Planning on towing your caravan, trailer tent or fifth wheeler in Europe post Brexit?
We bring you some updates if you’re planning on taking a touring caravan, trailer tent or fifth wheel trip to a European country (including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Serbia, Andorra or Liechtenstein).
(Updated January 30th, 2020)
Planning a holiday to Europe in your caravan, trailer tent or fifth wheeler in 2020?
So it looks like the UK will leave the European Union at 11 pm on January 31st, 2020. After this, there will be a transition period as negotiations continue until the end of 2020. The Government has said that travelling in the EU in 2020 will be unaffected.
Here’s what you need to know and what might be useful to know when towing in Europe
Taking your caravan on a ferry or via Eurotunnel will not change in 2020.
The current rules on travel will continue to be in force during the transition period, however, some drivers might consider taking extra documents on their European holidays in 2020 for their own peace of mind.
We’ll update this blog post as and when the Brexit negotiations move forward, or you can sign up for updates via the Government website.
What do I need to do now?
More information about towing in Europe after Brexit
You’ll need your UK driving licence to drive and tow your caravan or trailer in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, as normal.
Make sure your passport is valid for travel.
Healthcare and travel insurance
Check that you have adequate health cover on your travel insurance. You can use the existing EHIC during the transition period.
Arrange pet travel with your vet at least four months before you travel.
A Green Card is issued by your tow car insurance company (not your caravan insurance company) and is a standardised document which is recognised at borders. It demonstrates that you have the necessary minimum motor insurance cover in place to be on that country’s roads. This also applies to travel across the Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland border.
Some European countries might also need a separate Green Card as proof of third-party liability insurance for your caravan, so you’ll need two Green Cards: one for your tow vehicle, and one for the caravan. Both of which are provided by the tow vehicle or car insurer.
Drivers have to physically carry the Green Card with them when driving in Europe.
A Green Card can include all the countries you are travelling to, so it can generally cover more than one trip.
A Green Card is NOT needed for journeys before December 31st, 2020 for countries listed in our territorial limits (see our policy booklet). However, if you’re planning to travel to Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia. Montenegro, Romania or Serbia in your caravan during 2020, then please contact us.
Insurance validity in the EU
If you’re a UK motorist, with a UK registered vehicle, you’ll generally continue to hold the same cover as you do now, it’s essential that you check this with your tow vehicle insurer for peace of mind. Our tourer, trailer tent and fifth wheel caravan insurance cover remain unaffected, although you’ll need to make sure you have the European travel option applied to your policy with Caravan Guard – please check your policy schedule.
Do I need a European Accident Statement form?
This is a standardised carbonated document making it easier for drivers involved in an accident to exchange details and the facts of any incident. They are not compulsory, so you do not need to have one in your car.
Towing in Europe from January 1st, 2021
There may be changes after December 31st, 2020 and the Government is advising drivers from the UK that they might need extra documentation when driving in the EU.
- PassportsCheck your passport is valid for travel to Europe using the GOV.UK passport checker. If you’re travelling to, or will be in Europe after December 31st, 2020, you might need to renew your passport earlier than planned.You can check the validity of your passport and find out more by visiting gov.uk/brexit-check-passport
- International Driving Permit (IDP)From January 1st 2021, you might need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some countries, such as France, as well as your UK driving licence.The IDP is a multi-language translation of your driving licence and currently costs £5.50 and can be bought from a Post Office.
There are three different types of IDPs, depending on the EU country you are driving in. You might need more than one if travelling through several countries. You can find up-to-date information on the Government’s website.
If you hold a UK licence, you will not need an IDP to travel across the Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland border – just your driving licence.
- Trailer registration
The Government has advised that in some scenarios non-commercial trailers, including caravans, weighing over 3,500kg, must be registered before they can travel to, or through, most European countries. This does not apply to travel across the Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland border.
You can find the weights of your caravan on the information plate or sticker, which is usually found close to the door; on the side of your caravan; in the front locker; or in the door well. These figures will be the MRO or Mass in Running Order, which is the weight of the caravan when it left the factory. The MTPLM figure is the maximum legal weight of your caravan, fully loaded with equipment and possessions.
Travelling to Europe with your caravan, trailer tent or fifth wheeler?
- Fifth wheeler caravans
Fifth Wheel caravans vary in size, and some will be over 3,500kg, so we strongly urge you to check (you can contact the supplier or manufacturer if you’re unsure or cannot find the weight). If you do need to register, it’s a relatively simple process which you can do online here. This currently costs £26, and you’ll need the VIN / chassis number.
- Green Cards
From January 1st, 2021, it’s probable that you’ll need a Green Card to tow your caravan or trailer in the EU. To request a Green Card in 2021, you should contact your tow vehicle insurance provider – NOT your caravan insurance provider. We suggest you do this in good time before your holiday to make sure you get your Green Card on time.
Remember, caravans need to have a separate Green Card to the towing vehicle, so you’ll need to ask your tow car insurer for two separate Green Cards – one for the tow car and one for the caravan.
- A GB stickerYou’ll need a GB sticker for your tow car and caravan or trailer from January 1st, 2021.
- Caravan insuranceYou’ll need a copy of your caravan insurance (including your certificate of insurance) as you would now.
- Vehicle registration document (V5C)The government recommends you carry this and it must show your current address.
- European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)From January 1st, 2021, the EHIC might no longer be valid, so you’ll need to make sure you have adequate health cover on your travel insurance before you travel.
- Travelling to Europe with petsYou won’t be able to use the existing pet passport scheme after December 31st, 2020. To make sure you can travel with your pet after Brexit, you should start to prepare at least four months before your travel date by visiting your vet for advice.
Pet owners will need to complete the following steps before travel:
– Get your pet microchipped
– Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date
– Allow at least 30 days after your pet’s last rabies vaccination before returning to a vet for a blood test to check it’s worked
– Wait three calendar months after a successful blood test before travel
– Return to a vet within 10 days of travel for an animal health certificate
On arrival in the EU, you will need to enter through a designated Travellers’ point of entry with your pet and you might need to prove that you have taken all the steps above and present your pet’s health certificate. To prepare for changes visit gov.uk/brexit-pet-travel.
For more information
For more information and to register for updates visit the Government’s visiting Europe after Brexit website.