On many occasions you will have heard of the Green Card for your vehicle. But you might haven’t stopped to think about what it is and what this document is for...
Travel by car outside our borders is increasingly common, especially now that other means of transport - popular in the past, such as flight or rail - have become more difficult, in the current COVID-situation. Keeping the vehicle in good condition is basic, but so is having the necessary insurance. In addition to exposing ourselves to a fine or immobilization of the vehicle, if we are stopped by the police, we may have problems if we are involved in an accident and we do not have current insurance.
So… what IS the car green card?
That is why it is very important to always travel with the so-called Car Green Card, a document that allows you to prove in different countries that we have compulsory civil liability insurance. This insurance is the one that covers the personal or material damages that we can cause with our vehicle to third parties.
The Spanish Office of Automobile Insurers (OFESAUTO) defines it as "a document to help international vehicle traffic and to guarantee care for victims of traffic accidents between vehicles of different nationalities".
Where do they issue it?
Your insurance company takes care of that (although they are not obliged to, but - for example - Caser Expat Insurance does it) and it is essential in the event of an accident with another vehicle.
As the European Union warns, even if you carry your Green Card, the legislation of the country in which the accident occurred will apply. This implies that, in the event of an accident and if the cause is on your side, if you have to request compensation this procedure may be different from the one in your country.
The Green Card is not mandatory in the European Union due to its legal characteristics, since the same insurance that your company issues covers you. This also applies to certain other European countries because they have signed reciprocity agreements, but then in other countries it IS mandatory...
In which countries is the car green card mandatory?
It is not necessary to carry the Car Green Card in any of the European Union member-states - plus Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. But it is in: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Israel, Macedonia, Morocco, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.
It better not happen, but ...
If having an accident in our country is already a problem, having it abroad is even more complicated. Therefore, it is better to follow the advice of the EU:
- Don't leave the scene. If necessary, call the police or the emergency services.
- Despite the situation, you must fill out the accident declaration form at once. The accident declaration form that the insurer has given you is valid, the so-called "European Accident Report". As you would in any other place, you must register the data and circumstances, to facilitate the processing or possible compensation.
- The minimum data that you should write down are:
- Place and date of the accident
- Information on possible injuries
- Material damage
- Witnesses with names and contact
- And as much data as possible of the contrary part: license plate, country, brand and model of the vehicle, insurance company and number
- Nowadays we all carry a mobile phone, so try to take pictures of the situation
- Write down the data even if the police have intervened. If there is a police report, damage assessment, etc., it is important that you provide it to your company as soon as possible.
- If there is an agreement with the contrary, sign the declaration to facilitate the processing of the compensation.
- If there is no agreement, your company will take care of everything. You do not have to acknowledge responsibilities, only sign if you understand the content of the statement.
- In any case, if you have any questions, consult your insurance company.