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8 Jan 2021

What does Brexit mean for travel, pet, home and car insurance?

Which? explores the insurance implications now the Brexit transition period is over

The end of the Brexit transition period has had a knock-on effect on a number of areas, and insurance is no exception.

Here, we round up all the differences you'll have to look out for when buying insurance in 2021 and beyond.

At this early stage, we don't know what impact the new post-Brexit arrangements have had on insurance pricing, so we'll stick to other changes you may encounter.

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Travel insurance: what's happening with the Ehic?

Since Brexit trade deal talks began, people have been asking whether the European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) would survive into the new year.

If you're not familiar with them, Ehics grant you healthcare in EU countries (and some others) on the same terms as citizens.

As for whether they survived Brexit, the answer turned out to be yes and no. It's a yes in that the Ehic you currently have will last until it expires (other than in non-EU countries such as Switzerland). But it's a no in that you won't be able to apply for a new one and the cards will be phased out.

The UK government has unveiled a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (or, you guessed it, Ghic).

You can read more about Ehics and Ghics here. Keep in mind that Ghics are free, so you should avoid rip-off websites charging you to apply for one. (This is the official Ghic application webpage.)

We still recommend having travel insurance cover whenever you go abroad, since there's a lot that could go wrong that Ehics and Ghics won't cover you for, including expenses from illnesses and accidents that aren't specifically treatment-related (which can include rescue and ambulance bills), repatriation and holiday cancellation.

Car insurance: can you still drive abroad?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, driving across the channel isn't quite as simple as it was pre-Brexit. If you want to drive your car in Europe, you'll now need a document that proves you're insured, known as an 'insurance Green Card'.

You must have a physical copy of this Green Card with you whenever you drive, so you can produce it if asked by the local authorities or if you're involved in an accident.

You can get a Green Card from your insurer, who may charge a small administrative fee. Then it will either send one in the post or tell you how to download and print one yourself. Make sure you allow up to six weeks for it to arrive if it's coming by mail.

Pet and home insurance: will Brexit make a difference?

Brexit shouldn't really have made a difference to how your home or pet insurance works.

There are new rules around taking your furry friends on holiday (find out more here), but nothing that changes whether or not they're insured.

What if I'm insured by an EU-based company?

If you have an insurance policy from a company based in an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or based in Gibraltar, you might be concerned about whether your cover will continue now we've left the EU.

Luckily, arrangements are in place that mean you shouldn't encounter any problems.

New legislation granting Gibraltar financial firms long-term UK market access is in the works. And a 'temporary permissions regime' allows EEA-based companies to keep operating in the UK at the moment.

Editor's note: this article originally stated that details of the Ghic had not been finalised. It has been updated with a link to where you can apply for a Ghic.