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Green Cards and Business Travel Insurance: What Commercial Operators Need When Travelling to the EU

Feb 16, 2021

Brexit has meant a lot of changes for businesses across the UK. None more so than hauliers and those in the transport and logistics sector whose vehicles and drivers travel from the UK to the EU.

One area which has changed are Green Card requirements for commercial vehicle operators. Without the right documents your drivers will not be able to cross the border, so it is vital to be aware of these changes.

What is an insurance Green Card?

The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) definition of a Green Card is ‘an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country visited.’

The EU and wider European Economic Area (EEA) operate a Green Card free circulation area, meaning drivers from EU and EEA countries do not need to carry Green Cards when they visit another area of the EU/EEA.

Why have rules relating to Green Cards for insurance changed recently in the UK?

Brexit. The UK left the EU and wider EEA on the 31st December 2020. This means the UK is no longer part of the Green Card free circulation area. And as such, anyone wanting to drive in the EU or EEA needs to have a Green Card with them.

Insurance Green Cards in the EU: New rules

You will now need a Green Card to travel outside the United Kingdom. If you are driving a commercial vehicle then you may need a Green Card for your vehicle and a separate one for your trailer. The Green Cards are specific to each vehicle and trailer and will show the vehicle registration number and the trailer identification numbers.

You need to take the Green Card with you when you travel, and you won’t be able to leave the United Kingdom without it.

How do you get a Green Card for insurance?

Green Cards will be provided by your insurer. It is important to contact your insurer, or insurance broker as soon as you are aware that your vehicle &/or trailer will be leaving the United Kingdom to ensure there is enough time for the Green Card to be provided before you travel. Allow at least 14 days for this but more where possible.

To get a Green Card, you will need to know the countries you are travelling to, the make, model and registration number of the vehicle, and the make, model, serial/chassis number and the registered/identification number of the trailer.

At this current time, with so many changes coming into effect which impact hauliers, it is important to stay on top of the rules before you travel. Otherwise, drivers could face significant delays at the border or be unable to travel.

For full guidance on carrying out international road haulage and the actions you and your drivers need to take before travelling refer to gov.uk.

How has Brexit affected Business Travel Insurance?

Whilst Brexit hasn’t brought about any immediate changes to travel insurance requirements, it does bring into focus areas which businesses should consider when asking their employees to travel or drive abroad for work, such as Green Cards, health and safety and the extent of their insurance cover.

Whilst having vehicle insurance in place is vital – you won’t be able to leave the UK without a Green Card – your business must also think about other risks to your business and employees when travelling abroad.

This includes business travel insurance. As a transport business, like all other businesses, you have a duty of care to your employees. This means focusing on health and safety issues. And transport and logistics businesses typically fall into some of the highest risk categories in relation to health and safety.

If your business includes the need for your employees to engage in foreign travel – such as driving abroad, then you need to think about extra insurance covers in addition to commercial fleet insurance. Cover under such policies will not extend to some of the risks your employees face.

A sad case from 2016 which saw a truck driver die from natural causes whilst in Italy highlights this perfectly. The company in question did not have insurance to cover the costs of repatriation of the driver. The truck itself was therefore recovered but not the driver.

But insurance cover does exist in the form of Business Travel and Personal Accident covers for employees. Such insurance can provide cover for areas such as:

  • Medical and Repatriation cover
  • Economic benefits available in the event of accidental permanent/temporary disablement or death whilst working.
  • Any claim resulting from injury illness or death that arises whilst working or during breaks will be covered.

For commercial operators and transport and logistics businesses managing risks around health and safety and fulfilling your duty of care to your employees should be at the top of your agenda given the inherent risks associated with the industry.

Our advice at Anthony Jones to commercial vehicle operators and fleet managers is to work with an insurance expert such as a broker, to understand exactly what insurance cover your business needs to mitigate business risk and to buy as much insurance cover as you can afford. Get in touch with us to discuss your commercial fleet insurance needs on 020 8290 9099 or email us at commercial.motor@anthonyjones.com.

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