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Driving Abroad & Green Cards

If you are driving abroad you will need to carefully check the wording of your car insurance certificate.

Each certificate carries a certification wording signed by an official of the authorized insurers to certify that the policy to which the certificate relates satisfies the requirements of the relevant law applicable in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Island of Guernsey, the Island of Jersey and the Island of Alderney.
Cars which are usually garaged in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands are covered by a policy which includes the Republic of Ireland within its territorial limits.
The policy will also cover the compulsory insurance requirements of each member country of the European Economic Community which inter alia includes the Republic of Ireland.
It will be noted that the certification of a U.K. certificate as detailed in the previous paragraph makes no reference to the Republic of Ireland.
However, by virtue of the Republic of Ireland’s compliance with the European Community regulations a certificate of motor insurance issued by a U.K. insurer is accepted as evidence of insurance in the Republic of Ireland.

The document which normally serves as proof of insurance within the Community is known as the ‘Green Card’, whilst its counterpart in the U.K. is the Certificate of Insurance. Certain member countries of the European Community (and certain other countries besides) have dispensed with the checking of green cards at common frontiers; the green card should, nonetheless, continue to be carried as proof of insurance.

By virtue of the European Community Directive on the insurance of civil liabilities arising from the use of motor vehicles, every policy issued in the U.K. pertaining to cover motor third party liability risks, has also to provide cover to conform with the requirements of the legislation of each of the other member countries of the European Community and since the motor insurance certificate effectively acts as proof of insurance in the U.K. this document also acts as proof of insurance within  the frontiers of the remaining member countries of the European Community.
It is the certificate of insurance which fulfills this function rather than the insurance policy document itself which may have been issued some considerable time ago and it is the annual certificate which, in effect, serves to prove that the cover has been renewed and is in force when the insured vehicle is being used on the continent.

As a result, so far as concerns the European Community Directive, the U.K. insurance certificate fulfils the same role as the green card customarily used by European countries and one wonders whether the U.K. Road Traffic Acts and ancillary regulations may eventually be amended so that the ‘green card’ replaces the certificate as the prescribed proof of insurance in this country also. The U.K. is, after all, currently the ‘odd man out’ in this respect.

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