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Updated : 10/12/2015

vehicles

Car insurance cover abroad

If you have an accident abroad, the law of the country in which the accident happens applies.

So the process for claiming compensation might be different than in your home country.

If you are involved in an accident abroad, don't leave the scene.

Speak to other driver, and call the police and/or emergency services, if necessary.

Make sure that you get the necessary details about the other person involved and the circumstances of the accident.

Accident report

You should write an accident report at the scene of the accident.

Your insurer will usually give you an accident statement form. Some insurers' associations have developed a common 'European Accident Statement' form. It will help you quickly collect all the necessary information and will make it easier to settle any claim.

If you don't have an accident statement or an insurance form, write down the following information:

- date and place of the accident

- details of any injuries, material damage and witnesses (make sure you get their contact details)

- contact details of other driver (e.g. name, address, phone number)

- contact details of other driver's insurance company (including policy number)

- details of the other driver's vehicle (registration number, country of registration, make and type – and the same information for any trailer)

- contact details of the police authorities to which the accident was reported

- circumstances of the accident.

If you and the other driver agree on the circumstances of the accident, you should sign a statement. It will make it easier to settle the claim.

Remember – do not admit liability and only sign the accident report if you fully understand it.

If you don't agree, your insurer will settle the dispute with the other driver's insurer. The insurer will base the settlement on the police report, assessment of the damage or other information.

To support your claim you should collect:

  • photos,
  • witness statements, and/or
  • a police report.

You must report the accident to your insurance company – even if you don't want to claim.

 

The accident was my fault

Injuries to yourself and others

Your insurance from your home country will cover you if you injure someone else (third party liability) in any EU country.

However, cover for other types of damage such as any injuries you suffer (first party liability), fire damage, or theft abroad is not a standard part of most insurance policies.

For these, you will have to check with your insurer before leaving the country.

Your third partyliability insurance policy covers all passengers travelling in your vehicle, except the driver.

In most EU countries, you can also arrange additional first party cover for the driver.

Damages – amounts

You are covered up to the amounts set out in your insurance contract.

EU law guarantees minimum liability coverage. If you are involved in an accident in another EU country, you will be covered for at least the following amounts:

for personal injuries:

  • €1 120 000 per victim or,
  • €5 600 000 per claim (whatever the number of victims)

for damage to property:

  • €1 120 000 per claim (whatever the number of victims)

If your insurance policy is from a country that applies higher liability coverage than the EU minimum, you will be covered up to that amount throughout the EU.

If the actual damage exceeds the maximum amount in the country where the accident happened, and you don't have higher cover in your insurance policy, you will have to pay the difference.

More information on national rules on accidents and the amounts covered:

Choose country

Choose country

Common rights across EU countries


* Information not yet provided by national authorities

The European Commission is not responsible for the content of external websites.

You may want to check whether your insurer offers unlimited liability cover, especially for personal injuries.

EU law also guarantees that you receive the highest amount of liability cover available (see example below).

Sample story

How EU law gives you maximum liability coverage

Your home country applies the established minimum EU liability cover of €1 120 000 for material damages. You cause an accident in another country where the minimum liability cover is €1 200 000. The material damages have been estimated at €1 180 000 - €60 000 higher than the relevant amount in your country.

Even if you have not agreed higher amounts with your insurer, you will be covered for €1 180 000 because EU law applies the most advantageous coverage – in this case the cover applicable in the country where the accident happened.

The accident was not my fault 

Accidents involving an uninsured driver

Tell the police if you have an accident involving a driver who's not insured or who runs away from the scene of the accident.

Your insurance company will also be able to give you advice.

You can also contact your national compensation body . It can intervene if the other person's vehicle is uninsured or the insurer cannot be identified.

Compensation procedure

If you suffered any loss, damage or injury resulting from the accident you can claim for compensation.

Do not delay submitting your claim! Check with your insurer how much time you have to make your claim.

Claiming while abroad

You can submit your claim for compensation to the insurance company of the person who caused the accident.

Claiming when you get home

You have 2 options:

1. Submit your claim to the national representative of the insurance company that covers the person who caused the accident.

The claims representative in your country will check the information and take all the necessary steps to negotiate the settlement of your claim. To find out if that insurer has a national representative in your country, contact the national green card bureau/information centre.

2. Submit your claim to your country's national compensation body.

If the insurer from the other EU country doesn't have a representative in your home country, you can send your claim to the national compensation body . (This body will also help you if the other person's vehicle is uninsured or the insurer could not be identified).

Sample story

Submit your claim wherever is easiest for you

Ignacio is from Spain. He was the victim of a car accident during a trip to Germany. Because Ignacio does not speak German, he found it difficult to submit his claim for compensation in Germany.

Ignacio decided to submit his claim to the Spanish national compensation body once he got back to Spain – and so avoided the language problem.

3 months to receive an offer of compensation or reply

If liability is not contested and the damage has been assessed, you should receive a reasoned offer of compensation within 3 months of the date you submitted your claim for compensation.

If it's not clear whose fault the accident was, or how much compensation you are entitled to, you should receive reasoned reply to the points made in the claim.

If you don't receive a reply or an offer within 3 months, you are entitled to interest on the amount of compensation offered by the insurer or awarded by the court.

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