Cross border drivers need clarity on no deal scenarios – Brendan Smith TD


Below is a reply by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to a Parliamentary Question I tabled in relation to difficulties that may arise for motorists concerning insurance cover when crossing the border post Brexit.  This follows on from advice by the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland in relation to policyholders and how a no-deal Brexit would affect insurance cover.

For Written Answer on : 23/01/2019
Question Number(s): 212 Question Reference(s): 3412/19
Department: Transport, Tourism and Sport
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.


To ask the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the discussions he has had with his British counterpart and the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland in relation to difficulties that may arise for motorists concerning insurance cover when crossing the Border; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Currently all Irish motor vehicles travelling within the EU are covered by the terms of the EU’s Motor Insurance Directive.  This allows motor vehicles to travel freely between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain as well as within other EU countries.

If the UK leaves the EU with a transition period, there should be no immediate change in the position regarding travel.  If the transition period is followed by a lasting arrangement which allows for travel under the current terms, there will be no further changes.

Should a no deal Brexit occur, the UK (including Northern Ireland) will no longer be party to the Motor Insurance Directive. This means that, unless action is taken by the European Commission, a Green Card will be required to demonstrate to the authorities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain that valid motor insurance cover is in place for those vehicles, and vehicles from the UK coming to the State will require a Green Card as proof of insurance.  However, even in the case of a no deal scenario, the EU Commission would be able under the Motor Insurance Directive to declare that vehicles entering the EU from the UK would not require a Green Card.  It would be a matter for the UK authorities to determine whether they required a Green Card for Irish vehicles.  My Department continues to liaise with the European Commission on this issue.

As part of necessary contingency preparations, the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has advised that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Green Cards will be begin to be issued to affected policyholders in March 2019 and policy holders are advised to contact their insurers a month in advance of their expected travel date.  This is an example of prudent advance planning by the MIBI and the wider insurance sector.

The Green Card is used as proof of insurance.  The Department understands that the vast majority of Irish motor insurance policies already include cover for travel in the UK. In such cases drivers will continue to be insured to drive in the UK even in a no-deal Brexit. However, they will need to carry the Green Card as proof of insurance if no other agreement is reached with the European Commission in the meantime.

Not all policies may include such cover in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In that eventuality, drivers who may be travelling to or through Northern Ireland or Great Britain should check their motor insurance policies and, if in doubt, check with their insurers that such travel would be covered.