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The potential implications of Brexit for motorists


(updated 27.01.20)

The UK will officially leave the European Union on 31st January 2020 at 11pm. But this does not mean that Brexit is over.

What lies ahead of us is an 11-month transition period, during which time the UK’s future relationship with the European Union will be negotiated. Both sides will try to engineer a mutual trade deal in those 11 months – if they fail, then the prospect of a no deal Brexit will loom over us once again.

Of course, Brexit has wide-ranging implications for fleets, particularly if there is a no-deal Brexit. The delay to the process has, however, meant that we’ve all had additional time to prepare for Britain leaving the EU.

Indeed, LeasePlan UK has been:

  • Scenario planning for a possible no-deal Brexit.
  • In-depth conversations with manufacturers and other major suppliers, to keep things running smoothly.
  • Rigorous testing of our own quotes and orders systems.

Our customers will all benefit from this work.

We also want to help you make plans for your own situation after Brexit, so this Q&A explores some of the challenges that drivers may face in the days, weeks and months ahead.

The cost of motoring

Will the cost of new vehicles increase?

During the transition period, no tariffs will be imposed on goods entering (or leaving) the UK from (or to) Europe. However, exchange rates fluctuate all the time, and these can affect import prices if Sterling falls in value against the Euro.

After the 11-month transition period, a no deal Brexit could mean that the UK defaults to WTO tariffs on imports. For cars, this is 10%. The import and export of vehicle components could also be affected, which may filter through to new car prices.

If you are a LeasePlan customer you will be contacted in advance of any price changes to help you make the most informed decision.

Will new vehicle orders be affected?

If there is a no-deal Brexit, there is a chance that any vehicles delivered after the deadline could be held up at the docks, as borders may not be running as efficiently. Even if your car is 100% made in Britain, it is likely to need parts from elsewhere in the world, which could take longer to get here.

Some manufacturers have been working to get ahead of this challenge by stocking up on vehicles, parts or bringing forward their summer maintenance shutdown, which may affect the timings for some new cars. If your car is already in the UK there is less chance of a delay.

If you are a LeasePlan driver with a vehicle on order you will be kept informed about your expected vehicle delivery date.

Will vehicle service, repairs or tyre replacements be impacted?

If there is a no-deal Brexit, there is a chance that supply of goods and parts into the country may be delayed – as borders may not be running as efficiently. Suppliers have been working to get ahead of this challenge by stocking up on vehicle parts to mitigate the risk of any delays in getting vehicles back on the road.

If you are a LeasePlan driver please contact the LeasePlan DriverLine who will keep you informed every step of the way.

Driving in the EU after December 2020

When it comes to driving outside of the UK everything will remain the same during the ‘transition period until at least the end of December 2020.

Will I need any extra documentation to drive in the EU?

If there is a no-deal Brexit, you may need to buy an International Driving Permit (IDP). There are two that apply to the EU:
• The 1949 IDP is used in Ireland, Malta, Spain and Cyprus. It lasts 12 months and can be purchased now.
• The 1968 IDP is for the rest of the EU. It lasts for three years (or the duration of your driving licence’s validity if it is less than three years).

You can pick up the IDP from many branches of the Post Office. There’s no need to pre-book, it takes about five minutes to arrange and costs £5.50.

Will I need a Green Card?

If there is a no-deal Brexit, you may need to carry a Green Card when you drive within the EU (plus the EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland). This proves that you have third-party motor insurance cover. There is no cost for the permit – however your insurer may charge an administration fee.

Please speak to your insurer to arrange a Green Card.

What about number plates?

Under international conventions, UK-registered vehicles have to show a GB sign when driving outside the UK, including in the EU. This can be a sticker or on the number plate.

If there is a no-deal Brexit, you may need a GB sticker if your vehicle has a number plate that shows both the GB sign and the EU flag. You won’t need it if you replace your number plate with one that doesn’t have the EU flag.

Find out more about number plates here.

Do I need my vehicle registration documents?

Yes – this process has not changed. You will still need your vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one, or a VE103 that shows you can use a hired or leased car abroad.

If you are a LeasePlan driver please call our DriverLine at least 14 days before you plan to travel to arrange foreign travel documentation.

What if I’m in an accident while I’m driving in the EU?

If there is a no-deal Brexit, UK residents may not be able to make a claim for an accident within the EU or EEA through a UK-based Claims Representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau. Instead, you may need to bring a claim against the driver in the country where the accident happened. This may involve making the claim in the local language. There may also be no compensation for accidents involving uninsured or untraced drivers, though this will vary from country to country.

In addition, if you’re involved in an accident you may need to bring legal proceedings within the UK before the 31st January deadline – or bring them within the relevant country after the deadline.

Please seek legal advice if you need more information.

Further information

To stay up-to-date with all the latest information on Brexit for motorists please visit the website – where you can subscribe to get updates from Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the Government’s Brexit alert service.



These frequently asked questions (FAQs) address the possible position for UK motorists following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (known as Brexit) on 31st January 2020 11pm. This page does not contain legal advice and merely acts as a reference point for key information for motorists. This information is correct at time of publishing (originally published 19.2.19, updated 12.4.19, 12.8.19, 30.09.19 and 17.12.19)


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