Northern Irish drivers have been reminded unless a deal is done they will need an insurance “green card” to drive across the Irish border after Brexit. The insurance documentation will be required by any driver wishing to use their vehicle on EU roads after December 31, but it could be particularly useful for those who regularly cross the border.

The Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that proves visiting motorists have the right level of compulsory motor insurance cover required by law in the country visited. The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which represents car insurance companies, says firms have been preparing for Brexit and will be able to issue the cards to motorists.

At present, the UK is part of an agreement that means drivers based in the European Union (or the European Economic Area, or EEA, which includes the EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) do not need green cards. However, if there’s no Brexit deal, drivers in all four countries of the UK will be legally obliged to carry a green card when driving their vehicle on the roads of any EU country.

Bentley in France

Drivers who want to apply for a green card are advised to do so around one month before travelling, the ABI says. A green card will provide a guarantee of insurance for a minimum of 15 days, although some insurers may issue a green card that lasts for one year.

For those who cross the border more regularly, however, the ABI suggests speaking directly to the insurer to ask whether they can provide a green card that lasts longer than the 15-day minimum. Insurers are also expected to issue more detailed advice to drivers before the official end of the Brexit transition period, which is scheduled for December 31.

Carol Hall, the ABI’s assistant director, and head of European and international affairs, said it was important that drivers in Northern Ireland were ready for the end of the transition period, and insurers were prepared to help them stay on the right side of the law.

“Motorists in Northern Ireland need to be geared up for the end of the transition period on 31 December,” she said. “Motor insurers have planned for this and are ready to help and advise customers on what they need to do to ensure that they are driving legally in the Republic.”

Certificate of motor insurance and policy schedule with car key