Brexit – insurance need-to-knows

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, travelling to Europe won’t be the same as before. Here’s how Brexit could affect your travel plans and what you need to do.

Amy Smith
Updated 17 October 2019 | 5 min read

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you’ll need to take extra steps before travelling to an EU destination.

If you’re travelling to Europe after Brexit, the four main policy changes to be aware of affect your passport, EU healthcare, driving abroad and travelling with pets.

If the UK leaves Europe with a deal, how this affects your travel plans will depend on the terms of the agreement reached, so keep checking gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit for updates.

Key points

  • Check if your passport is valid for travel after Brexit
  • Make sure your travel insurance has suitable health cover
  • You might need additional documents to drive in the EU
  • Arrange pet travel with your vet at least four months in advance

Travelling to the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be new rules for travel to Europe.

Passports

Check if you need to renew your passport.

On the day you travel, it must be less than 10 years old and have at least six months left before it expires to travel to most countries in Europe.

If you renewed your passport early before its expiry date, you may have accumulated extra months which extended its expiry date.

These extra months don't count towards the six months required to travel in Europe if the passport is more than 10 years old.

Passports older than nine years and six months will need to be renewed. This also applies to children’s passports.

You can check the validity of your passport at gov.uk/brexit-check-passport.

If you don’t have enough time left on your passport, you’ll need to renew it as soon as possible before you travel, so you can make sure you get your new passport in plenty of time.

It will take three weeks for a new passport to arrive, but you can apply to get a passport urgently.

Travel to Ireland for UK passport holders will stay the same as it is now.

Healthcare in Europe and travel insurance

If there’s a no-deal Brexit, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) won’t be valid, so you should make sure your travel insurance covers all your healthcare needs.

Sally Jaques, travel expert at GoCompare offers the following advice:

“Travellers should be arranging travel insurance as soon as they book their holiday, to take advantage of valuable cancellation cover.

“Cover levels and prices vary widely between insurance policies, so families should shop around to find the policy which meets the needs of their family and holiday plans, particularly if they plan to travel around the end of October or after the Brexit date.

“While the EHIC currently entitles any EU national to access the same level of state medical care as eligible nationals of the EEA country they’re in, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, these UK issued EHICs will no longer be valid.”

Driving in the EU

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, you’ll need some extra documents to be able to drive in Europe.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal in place, you can carry on driving there the same way as before.

You can check the new requirements at gov.uk/brexit-driving.

Green cards and car insurance

Check your car insurance covers you for driving in Europe, and what the cover limits are.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you’ll need to have a green card from your insurer and a GB sticker to display on your vehicle to drive in some EU countries.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you’ll need to have a green card from your insurer and a GB sticker to display on your vehicle to drive in some EU countries.

You should contact your insurer well in advance of your trip to make sure you get your green card in time.

For those towing a caravan or trailer, you’ll need an additional green card for the towed vehicle.

Planning to hire a vehicle abroad? You won’t need a green card or GB sticker.

Driving licences and International Driving Permits

Matt Oliver, car insurance expert at GoCompare offers advice on driving licences post Brexit:

“As for driving licences, under current rules if you hold a full licence you don’t need an additional licence to drive in the EU.

“Depending on destination and length of stay, you may need to apply for an International Driving Permit. More details on International Driving Permits can be found on the Government website here.”

You can also get International Driving Permits from Post Office’s that offer the service. Each permit costs £5.50.

Travelling with pets to the EU

To make sure you can travel with your dog, cat or ferret after Brexit, start to prepare at least four months before your travel date by visiting your vet for advice.

To stay informed of any changes visit gov.uk/brexit-pet-travel.

Health certificates and pet passports

If the UK leaves Europe without a deal, you won’t be able to use the existing pet passport scheme, so you’ll need to take your pet to a vet no more than 10 days before you travel to get an animal health certificate.

You must take proof of:

  • Your pet’s vaccination history
  • Your pet’s vaccination history
  • A successful rabies antibody blood test result

Your pet’s animal health certificate will be valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU.

The certificate is valid for 4 months after the date of issue for onward travel within the EU and re-entry to the UK.

Pet insurance and arriving in the EU

Before you travel, check with your pet insurance provider that it’ll cover your pet for travel to the EU after Brexit and what (if any) policy documents you should take on your trip.

If you’re travelling with a pet, you’ll need to enter your European destination through a designated travellers point of entry (TPE).

You might need to have proof of:

  • Your pet’s microchip
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Successful blood test results
  • Tapeworm treatment (for certain countries)
  • Your pet’s animal health certificate

Travelling with pets to the EU

  1. Check your passport has enough time left before it expires
  2. Make sure your travel insurance has adequate health cover - don’t rely on your EHIC
  3. Find out whether you’ll need a green card, GB sticker and an international driving permit to be able to drive abroad
  4. Talk to your vet about travelling with a pet
  5. Contact your travel company and travel insurance provider to get their advice regarding your travel plans

You can keep up to date with the latest information on Brexit at gov.uk/brexit.

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