Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Motor Insurance explained

You have to have motor insurance before you can drive your vehicle in a public place.

Why motor insurance is required

Motor insurance protects you, your vehicle and other motorists against liability in the event of any accident. It provides financial compensation to cover any injuries caused to people or their property.

Types of insurance cover

Third party only

This cover is the legal requirement. This level of cover ensures that compensation is available in respect of injury to other people (including your passengers) or damage to other peoples' property resulting from an accident caused by you. It doesn't cover any costs incurred by you as the result of an accident.
Most insurance companies offer additional levels of insurance cover that go beyond the legal requirement. The precise nature of cover will vary from company to company.

Third party fire and theft

This provides the same cover as third party only and also insures you should your vehicle be damaged by fire or stolen.

Comprehensive

This provides the same cover as third party fire and theft. However, it also covers you should your vehicle be damaged in an accident. Many additions to this level of cover are available from insurance companies including:
  • providing a courtesy car while your car is being repaired, legal expenses, insurance to recover your uninsured losses (such as your excess)
  • roadside recovery schemes
  • vehicle repairs in case of breakdown

If you're involved in an accident

If you have an accident that causes damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property, you must give both your own and the vehicle owner's name and address, along with the registration number of the vehicle, to anyone having reasonable grounds for requiring them.
If you don't give your details then you should report the accident to the police as soon as possible within 24 hours. You must also report the accident to your insurer, even if you're not intending to make a claim.

If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist

Any accident with an uninsured driver should be reported to the police. You should also report any accident to your insurer, who'll advise you further as regards to any claim. Additionally, the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) ensures that compensation is available to the innocent victims of uninsured drivers or hit and run (untraced) drivers.  

United Kingdom (UK) motor insurance and driving overseas

All UK policies provide the minimum cover required by law in other European Union (EU) countries or the minimum cover required by UK law if that is greater. This cover doesn't automatically include theft or damage to your car.
Most people want the same protection they have in the UK when travelling abroad, for example comprehensive or third party, fire and theft. This could, in addition to the legal minimum of third party liability cover, include accidental damage to, or theft of or from, your own vehicle depending on the policy cover.
A number of insurers automatically provide this extended cover for a specified period and often without additional charge. It's important, however, that you check with your insurer or insurance adviser before you go abroad.

The Green Card system and driving overseas

Outside of the EU, a Green Card provides proof that your domestic motor insurance policy covers the minimum legal requirements in the country being visited.

The Green Card system

The Green Card system is designed to make it easier for vehicles to move freely over borders and to protect the interests of the victims of foreign registered vehicles.

The Green Card

The Green Card is a document that is recognized in over 40 countries including all the countries of Europe.
It offers no insurance cover. It is proof that the minimum legal requirements for third party liability insurance in any country for which the Green Card is valid are covered by the insured person's own motor policy.
It’s overseen by the Economic Commission for Europe based in Geneva.

Where the Green Card is needed

A Green Card is not required by law to cross borders within the European Union and some other countries. This is because all EU countries and certain other countries comply with the first directive on motor insurance, which says that every insurance policy issued in the EU must provide the minimum insurance cover required by law in any other EU country.
The countries that don't need a Green Card are:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The countries that do need a Green Card are: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Moldava, Morocco, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Where to get a Green Card

Many insurers will issue a Green Card, but have no obligation to do so. If they won't, you may wish to make enquiries with other insurers or ask about getting border insurance at the point of entry into the country.
The Green Card document itself is only proof that the minimum third party liability cover required by law in the visited country is in force. You should check with your insurer to make sure that your UK policy cover is fully in force when you travel abroad whether or not a Green Card is issued.
Within the countries where frontier inspection is no longer required, the Green Card is still the insurance document most readily recognised and understood by national police forces. As you may need to produce evidence of insurance other than at a border for example after an accident, you may consider it advisable to carry a Green Card to avoid any inconvenience.
The Green Card system is administered in the UK by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
Motor Insurers' Bureau
Linford Wood House
6-12 Capital Drive
Linford Wood
Milton Keynes
MK14 6XT  

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