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British warned of new European driving rules – or your car could be confiscated

Drivers are warned of changes in the rules for driving to Europe and on vacation.

There are many important things to know if you are planning on going to Europe (via the Channel Tunnel shuttle service) as you want to avoid the hassle of airports and possible flight cancellations.

There are also new rules for driving in your chosen European travel destination.

You now need a green card to drive your car on the continent or you risk not being able to go on vacation.

Without a green card, drivers can be refused entry at national borders, they can be fined if they are not properly insured, or their vehicle can potentially be confiscated.

Admiral Car Insurance believes the number of people driving to Europe this summer is likely to increase instead of flying.

However, it is warned that drivers with a UK driver’s license must have a green card with them to prove they have the minimum coverage for property damage and personal injury to third parties in countries that are part of the green card system.

This includes the Republic of Ireland, all other EU countries and non-EU countries; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia or Andorra.

Are you planning to take to the streets in Europe?

Admiral advises anyone intending to bring their own car to Europe to plan ahead and allow at least seven days to apply for their green card.

Although most green cards are free, some insurers may charge an administration fee to cover their internal costs.

Driver insurance offers coverage for up to 90 days while driving overseas, and a green card proves that it has the minimum coverage and is valid until the end of the contract period.

The green card rules

  • You must have a printed copy of your Green Card with you when you travel – an electronic version on your smartphone or tablet is currently not accepted by the authorities.
  • You can print it out yourself before leaving the UK but it must be clear and legible.
  • Although it’s called a green card, it doesn’t have to be green or printed on green paper. A white paper copy is fine.
  • Drivers pulling a trailer or caravan need an additional green card to prove that the towed vehicle is also properly insured.

Admiral policyholders can apply online. Drivers who are insured with other providers should clarify the process with their own insurer.

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New rules for driving in Europe for 2021

Admiral not only organizes a green card before a trip to Europe, but also reminds motorists that they must now also receive a GB sticker, unless their license plate contains the GB identifier itself or carries the Union flag. This is a new rule that came into play as a result of Brexit.

All UK stickers must be on the back of your car if your license plate contains a euro symbol, a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales, or just numbers and letters. Some countries require this regardless of what your license plate says. So it is best to check the rules in all the countries you drive through.

Depending on which country you want to visit, Admiral also reminds vacationers to check whether or not they need an International Driving Permit (IDP).

If you have a photo card driver’s license issued in the UK, you do not need an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. However, if you have a paper license or a driver’s license issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, you may need an internally displaced person to drive in some EU countries and Norway.

There are new rules for driving to and within Europe

There are new rules for driving to and within Europe

Follow the rules of the road

When driving abroad it is important to know the road traffic rules as these may differ slightly from those in the UK. Admiral urges motorists to check the rules for their destination before visiting in order to avoid costly fines and to protect themselves and other road users.

Accidents while driving abroad are quite common and analysis of Admiral’s data over the past three years shows that France is the country with the most accidental damage, accounting for 37 percent of the total damage.

This is because it is the closest country to the UK and is a popular destination for vacationers on a self-driving vacation. Germany and Spain tied for second place, each with 9 percent of the total damage.

Statistics show that accidents with another motorist hitting your parked car are most common when you are driving abroad. They account for 16 percent of all claims from 2018 to 2020. The next most common accident is caused by another driver on the road.

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Clare Egan, Head of Motor Product at Admiral, said: “We anticipate that many more drivers will think about taking their car instead of flying as soon as they can vacation in Europe again.

“New rules and regulations mean you have to do a lot more thinking before you go abroad, including getting a green card if you take your car with you.

Fortunately, applying for one is straightforward, but there are other things to keep in mind. Make sure you are prepared and have the proper protection and documentation in place before you travel as the rules have been changing have changed after Brexit. This will minimize potential problems at the border and reduce any last-minute panic.

“When you bring your car to Europe, in addition to a green card, in the event of an incident you will need your driver’s license and the vehicle registration document for your car.

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“It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your car insurance certificate with you, or have an electronic copy available. You must also verify that you will need a UK sticker and an international driver’s license before you travel, so give us plenty of time, at least Allow seven days to apply for the green card before traveling.

“The last thing anyone wants to think about is an accident while driving abroad. Unfortunately, this can happen. It is therefore important that you are clear about the road rules before you travel and that you have the correct documents with you when you are out and about.

“The rules may have changed since your last trip, so it’s worth taking the time to review them before you set off.”

Admiral’s Top 10 Tips for Drivers Going Abroad

1. Take your documents including your car insurance, your driver’s license (including the paper part) and your vehicle registration with you when you are abroad.

2. Take a copy of the agreed factual statement on the motor vehicle accident with you (a European accident form that has different names in different countries). You can find a copy of this in English at

3. Before driving, check the driving requirements for the countries you are driving through. This can include certain driving rules.

4. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance for yourself and your family as most auto insurance only covers the car and no onward travel for you and your luggage.

5. If you are involved in an accident, write down the location of the accident, including the date and time. Use your smartphone to view the exact location and take a screenshot.

6. Record the accident at a safe distance. Also take photos of the vehicles involved; Make sure you have a good photo of the registration number on the front and back of all vehicles.

7. Record all witness information, names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

8. Don’t sign anything unless you understand what you’re signing. In European countries, you will be presented with the agreed factual declaration on the motor vehicle accident. If you are involved in an incident with another driver, you will be shown the form. It is divided into two sections and each driver involved is expected to fill it in with their version of the events. The English language version that you take with you is for translation purposes only. It will help you understand each section of the form that the other driver is giving you.

9. Ask the local authority to rescue the car if they can. Make sure you have their address and contact details and that you know where they are going to take your car.

10. Keep calm, stay safe, and call your auto insurer and travel insurer if you need onward travel. Make sure you have your insurance company’s contact number on your phone.


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