The Bikesure team clarify some of the uncertainties left by Brexit and answer your questions about Green Cards and whether you will need a Green Card to ride your motorbike in Europe.
What is a Green Card?
Green Cards are International Motor Insurance Certificates (IMICs) issued by insurers, guaranteeing that you hold the necessary third-party motor insurance cover required for the country or countries in which your will be riding your motorbike in Europe.
The Green Card may be sent to you digitally by your insurer but you will need to print it out on paper before your journey. In years gone by the Green Card had to be printed on green paper but that is no longer the case.
According to the Council of Bureaux, which administers the Green Card system, the cards can now be printed in black and white, though countries wishing to keep issuing IMICs on green paper are not hindered from doing so.
However, countries wishing to keep their green coloured IMICs, must accept the printed black on white IMICs from visiting motorists.
Do I need a Green Card to ride my motorbike in Europe?
The Green Card will be needed by bikers throughout the EEA — the European Economic Area — and some other countries such as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland. For a full list of EEA member states visit Gov.uk.
While Green Cards have long been available to motorists they have not been compulsory, but that has now changed. From January 1, 2021 you must have a Green Card to ride your motorbike in Europe.
Do I need any other extra paperwork to motorbike in Europe?
From January 1, 2021, to ride your motorbike in Europe you will need to apply for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver – similar to an American ESTA – which should cost less than £6.
ETIAS visa waivers cover 60 countries worldwide, will be valid for 3-year periods and will allow people to visit participating countries for periods of up to 90 days (within any 180-day period).
You may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP) which allows you to ride your motorbike in Europe and in countries where a UK licence alone is not sufficient. An IDP can be obtained over the counter from the Post Office for £5,50.
You can use the Post Office IDP checker tool to find out if you will need a permit and find out what supporting documentation you will need when you apply.
What if I ride my motorbike in Europe without a Green Card?
If you ride your motorbike in Europe without a Green Card you will be breaking the law. You may be prosecuted for driving without insurance and could be fined and even have your motorcycle seized.
You could buy “frontier insurance” locally when you arrive in the country you are visiting, but it may be difficult to find an insurer who will sell it to you and it will be more expensive, compared to the Green Card process.
The lesson is simple, do the right preparation before you travel into Europe with your motorbike. If in doubt talk to your insurer, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How long will my Green Card be valid?
Green Cards are issued with a minimum of 15-days cover but can be valid for up to 90-days for riding your motorbike in Europe. You can use your Green Card to travel as much as you like in those countries listed within the cover period.
Does my pillion passenger need their own Green Card?
Your pillion passenger doesn’t need their own Green Card. Your Green Card will cover you, your bike and your pillion passenger as long as your insurance policy allows for you to take passengers.
If in doubt about your insurance status when taking a passenger, check with your insurance provider.
How do I get a Green Card to ride my motorbike in Europe?
Getting your Green Card enabling you to ride your motorbike in Europe couldn’t be easier. Contact the motorcycle Green Card experts at Bikesure. Inquiries can be handled quicker over the phone: 0330 123 1028.
They will need your name, policy number, registration number, dates of travel and a list of the countries being visited. Your Green Card can usually be emailed to you the same day.
The actual Green Card is free but the insurer may need to levy a small admin charge.
And, getting set for your trip abroad, there are one or two other insurance options Bikesure may have for you, including:
- European breakdown cover from £56
- Keycare insurance from £18
- Helmet and leather cover from £27