driving abroad
New figures reveal that 46% (that’s nearly half!) of the British public have either driven their vehicles abroad or are open to doing so. However, over 70% are unaware of the essential Green Card system, according to a new YouGov survey by MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau).
As thousands of British motorists prepare to take their vehicles abroad this summer, drivers are reminded to ensure they have the correct insurance and check if they need a Green Card for the country they plan to drive in before embarking on their travels.

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance which gives visiting motorists the proof of minimum compulsory insurance, required by the law of the country visited.

The Green Card system enables cross border travel without having to purchase separate insurance policies at each border. The Green Card zone spans 7.5 million square kilometres, covering around 500 million vehicles.

MIB, who look after the system on behalf of UK, help provide UK motorists with hassle-free travel, keeping people moving across Europe and beyond.

MIB were instrumental in setting up the COB (Council of Bureaux), which administers the Green Card system across 50 countries. COB has been operating for 75 years and MIB continues to play a key role negotiating and influencing on behalf of UK insurers to ensure frictionless travel abroad.

The system also protects victims of accidents, providing a platform for settling claims arising from collisions caused by foreign vehicles in the UK and UK-based vehicles in the other 49 countries of the Green Card system.

Over the last 20 years the work of COB and its members have helped 7.5 million victims of cross border traffic accidents receive compensation.

Ahead of the summer getaway MIB is issuing some top tips to help people make sure they have the right insurance in place before they set off so they’re free to enjoy their holiday.

James Dalton, Chief Services Officer at MIB, said:

It’s really important that drivers check their motor insurance policy provides the level of cover they require for the country they are travelling to, and whether a Green Card is required, as part of their ‘to do list’ before setting off on their journey. This way, motorists can have full peace of mind that the right protections are in place before they hit the road.” 

  1. Make sure you have valid motor insurance: It might seem obvious but making sure you have valid UK motor insurance is the crucial first step. All valid UK motor insurance provides at least the minimum level of cover required for driving in the EU.
  2. Find out if you need a Green Card: If you’re driving within the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland you do not need a Green Card. For other countries in Europe including Albania, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine, or beyond including Morocco and Tunisia, a Green Card is required. If you are unsure if your destination requires a Green Card, please speak to your insurer.
  3. Check to see what level of cover your policy gives you abroad:  You should check to see whether cover for driving outside the UK extends beyond the minimum legal requirement of third-party liability. This means if you have an accident, you won’t be able to make a claim to repair your own vehicle – you’ll only be covered for damage to the other vehicle(s) involved. Some policies will retain the level of protection you have in the UK but it’s best to check and make amendments to your policy as required.
  4. Be prepared and plan in advance: Motor insurers are responsible for providing their customers with a Green Card. The insurer will need to be contacted, ideally at least six weeks before travel so it can be received in plenty of time. In some cases, drivers may need to carry an extra Green Card if towing a trailer or caravan, this may also need to be registered before travel. You must show your green card if you’re involved in an accident and you may have to show your Green Card at the border when moving between countries or if you’re stopped by the police. Currently you need to carry a physical copy of your Green Card but from the beginning of 2025 electronic PDF versions will also be accepted.
  5. Find out what else you need to drive abroad: In addition to checking if a Green Card is required before taking a vehicle abroad, it is recommended that motorists:
  • Check their driving licence will remain valid for the duration of their travel.
  • Take a copy of their motor insurance certificate.
  • Take an International Driving Permit (IDP) if driving in non-EU countries.
  • Take their vehicle registration document.
  • Take a European Accident Statement (EAS) form if travelling in Europe.

For up-to-date information on vehicle insurance requirements when driving abroad, visit gov.uk