Motorists have been warned to check their documentation before travelling as the UK opens up its borders after the coronavirus crisis. Car insurance company Admiral says failure to prepare could prevent drivers entering foreign countries, or even having their vehicles seized while abroad.

With Britons already allowed to travel abroad for holidays, tourists have clamoured to visit locations on the UK’s ‘green’ and ‘amber’ travel lists. However, Admiral says the pandemic will have encouraged many travellers to use their cars instead of aircraft, and the company is warning motorists to have the correct post-Brexit paperwork before setting off.

Chief among the considerations is the insurance ‘green card’, which all motorists with a UK driving licence will need to carry as proof of insurance in countries that are part of the green card system. This includes the Republic of Ireland, all other EU countries and some non-EU countries, including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

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

Admiral says drivers who require a green card should allow at least seven days to apply for their green card, and warns that some insurers may charge an administration fee to issue the permit. However, those without a green card could be denied entry to a foreign country, or they could be fined, and even have their vehicle seized.

The company is also urging motorists to check whether they will need an international driving permit, or IDP. Such paperwork is unnecessary for those with photocard driving licences, but drivers with earlier paper licences, or licences issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, may need an IDP to drive in some EU countries.

“We expect many more motorists will be thinking of taking their car rather than flying, once holidays to Europe are possible again,” said Clare Egan, the head of motor product at Admiral. “New rules and regulations mean there’s a lot more to think about before heading abroad, and that includes getting a green card if you’re taking your car with you. Thankfully applying for one is straightforward, but there are other things to remember.

“Make sure you’re prepared and have all the right protection and documentation before you travel as the rules have changed since Brexit. This will minimise any potential problems you could face at the border and reduce any last-minute panic. As well as a green card, if you’re taking your car to Europe you will need your driving licence and your car’s vehicle registration document in case of an incident. It’s also a good idea to take a copy of your car insurance certificate or have an electronic copy available.”

Cars boarding train for Channel Tunnel crossing between France and England