Insurance green card system

The Green Card is an international certificate of motor insurance that is recognised in 47 countries worldwide, including all members of the European Union. Carrying one is proof that the driver's motor insurance policy meets the minimum legal third party liability insurance in any country for which the Green Card is valid.

The system aims to satisfy two functions:

  • To make it easier for drivers to move freely between countries by the use of an internationally-recognised document proving the existence of insurance
  • To protect the interests of foreign-registered drivers in the event of a car accident.

The Function of the International Green Card

The Green Card is not a motor insurance policy. Instead, the card confirms that the driver's home-based policy meets the minimum insurance cover required by the law of the country he is visiting.

Road traffic accident claims both in the UK and abroad may involve this scheme.

Under the Green Card system, a British driver can claim compensation in the UK if they have:

This claim is made in much the same way as he would for a collision with a UK-registered vehicle.

The key difference is that the claim will be handled by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), acting on behalf of the foreign insurer.

Which Countries are Covered by the Green Card System?

The Green Card system currently comprises 47 countries, including all the EU members states, Russia, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It also covers Turkey, Morocco and several countries in the Middle East.

Details of the scope of the system can be found on the Council of Bureaux website. The website includes an interactive map showing the countries that require drivers to physically carry a Green Card, and those that do not.

Making a Claim Under the Green Card System

Anyone involved in an accident abroad or with a foreign-based driver in the UK should immediately contact their insurer.

The insurance company can check whether the incident is covered by the Green Card system and commence a claim against the UK agent of the foreign insurer or via the MIB. In some cases, drivers with comprehensive insurance may find it quicker and simpler to claim under their own insurance policy than to claim through the MIB.

New rules have been introduced in the EU to ensure that motorists get rapid compensation for accidents that occur in a member state. These rules have simplified the claims process and imposed standards for settling claims expeditiously, with fines being charged on late payments.

These rules apply to accidents that happen in the EU, and also to accidents between two EU citizens in a country outside the EU which operates the Green Card system. This means that, in the majority of cases, cross-border claims will operate in the same way and along the same timeline as a standard UK-based claim.

For more information about making a claim under the scheme, call Quittance on 0800 376 1001.

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