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Brexit and Travel Insurance: What British Citizens Need to Know

Brexit and Travel Insurance: What British Citizens Need to Know

For many Brits who live in the U.K. but work in the EU, post-Brexit travel is a top concern. Now that the Brexit transition is over, new travel rules and requirements apply to citizens traveling between the U.K. and the EU. If you’re one of the more than 5 million people who split their time between the two regions, you might wonder what the changes mean for you.    

Let’s get some of the top questions sorted out. 

What does the end of the Brexit transition mean for travel? 

A recent survey from Discover Ferries, a company representing ferry operators in the U.K. and Ireland, reports that only a third of U.K. and EU citizens felt confident about post-Brexit travel. What’s more, only 6% of those surveyed knew of all the 2021 changes. One thing is clear, though, the freedom to move between the two regions without restrictions has come to an end. British citizens will now need to follow specific rules, provide specific documents and disclose some financial details of their stay. 

The new COVID-19 variant adds to the confusion

Despite the recent rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, the new virus variant spreading across the U.K. has raised concerns and further complicated travel. In January of 2021, England faced it’s third nationally enforced lockdown. Even if the U.K. weren’t in lockdown, EU COVID-19 guidelines prohibit non-essential travel from outside the EU, and this now includes the U.K.   

What do British citizens need to enter the EU? 

Once the U.K. lifts lockdown measures, travel between the U.K. and EU may return to a new normal. But it remains to be seen what that new normal involves. What we do know is that British citizens may need to comply with the following rules and restrictions to enter the EU: 

  • Proof of adequate financial support for the duration of stay
  • Passports may need to be stamped and show either a return or onward ticket
  • Most British citizens aren’t allowed to bring meat, dairy and some plant products into the EU  
  • If you’re driving your own vehicle into the EU, you’ll need a green card (insurance certificate) to show that your insurance covers you in the EU. 
  • You’ll need to put a GB sticker on your car too. Even if your number plate already has a GB marking.   
  • If you only have a paper copy of your driving license, you may be required to obtain an international driving permit. 
  • For British citizens bringing pets into the EU, a pet passport will no longer be sufficient. You’ll need an animal health certificate instead. You’ll also need to make sure your pets have all required vaccinations. 

Can I still use my EHIC?

If you have a current EHIC (European health insurance card) it will be valid until its expiration date. But under the Brexit agreement, certain countries outside the EU that had been allowed to use the EHIC, like Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, will no longer be able to do so. Once your EHIC expires, eventually a new, free Global Health Insurance Card will replace it. 

Do I need travel insurance to travel between the U.K. and EU?

After your EHIC expires, Britons will no longer get free healthcare benefits in the EU. To avoid facing high healthcare costs a comprehensive travel insurance plan is strongly recommended. The EU will now regard any visitor from the U.K. as no different than any other international traveler.  

How can Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) travel insurance help me in a post-Brexit world? 

High healthcare costs isn’t the only reason British citizens should plan on getting travel insurance for the duration of their stay in the EU. Some travel insurance plans offer a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) option. If you’re a British citizen traveling to the EU, you won’t have the same protections as EU citizens. This means you’ll need comprehensive travel insurance that covers all possibilities, including flight delays, interruptions and any other reason you might need to cancel your travel plans. That’s where adding the CFAR benefit to your policy can help. With CFAR coverage you will recoup some of your prepaid travel expenses if you have to unexpectedly cancel your plans.

If you have any other questions or just want to know more about how a comprehensive insurance plan can help you navigate traveling between the U.K. and EU, our Customer Success Team can help.   

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