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Civil liability insurance for motor vehicles

Motor insurance represents a significant proportion of the non-life insurance policies entered into within the European Union (EU) and contributes to the free movement of persons and vehicles. This Directive aims at facilitating the obtaining of civil liability insurance for motor vehicles and thus promoting the free movement of persons and vehicles.

ACT

Directive 2009/103/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles, and the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability (Text with EEA relevance).

SUMMARY

This Directive lays down provisions concerning civil liability insurance in respect of the use of vehicles.

Vehicles concerned

This Directive applies to vehicles registered in one of the Member States, and in third countries.

Provisions concerning vehicles registered in a Member State

Role of the Member States

Member States should guarantee that the insurance covers:

  • civil liability relating to the use of vehicles;
  • damage to property and personal injury;
  • damage caused on the territory of other Member States;
  • loss or injury suffered by nationals of Member States during journeys between two territories.

Member States may, however, derogate from these provisions on condition that they draw up a list of persons or entities concerned and inform the European Commission and the other Member States thereof.

Role of national insurers’ bureaux *

Vehicles registered in other Member States will benefit from the provisions of this Directive under an agreement to be concluded between national insurance bureaux. This agreement must be recognised by the Commission.

If an accident involves a vehicle registered in another Member State, the national insurance bureaux of each Member State must collect the following information:

  • the origin of the vehicle;
  • the registration number;
  • details of the insurance of the vehicle.

This information must then be communicated to the Member State of origin of the vehicle.

Provisions concerning vehicles registered in third countries

Vehicles registered in third countries may only be used in EU territory if they are covered by insurance.

Vehicles registered in a third country must have a green card * or certificate of frontier insurance before entering the territory of a Member State.

Minimum amounts covered by compulsory insurance

Concerning personal injury, compulsory insurance must cover a minimum amount of EUR 1 million per victim or EUR 5 million per accident.

Concerning damage to property, cover must be a minimum of EUR 1 million per accident.

Member States may establish a transitional period for adapting these amounts.

Compensation for damage caused by an unidentified vehicle or a vehicle which is not compliant with the provisions of this Directive

Compensation for damage caused by an unidentified vehicle or a vehicle which is not compliant with the provisions of this Directive shall be managed by bodies created by each Member State. These bodies shall be responsible for providing compensation for damage to property or personal injury.

In the event of litigation between the bodies responsible for compensation and civil liability insurers, Member States shall designate the party responsible for compensating the victim.

Special categories of victim

Civil liability insurance of vehicles covers liability for:

  • personal injury caused to any passenger in a vehicle, except the driver;
  • personal injury and damage to property suffered by pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.

Settlement of claims

The injured party makes a claim to the insurance undertaking of the person who caused the accident or their claims representative *. Within three months of the claim being made, the insurance undertaking must make an offer of compensation or respond with a denial.

Then, the insurance undertaking shall present an offer of compensation or a reply explaining the reasons for denial of the claim if liability has not been established or if damages have not been entirely qualified.

To facilitate the claims of injured parties, each Member State shall create an information organisation responsible for collecting and providing information on the motor vehicles in circulation, insurance undertakings and the bodies responsible for compensating victims.

In the event of an accident in a Member State other than the State of residence, the injured party may send a claim to the compensation body of the Member State of residence if the insurance undertaking of the person having caused the accident has not dealt with their claim.

This Directive repeals Directives 72/166/EEC, 84/5/EEC, 90/232/EEC, 2000/26/EC and 2005/14/EC.

Key terms of the Act
  • National insurers’ bureau: a professional organisation which is constituted by the Road Transport Sub-committee of the Inland Transport Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and which groups together insurance undertakings which, in a State, are authorised to conduct the business of motor vehicle insurance against civil liability.
  • Green card: an international certificate of insurance issued on behalf of a national bureau by the Road Transport Sub-committee of the Inland Transport Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
  • Claims representative: the person who is responsible for handling claims arising following an accident which occurs in a Member State other than the State of residence.

REFERENCE

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2009/103/EC

27.10.2009

-

OJ L 263 of 7.10.2009

Last updated: 27.08.2010
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