A leading insurance body has warned consumers of the “implications” of a no-deal Brexit ahead of the UK’s planned departure from the EU on October 31.

As yet, the country has not signed a deal with the European Union, and if the nation leaves the single market on October 31 without a deal, requirements for driving abroad will change. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), a no-deal Brexit will force drivers to carry additional documentation for insurance purposes.

This documentation, the organisation says, comes in the form of a so-called Green Card, which will be required under EU regulations. The document is supplied by the insurer and the ABI says those who travel without one “may be breaking the law”. To avoid any issues, the ABI suggests contacting the insurer “about one month” before travelling.

British passport with European health insurance cards

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Green Cards, which will also be a requirement for EU motorists travelling to the UK, will be required for those crossing the Irish/Northern Irish border and anyone travelling to the continent from the UK. According to the ABI, an agreement between the relevant European insurance authorities to waive the need for Green Cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit was made in May 2018, but the agreement has not been confirmed by the European Commission, so the industry is planning on the basis of Green Cards being required.

However, despite the need for Green Cards for car insurance purposes, the ABI points out that travel insurance will not be affected. This is true even if the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that allows people some free healthcare in the EU is not replaced.

Asphalt road with cars passing through the forest in the region of Normandy France

Huw Evans, the director-general of the ABI, said the organisation wanted to make sure drivers know what they need to do in case the country does not secure a Brexit deal.

“With a ‘no-deal Brexit still on the table, we want all insurance customers to know the facts about what this means for them, so that they can take the necessary action,” he said. “If you live in Northern Ireland and drive to the Republic of Ireland, or if you plan to drive your vehicle to mainland Europe after a no-deal Brexit, you will need a Green Card to prove you are insured. You should contact your insurer before you travel in order to get one. This advice applies to businesses as well as individuals.

“I can reassure people that their travel insurance will continue to operate in the normal way when it comes to medical expenses, as emergency medical treatment is a standard feature. Customers should always double check that their travel insurance policy meets their full needs. Insurers are ready for a no deal. But we urge the UK Government to pull out all the stops to, at this eleventh hour, agree an orderly exit from the EU.”