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Driving in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit

At the moment, it seems like every single day involves a new political development when it comes to what will happen, or not, in terms of the outcome of Brexit referendum. For those who are in the middle of trying to make plans for travelling around Europe in the next coming months, it is undoubtedly a stressful experience. If you add into the mix the worry over a no-deal EU exit, and travelling in Europe with a vehicle, or Brexit increasing car insurance costs, it gets worse. As with so many things regarding Brexit, there hangs heavy a huge amount of uncertainty as to what the outcome will be, as well as potential consequences. However, don’t let the fear and uncertainty stop you from driving abroad. In this guide, we have put together a summary of the government’s current recommended actions regarding driving in the EU.

European breakdown cover

So, how will Brexit impact your travel to the EU? You should make sure that whoever you have breakdown cover with, that they are still extending their cover to partners that are operating in the European Union. This is vital, as you could end up not being covered. Don’t immediately assume that you will no longer be covered by European breakdown cover by insurers: many leading car insurers are still offering this option in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and not all are increasing car insurance costs.

International Driving Permits

If the outcome of government talks means that a no-deal Brexit happens to the UK, then it will be a requirement for UK drivers to buy an International Driving Permit in order to be able to drive in EU states. In terms of where you can purchase these, you can apply for one at a Post Office branch, and these are considered to be a supplement to a UK driving license.

At the 2,500 Post Office branches across the country, all types of IDP are able to be purchased. What we mean by this, is that there is more than one type of International Driving Permit available to buy! Therefore it is extremely important that in the event that there is a no-deal Brexit, you are covered by the right permit. The list below informs you as to the type of IDP you will need for the EU country you are intending to travel in.

  • 1949 IDP: you will need this kind of permit if you are looking to travel to Ireland, Malta, Spain or Cyprus, according to government advice. Once this type of permit has been purchased, it will then remain valid for travel for 12 months in total
  • 1968 IDP: you will need the 1968 convention IDP if you are intending to travel to all other EU states. This permit lasts longer than the first, remaining valid for over three years. Or it will remain valid for however long your driving licence is valid for if that date ends up being earlier.

The cost of an International Driving Permit is low. It will cost you £5.50 from a Post Office, but it is important to be aware that if you are travelling to multiple countries, in which different IDP versions are required in those countries, then you would need to buy both categories of permits. This will cost you £11 in total.


Green Card insurance

It has been recommended by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) that motorists who will be driving in an EU state will by needing Green Card insurance if a no-deal Brexit ends up happening.

However, this remains a little muddled. As whilst European Insurance authorities have stated there would not be a need for Green Card insurance if a no-deal happened, it hasn’t actually been confirmed by the European Commission. This is why the insurance sector is recommended for people to obtain this kind of insurance.

In summary, Green Cards are certificates that are internationally recognised, and you can obtain one from insurance providers in the UK. If you get one, then it guarantees that the driver will have the appropriate third-party car insurance cover for travel in the country they are intending to travel too.

They are not actually Green Cards, rather they are actually paper documents, printed on green paper.

Taking your pet abroad

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the regulations will change in terms of being able to take your pet to any EU country. This is because if this outcome ends up occurring, then the UK will then be considered as an ‘unlisted country’

It is recommended by the government that pet owners prepare as much as possible before travelling to Europe if going with your pets. In terms of current advice for holidaymakers taking pets after a no-deal Brexit, it is as follows:

  • Get your cat or dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before it can travel
  • It will need a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the vaccination for rabies has been given.
  • Your vet will need to send this aforementioned blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  • The results will need to show it was successful, and you need to wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken, prior to travelling in Europe.
  • A health certificate is also needed, provided by an Official Veterinarian.
  • Pet passports that had been issued in the UK would no longer be valid for travel in the EU, which is also something you should be keeping in mind.

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