Whatever your view of Brexit, everyone seems to agree on one thing; it’s not exactly going smoothly. The original deadline for departure was the 29th of March, but recently the UK has been granted an extension, and even at this late stage, a lot of things are still left in limbo. One such issue is the matter of driving commercial vans and vehicles abroad, which is causing some concern amongst our customers looking for cheap van deals, wondering if they should hold off until after it all settles down. Well, since a lot of Brexit isn’t yet crystal clear, we’ve decided to create this post detailing what we know so far. Depending on your circumstances, you may need two main items to drive your commercial van abroad: green card insurance and International Driving Permits (which are not the same thing, by the way).
1. Green Card Insurance
At this stage, the government has been clear that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, commercial van drivers and fleet operators will need to get green cards for each vehicle that goes abroad. (Which means a single card is not going to cover, for example, three vans.) Even if you have fleet insurance, you may still require one. It’s worth noting, too, that some European countries will also need you to have trailer insurance, so that’s another aspect you’ll need to double check before you leave, and apply for one if necessary. You must take care to do this at least a month before leaving, though, or it may not arrive in time!
Didn’t officials say that green cards weren’t necessary?
No. There’s some confusion on this, which seems to stem from the first half of 2018. Last year, UK insurance authorities reached an agreement with their European counterparts that would waive the need for green cards in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, it’s not yet been passed into actual law by the European Commission, so in short it may or may not end up being relevant to UK drivers.
How can I get a Green Card for my van?
Thankfully, it’s reasonably simple to do – all you have to do is contact your main insurance provider, and they’ll be able to advise whether you need one. If you do, they’ll then issue one free of charge. The Department for Transport has said that insurers may face a small admin charge though, so possibly some insurers will attempt to pass some of this on to their customers.
2. International Driving Permits
Amongst its ongoing negotiations, the government is also trying to sort out an agreement that means the UK licence will still be recognised abroad. The clock is severely ticking on that front though, which means it may be up to UK drivers to prepare for the worst. If we leave with a no-deal Brexit, UK licences may not be recognised in Europe, which means that UK drivers will require an International Driving Permit.
There are three types of International Driving Permit, depending on where you’re driving:
- 1949 Convention IDP: For driving in Cyprus, Malta or Spain.
- 1968 Convention IDP: For driving in any other EU country – which includes Norway and Switzerland.
- 1926 Convention IDP: For driving in Liechtenstein.
You may be pleased to hear that you don’t require one to drive in the Republic of Ireland, though.
How can I get an International Driving Permit for my van?
They aren’t supplied by insurers, but solely by the Post Office, costing £5.50 for each one.
Of course, it really comes down to how the next few weeks pans out for EU negotiations. We recommend actively doing your own research to keep yourself posted! However, while we’re not political pundits here at Van Discount, we are proud of what we can do best – providing you with the best new van deals, time after time. You can browse our site to find great prices on Ford, Citroën, and curtain-side vans, or simply give us a call on 01282 872 539 to see how we can help!