We bring you some updates if you’re planning a motorhome trip to a European country in 2021, including an update on Green Cards.
(Updated July 6th, 2021)
COVID-19 travel restrictions
Travel to many European countries from the UK is currently restricted due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Before making any travel plans to go on holiday in your motorhome or campervan to an EU country please check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Many European countries have been restricting travel, closing borders, implementing quarantine, testing or vaccine requirements at short notice. The Eurotunnel and ferry companies are currently operating optimised schedules for essential travel. Check their websites for their travel restrictions and information.
Planning a holiday to Europe in your motorhome or campervan?
- Check the UK and FCDO travel advice for where you plan to travel and any testing, quarantine or vaccine requirements for when you return
- Find out if there are any entry requirements for your holiday destination and if there are any Covid-19 travel restrictions
- A Green Card MUST still be carried by all UK motorists when driving their vehicle in the EU
- There are new passport rules for travel to Europe. Use the passport validity checker to plan ahead
- You should continue to get appropriate travel insurance
- Contact a vet at least one month before your travel if you’re taking a cat, dog or ferret to the EU
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.
Update: On June 30th, 2021, the European Commission has agreed that UK drivers will no longer need to carry a Green Card when taking their vehicles into most EU countries. But the rules haven’t come into force just yet. Until the changes have been implemented and a date is confirmed, we will continue to send Green Cards to motorhome insurance policyholders who have EU cover, as they will still be needed if taking your motorhome into countries that are part of the system.
Drivers 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and should allow up to 10 weeks to apply.
A UK sticker
From September 29th, the GB sticker was replaced with a UK one. The new UK stickers will be available online and in post offices and garages for around £1.50.
You must display a UK sticker on your motorhome and any trailer when travelling in an EU country if your number plates do not include the UK identifier.
You do not need to display a UK or GB sticker to drive in Ireland.
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.
You’ll need a copy of your motorhome 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.
Healthcare and travel insurance
Check that you have travel insurance that includes all your needs, including healthcare.
A (European Health Insurance Card) EHIC continues to be valid in an EU country until its expiry date.
Once your EHIC expires you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), free of charge. EHICs and the new GHIC provide the same access to emergency and necessary healthcare cover for travel to the EU.
The UK government advises that you should obtain travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go on holiday. EHICs and GHICs are not an alternative to travel insurance.
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 will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme to enter the EU or Northern Ireland.
To make sure you can travel to the EU with your pet, 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 cat, dog or ferret 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/pet-travel.
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, and special pet food 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 the EU visit the Government’s driving in the EU webpage and travelling abroad website.