We bring you some updates if you’re planning a motorhome trip to a European country (including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Serbia, Andorra or Liechtenstein) in 2021, including the need to carry a Green Card.
(Updated February 25, 2021)
COVID-19 travel restrictions
European travel from the UK is currently restricted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which means you cannot go on holiday in your motorhome or campervan to an EU country. Subject to review by the Government’s global travel taskforce, international travel might be permitted from May 17, 2021.
European countries have also been restricting travel, closing borders, implementing quarantine, testing requirements or lockdowns at short notice. The Eurotunnel and ferry companies are currently operating reduced schedules for essential travel only.
Planning a holiday to Europe in your motorhome or campervan?
Now the UK has left the EU, there will be some changes for UK motorists who are driving their own vehicle in Europe from January 1st 2021.
There are still some things you’ll need to do to make sure your European motorhome trip goes smoothly once Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted.
As the EU Commission has not yet agreed to the UK remaining in the Green Card Free Circulation Zone, a Green Card MUST be carried by all UK motorists when driving their vehicle in the EU from January 2021.
Driving to Europe in your motorhome
Drivers from the UK will need extra documentation when driving in the EU. Caravan Guard motorhome and campervan insurance policyholders are advised to review the flow chart below in the first instance.
Insurance validity in the EU
If you’re a UK motorist, with a UK registered vehicle, you’ll continue to hold the same motorhome insurance cover as you do now.
Our motorhome insurance policy provides the legal minimum insurance cover required by law for travel to countries that are members of the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA). A full list of these countries can be found on the Government’s website. Many customers choose to extend this cover from the minimum required third party liability cover, to include comprehensive cover for damage to their motorhome and equipment whilst abroad. Your motorhome insurance policy schedule will tell you which cover you have in force.
If you are travelling to Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (excluding Kosovo) or the Faroe Islands you may need to increase your insurance cover. Please contact us to arrange this.
A Green Card is issued by your motorhome insurance company and is a printed document recognisable at borders. It demonstrates that you have the necessary minimum motor insurance cover in place to be on the roads.
Drivers will legally need to carry a physical copy (not electronic) when driving in any EU country, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Serbia, Andorra or Liechtenstein. This includes driving in Ireland. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in you being accused of driving without insurance and you may be prosecuted or your vehicle seized.
Important: We will automatically send all motorhome and campervan customers with fully comprehensive European Cover an annual Green Card if their policy extends beyond May 17, 2021.
All customers who have recently renewed or taken out a new policy were automatically sent an annual Green Card to print at home. Please check your renewal, or new policy documents before making a Green Card request. If you have not received a Green Card 14 days before your EU travel or you are currently in Europe, please click here to request via our webform.
Green Card FAQs:
- If you’re not planning on driving in the EU, there’s nothing to do. This does not affect you if you hire a car locally in an EU country.
- A Green Card can be issued for a minimum of 15 days, but cannot be extended beyond your motorhome insurance policy period (if your trip spans two policy periods you may need two Green Cards).
- If your planned trip spans two insurance policy periods you will need two Green Cards.
- It can include all the countries you are travelling to, so it can cover more than one trip.
- Green Cards can now be printed in black ink on standard A4 white (or green) paper, as authorised by the Council of Bureaux and the Department of Transport earlier in 2020. This means that we can issue Green Cards swiftly via email to print at home.
- Whilst an annual Green Card, applicable until your current policy expiry date, will be provided for customers with fully comprehensive European Cover, you should account for these limitations:
- Our motorhome insurance policy currently provides at least the minimum insurance cover to travel in the EU for up to nine months in any one policy period (unless extended by specific agreement).
- As a tourist, you will need a visa for any EU trip which extends beyond 90 days within any 180-day period, with the exception of trips to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
- Some European countries might also need a Green Card as proof of third-party liability insurance if you’re towing a trailer, so in these circumstances, you might need two Green Cards – one for your motorhome and one for the trailer.
- If you’re planning to travel to Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia. Montenegro, Romania or Serbia in your motorhome OR if you’re planning to travel to the EU without fully comprehensive cover then please contact us, to discuss what is needed.
European Breakdown Cover
Your breakdown cover will still apply, as usual, across the EU if you have bought the European Breakdown option. Your motorhome insurance policy schedule will tell you if this cover is in force.
International Driving Permit (IDP)
An IDP is a multi-language translation of your driving licence and currently costs £5.50. This can be bought from a Post Office (usually the same day), where you will need your current driving licence and a passport photo.
In general, you will not need an IDP when driving in most EU countries for up to 90 days, but you must carry your driving licence photo card with you. There are some exceptions where an IDP might be needed:
- If you only have a paper licence (no photo card)
- If your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man
If either of the above apply to you, we urge you to visit the Government’s website to consider their guidance based on your individual circumstances.
A GB sticker
You must display a GB sticker on your motorhome and any trailer when travelling in an EU country.
You do not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.
You’ll need a copy of your motorhome insurance (including your certificate of insurance) as you would now.
Check your passport is valid for travel to Europe using the GOV.UK passport checker. You might need to renew your passport earlier than planned as it must have at least six months left and be less than 10 years old. You can check the validity of your passport and find out more by visiting gov.uk/brexit-check-passport.
Vehicle registration document (V5C)
The Government recommends you carry this and it must show your current address.
Healthcare and travel insurance
Check that you have adequate health cover on your travel insurance.
A (European Health Insurance Card) EHIC issued before the end of 2020 will be valid in an EU country until its expiry date.
A replacement for the EHIC, called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), will be issued in due course. The UK government advises that you should obtain travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go on holiday.
European Accident Statement form
This is a standardised carbonated document making it easier for drivers involved in an accident to exchange details and facts of any incident. They’re not compulsory, so you don’t need to have one in your motorhome.
We do however provide these to customers automatically when they first take out our optional extra of fully comprehensive European cover, or on request, for peace of mind in the event of an incident or accident.
Duration of your trip to Europe
In general, you’ll be able to visit EU countries, visa-free for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Different rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.
If your trip within the EU extends beyond 90 days within a 180-day period, you might need a visa or permit. Check each country’s travel advice via gov.uk for more information.
It’s expected that from 2022 a visa waiver will also need to be bought under the European Travel Information and Authorization System (Etias). We’ll update this information when we know more.
Travelling to Europe with pets
You won’t be able to use the existing pet passport scheme.
To make sure you can travel with your pet after Brexit, you should start to prepare at least one month 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
– Get an animal health certificate, signed by an official vet
If travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland or Malta, dogs will need to have tapeworm treatment.
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/taking-your-pet-abroad.
Taking food and drink into the EU
There are restrictions on the food that you can carry into the EU. You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries, other than powdered infant milk, infant food, special foods and special pet feed needed for medical reasons.
Certain plant products, including fruit and vegetables, cannot be taken into the EU countries either, with the exception of bananas, pineapples, coconuts and dates.
Check the European Commission website for the rules about taking food and drink into the EU.
For more information about driving and visiting Europe after Brexit visit the Government’s driving in the EU webpage and travelling abroad website.
You may also find the “Latest Brexit FAQs” issued by the Association of British Insurers useful.