A no-deal Brexit could put a further spanner in the works for people planning to take their classic car abroad from March 29; with the prospect of adding complications and language barriers relating to compensation should they involved in a road traffic collision in an EU or EEA (European Economic Area) country.
The government’s guidance on its own website was recently amended to say that, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal: “UK residents involved in a road traffic accident in an EU or EEA country should not expect to be able to make a claim in respect of that accident via a UK-based claims representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
“Instead, UK residents involved in a road accident may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened. This may involve bringing the claim in the local language.”
This doesn’t mean that your insurance won’t be valid when driving aboard as some have feared, but it does mean a change in the way claimants can pursue compensation relating to any accidents. The reason for this centres on the current Fourth Motor Insurance Directive arrangements (also known as Protection of Visitors). The directive allows victims of road traffic collisions in EU or EEA countries, other than their own country of residence, to make compensation claims in their own country and language.
However, in the event of no deal, the UK will almost certainly be withdrawn from this. That will mean UK victims of accidents while abroad may have to make their claims direct to the foreign insurer, so it will be subject to the local legal system and could be treated differently to how it would be in the UK.
Complications will also arise if you’re the victim of an accident abroad caused by an uninsured or an untraced ‘hit and run’ driver. Currently, compensation claims in such cases can be submitted to the MIB in the UK, but in the event of no deal, these claims may have to be made to the foreign equivalent of MIB. Due to these potential changes in the way claims are made, the government is therefore encouraging anyone affected to seek legal advice.
With these extra hurdles of compensation issues, the potential need for Green Cards and extra driving permits, plus the possibility of rising fuel costs due to the potential weakening of the pound, should you shelve plans for driving abroad this summer, or perhaps cancel that event or tour? In our opinion, no. Whilst the lack of clarification and a directive to seek legal advice is concerning, we’re hopeful that solutions can still be worked out, and in any case, a few admin tasks should not prevent you from enjoying classic motoring on the Continent as many of us have done in years gone by.
We take a more in-depth look into how this could affect motorists in the future in next week’s (February 27) issue of Classic Car Buyer.