI or elsewhere in the UK should contact their broker or insurer one month in advance of their expected travel date. It will be easy to obtain a Green Card and there will be no additional premium charged for it but there may be a small administration charge.
Obviously, because of close proximity to NI, Donegal drivers will travel in NI on a more regular basis than motorists farther afield. Indeed many will travel to NI on a daily basis to work and thus will require a Green Card on a permanent basis. Green Cards provide a guarantee of insurance cover for a minimum of 15 days and the maximum length a Green Card can remain valid is to expiry date of the motor insurance policy. A Green Card is issued in respect of a specific vehicle and a specific insurance policy so, if the vehicle (or policy) is changed, a new card is required. The card will apply to every driver covered to drive under the policy on the specific vehicle.
It is important to note that a Green Card merely confirms to authorities in NI or the rest of the UK that you have the legally required minimum third party insurance required to drive in the UK. In most cases motorists’ existing cover will be more extensive that the minimum third party cover, usually providing ‘comprehensive’ or ‘third party fire and theft’. It is advisable therefore to check with your broker or insurer that you have the ‘full’ policy cover when travelling outside the ROI. While most Irish insurers automatically extend full policy cover for journeys into the UK some restrictions may apply. It is hoped that good sense will prevail and a ‘no deal’ Brexit will be avoided but, at this stage, it is wise to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.
Insurance Advice from Patricia Patton APA on behalf of Patton Insurance Ltd t/a Harte Insurance Broker, 18 Academy Court, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and Joe Langan DIP CII: CIP, retired Insurance Broker. Tel. 074 91 25955. Email: patricia@ harteinsurance. ie Web: www.harteinsurance. town.ie. Patton Insurance Ltd t/a Harte Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland