Holiday to Europe? Help is at hand with A-Plan
A-Plan Insurance’s experts in Harrogate are at the end of the phone to help you navigate details of the initial changes to post-Brexit travel, including the new Green Card we’ll all need.
The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 with a transitional period which ended on 31 December 2020.
Whilst some of the finer details are yet to be made clear, we know that the UK is not part of the European Green Card free circulation zone – which means additional documentation is needed when driving and travelling in the EU.
Although European travel is restricted at the moment, it’s worth noting some key points from A-Plan Insurance in preparation for when restrictions are eased so you have complete peace of mind.
“Although at the moment, travelling throughout Europe may seem a long way off, it’s absolutely imperative that people are aware of all the changes that may impact their insurance cover,” says Chris Bishop, manager of the Harrogate branch in Princes Street. “Our local team are here to help so if anyone has any queries then please do get in touch.”
Driving your own vehicle abroad
If you are intending to drive in the EU, you’ll now need to have a valid Green Card, a GB sticker and carry your V5 document with you. You may also need an International Driving Permit, depending on what country you are driving in.
A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that proves that you are suitably insured to drive in EU countries. You’ll need to have a physical copy of the Green Card when travelling: if you arrive at the border without a physical Green Card you will not be allowed to drive in that country - digital copies are not acceptable. However, as of July 2020, a Green Card no longer has to be printed on green paper. A black and white copy is now acceptable.
If you don’t have a Green Card you may be breaking the law by driving your vehicle in Europe, and you might face a fine or your vehicle could be seized.
Remember, if you’re towing a caravan or trailer, you’ll need two green cards: one for your vehicle and one for the caravan or trailer.
For full details visit https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad.
Getting your Green Card and other documents
A Green Card is a document which is provided by your insurer. It’s important to contact A-Plan as early as possible prior to departure to mitigate the potential impact of any delays with postage that may prevent you from receiving and subsequently travelling in the European Union.
Most insurers ask that the requests are with them at least four weeks prior to travel, but the earlier the better. Some are now able to email the Green Card as a pdf document, so if you receive yours by email, please ensure it is printed off before you head off on your holidays.
International Drivers Permit (IDP) can be purchased from the Post Office for £5.50 – you’ll need to present your current driver’s licence when applying. The type of permit needed will depend on which country you’re visiting and driving in.
If the original vehicle log book (V5C document) has been lost, damaged or destroyed, then you will need to get a replacement from the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
You can pick up a GB sticker from many outlets including Amazon, eBay or Halfords.
Other documentation and things to be aware of
Passports: You’ll still need to make sure you have a valid passport with a minimum of six months left before it expires, so it’s worth checking the expiry date now to ensure you have sufficient time to renew if needed.
EHIC Cards: If you have an existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will be valid if you’re travelling to an EU country. EHICs will soon be replaced with a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), so once your EHIC expires, you’ll need to replace it with the new one. (Please note the GHIC will only cover you in the EU, not in countries such as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland). For more information about both, visit gov.uk.
Wherever you’re travelling to, it’s advisable to purchase travel insurance. Please speak to A-Plan Harrogate as they can help with this.
Pet passports: If you’re taking a pet with you, you’ll need to carry an Animal Health Certificate as the existing pet passport scheme will no longer be used. You can find out more on the Government website here.
Travelling for business: If you’re travelling for business, you may need a visa, work permit or other documentation is you’re planning to stay longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in the EU or providing services as a self-employed person in another country. Check out the Government’s website for more information.
To speak directly to one of the team at the Harrogate branch of A-Plan, call 01423 647235 – they’ll be happy to advise you regardless of who your insurer is.
See www.aplan.co.uk/harrogate for more information.