The Green Card is an international certificate of insurance. As such it is accepted without any obstacle or cost by the Authorities of all 48 countries for which the Green Card is valid.
The Green Card certifies that the visiting motorist has at least the minimum compulsory Motor Third Party Liability Insurance cover required by the Laws of the countries visited.
1. How to obtain it?
A Green Card can only be issued by the insurance undertaking (or a broker) which is authorised to do so under the authority of the National Insurers’ Bureau. Motorists should obtain Green Cards from the Insurer who has issued their motor insurance policy
The language to be used on the Green Card should be the language of the country of the issuing national Bureau, with the title of the document being shown in addition in English and French – both languages being the official languages of the Council of Bureaux.
A Green Card can be issued in a horizontal or vertical format.
A revised Green Card format was introduced as of 1st January 2009. If a Green Card is validly issued under the old format for more than one year (e.g. 5 years) within the transitional period (between 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2010), it will remain valid for the whole duration of its validity even if its validity goes beyond the transitional period of two years. However, any Green Card issued under the old format after 1st January 2011 will no longer be considered as valid.
The Green Card is not essential for all Countries!
The introduction of the Green Card System was an important contribution to make international traffic easier. Motorists wishing to cross the borders of the participating countries did not have to subscribe any new frontier insurance anymore, but saw their national insurance recognised in the visited country by the mere display of a Green Card.
Nevertheless it is obvious that a system of showing a document at each border-crossing is still time-consuming and creates possible obstacles to the free movement of persons and goods.
For this reason, encouraged by European initiatives, 34 of the 48 Countries participating in the Green Card System* have replaced the Green Card by a Multilateral Agreement recognising each other’s MTPL insurance on the basis of the “territory in which a vehicle is normally based”. Consequently, for motorists from those 34 countries, the Green Card is no longer a required document when crossing the borders.
In most cases, a motor vehicle is normally based in the territory of the country of which it bears the registration plate. On the basis of that plate, the vehicle will be deemed to be properly insured (even if it is, contrary to the rules, not insured) and will be allowed on the territory of a visited country – provided that this country is also a signatory to the Multilateral Agreement. The national Bureau of the country in which the vehicle is normally based will guarantee the reimbursement of all damages caused by this vehicle in other countries, even if the vehicle would turn out not to be properly insured.
Motorists are therefore urged to find out from their Insurers:
– what – if any – insurance documentation is necessary for the countries to be visited;
– the extent of the cover provided by their own motor insurance policies for the countries visited;
– the procedure to be followed in the event of an accident in a visited country.