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Sainsbury's Bank

Car Insurance Customer Support

How does Brexit affect your Car Insurance?

Frequently asked questions

How does Brexit affect my car insurance?

If you plan to take your car while travelling in the EU/EE or in Switzerland, you will need to request a Green Card to take with you to prove that you’re covered.

Sainsbury’s Bank will organise a Green Card for you at no extra cost. Just give us a call on 0345 266 1670. We recommend that you give us a call at least 21 days before you travel to make sure you have everything you need before you go.

A Green Card simply acts as evidence that you have at least the minimum legal cover required, for the country you are visiting, whilst driving your car outside the UK. It’s similar to your certificate of insurance and you will need to keep a printed copy of this with you whilst travelling.

You may also need to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP which is an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence). You can get these at your local post office, and further information can be found on:

https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

Will my Sainsbury's Bank Car insurance automatically cover me if I am involved in accident, my car is damaged or stolen while in the EU/EEA?

Yes - Sainsbury's Bank will continue to provide the same level of cover you receive in the UK while traveling in the EU/EEA as per your current terms and conditions.

If you have comprehensive cover with us then we will provide the same cover that you have in the UK while you are abroad for up to 90 days. And if you are driving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland we will extend that to the 365 days.

For third party fire and theft cover we will provide the same cover that you have in the UK while you are abroad for up to 35 days. And if you are driving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland we will extend that to the 365 days.

If you intend to use your car in excess of 90/35 days, you must first contact us to obtain agreement and there may be an additional charge. Only the minimum cover required by the relevant law will apply unless you informed us prior to travel.

What if I am driving across the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland border?

If you travel across the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland border contact us to arrange for the appropriate Green Card documents.

We will provide the same level of cover you have in the UK, for the duration of your insurance policy if you are a Northern Ireland resident.

What do I need to prove I have the right insurance cover?

A physical copy of your Green Card.

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary third-party motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to. The Green Card acts as a guarantee that the driver’s insurer will honour any claims made against their insurance policy for incidents taking place while they are driving within the EU/EEA or Switzerland.

Under current international rules, Green Cards are physical paper documents however they do not need to be printed on green paper.

Will there be any additional charges?

No - Sainsbury's Bank will not charge any additional premium for the Green Card document.

Do I need to carry any additional documents if I am driving with a trailer?

Yes - Your Green Card is required to specify the licence plate number of each individual vehicle and identify any trailers or towed vehicles.

In some EU member states, a separate Green Card is needed for each trailer. We will be able to advise you on the exact requirements for the countries you plan to visit when you contact us.

Do I need to tell you anything before I travel to the EU/EEA or Switzerland with my car?

Yes. If you plan to travel to the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will need to contact us in advance (about 21 days) of your date of travel to ensure you have the documentation and cover you need for your trip.

Do I need to tell you what countries I will be visiting? Are the rules different depending on where I intend to travel?

When you travel to EU member states only, the Green Card document itself is designed so it can be used in the same way across every EU member state. The Green Card will specify which countries you are insured to drive in.

If you are travelling to a Green Card country that is not an EU member state – you will need to inform us which countries you will be visiting as you will not be automatically covered for driving in any country outside the EU, even if they are part of the Green Card system.

Can I travel if I haven't been sent a Green Card?

No - If you are not carrying a Green Card when it is required, then you will not be able to drive legally in an EU member state. If you do attempt to drive in the EU without holding a Green Card, you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution. 

An alternative option is to purchase insurance when you arrive in the country (often referred to as ‘frontier insurance’). However please be aware, such insurance cover may not be widely available and can be more expensive than UK-issued policies. 

Will I need to show my insurance documents when I cross the border into the EU? Will I also need to show the documents when I move from one EU member state to another? 

You may be required to show documents at the border when entering the EU, however this will be a decision for the border authorities to take. You will need to be able to present the document at the scene if you are involved in an accident.  

Will EU countries recognise the documents?

EU member states will all recognise the Green Card document. The Green Card system has a standardised format that has been agreed by all EU member states (including the UK) and is currently used for travel outside the EU to other Green Card member countries.

I drive in the EU regularly in my own private car. Will I need to tell my insurer every time I travel?    

A Green Card will automatically provide you with a guarantee of insurance for a minimum of 15 days. We can specify that it covers a longer period if this is required, so ask for this if you need it. 

However, at the point at which you renew your motor insurance policy, you will also need to ensure you have a new Green Card for your new policy (even if you are still abroad on the date your original policy expires). If you decide to switch to a new insurer, you will need to request a new Green Card from that insurer as well.

What happens if I am involved in an accident abroad - do I need to contact my insurer?

Yes - You will need to contact your insurer as soon as possible. You will also need to ask for the insurance details of the other driver and we would also strongly recommend you gather as much evidence as you can about what happened in the accident, including taking photos if possible.

What help will I receive if I am involved in an accident that was not my fault while driving in the EU? 

Through the Green Card scheme, the UK has well established relationships with motor insurers in each member state to facilitate the settlement of claims for any incidents involving cross-border drivers. 

However, the current 'visiting victims' arrangement for when a UK citizen is injured in a car accident in another EU member state will not be in place if the UK exits the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. If you need to make an insurance claim against an EU-registered insurer, you will be subject to the local legal system and your claim may be treated differently to how it would be in the UK.

Will the rules for driving abroad change after Britain officially leaves?

In addition to the potential changes to insurance rules, there will be a number of significant changes to driving rules and licensing requirements. You will need to comply with all these requirements under the terms of your motor insurance policy.

The Department for Transport has produced a series of guidance notices on the impact of Brexit on Driving and Transport:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/international-driving-permits-for-uk-drivers-from-28-march-2019

Do I need a European Accident Statement?

No - The European Accident Statement is a standardised document to make it easier for drivers involved in an accident to exchange facts, but you are not required to carry a copy of the European Accident Statement in your car.

Can I use the documents you provide to rent or borrow a vehicle while I am in an EU member state?

No - The Green Card documents provided will only apply to your own UK-registered vehicle.  If you want to rent or borrow a vehicle, you will need to arrange insurance separately and your Green Card will not cover this.

Will my driving licence still be valid when I drive abroad?

In addition to the potential changes to insurance rules, there will be a number of significant changes to driving rules and licensing requirements. You will need to comply with all these requirements under the terms of your motor insurance policy.

The Department for Transport has produced a series of guidance notices on the impact of Brexit on Driving and Transport:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/international-driving-permits-for-uk-drivers-from-28-march-2019