‘No-deal’ Brexit Green Card update for horsebox and trailer owners

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m5 horse 750x440 - ‘No-deal’ Brexit Green Card update for horsebox and trailer owners

m5 horse 150x100 - ‘No-deal’ Brexit Green Card update for horsebox and trailer ownersWith continued uncertainty over Brexit, but with the Government’s avowed intention to leave the European Union (EU) by 31 October, freedom from Green Cards may come to a swift end in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

This means that UK drivers on the continent, either for business or pleasure, will require a printed piece of documentation – the Green Card from the early 70s.


The UK is currently part of the European ‘free circulation zone’ which means UK motorists can legally drive their vehicles in any European Economic Area (EEA) country (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) as well as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland. Currently, they only need to carry their standard EU ‘First Directive on Motor Insurance’ compliant certificate.

The European Commission has yet to confirm that an agreement reached in May 2018 between the relevant European insurance authorities to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, will stand. This has led to the Department for Transport announcing that if the UK does leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, and if the May 18 agreement is not confirmed, drivers will have to carry a Green Card guaranteeing they have the necessary minimum motor insurance cover for driving abroad

Charles Green, Director of Towergate Equine Insurance said:

“This has significant practical and administrative ramifications for our horsebox and trailer towing customers travelling abroad and my advice is:

  1. Obtain your Green Card from your equine Insurance Broker or motor insurer in good time before you travel outside the UK (including to the Republic of Ireland as well as mainland Europe). Even if you are used to receiving on-line insurance certification from your insurer, you will still need a printed Green Card.
  2.  Make sure that as well as specifying the number plate of your vehicle, any horse trailers or towed vehicles are suitably identified as some EU member states even require each trailer to be issued with its own Green Card.
  3.  Make sure that you carry the Green Card (a physical document printed on a piece of green paper) with you on your journey. You may be required to show documents at the border when entering the EU or be subject to police check while driving abroad. You will also need to present the document at the scene of an accident. If you do not, you may be prosecuted for driving without insurance, fined and have your vehicle impounded.”

Neither today’s motor insurance certificates that comply with the EU First Directive on Motor Insurance, nor the issuing of a Green Card, have anything to do with extending cover beyond the minimum level legally required in the countries within which your vehicle is travelling. This means that what does not change is the need to always tell your motor insurer about needing to extend the cover you enjoy whilst driving in the UK to include overseas activity, before you travel. 

Note: Anyone driving from the UK to a country that does not comply with the EU First Directive on Motor Insurance already needs to arrange a Green Card, providing the country they are travelling to belongs to the Green Card system. UK insurers cannot provide cover for vehicles travelling to countries that do not belong to the Green Card system and nor can they issue Green Cards for vehicles without UK registration plates.

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Charles Green concludes: “For more specific information about your current individual policy, it is important that you speak with your Equine Insurance Advisor.”

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