Deal reached on new rules to better protect road accident victims

(Source: European Parliament)

  • New benefits for EU citizens: equal treatment, price comparison tools, and EU-wide claims history statement
  • Protecting victims even if the insurer goes bankrupt
  • Avoiding overregulation: e-bikes and motorsports not obliged to have motor insurance

Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on motor insurance rules providing more protection, transparency and smoother cooperation throughout the EU.

The amended rules will better protect injured people when accidents occur in any EU member state, including domestic victims of an accident caused by a driver from another EU country. Victims of accidents will also be protected if a liable party’s insurance company goes bankrupt, as the new rules require national compensation bodies to meet costs arising from such cases.

The rules harmonise minimum amounts of cover across the EU:

  • for personal injuries: €6 070 000 per accident or €1 220 000 per injured party;
  • for damages to property: €1 220 000 per accident.

To tackle uninsured driving, the amended directive allows cross-border insurance checks on vehicles. However, such checks should be non-discriminatory as part of regular checks, and not require the vehicle to be stopped.

More clarity for pricing and claims history

The agreement introduces mandatory use of a Single Claims History Statement and obligations to inform citizens how they can apply for compensation. Additionally, insurance providers will have to treat all EU citizens equally by accepting claims-history statements from another member state as equal to a domestic statement and apply any discounts based on that (such as ‘bonus-malus’ discounts).

Citizens will be able to compare prices, tariffs and coverage offered by different providers more easily thanks to new free-of-charge and independent price comparison tools.

Excluding e-bikes, motorsports and non-road vehicles

To avoid overregulation, the amended rules allow non-road vehicles (such as garden tractors, mobility scooters, toy cars) to be excluded as well as excluding electric bicycles from insurance obligations. Vehicles intended exclusively for motorsports are also excluded.

Quote

Rapporteur Dita Charanzová (Renew, CZ) said: “It was high time to clarify motor insurance rules, so that Europeans are better protected and treated equally in the EU when accidents occur and when insuring their vehicles. We have made sure that people are compensated also for road accidents where the insurance company goes bankrupt, and created new tools for all citizens to be able to compare prices, tariffs and coverage from insurance providers. With this political agreement we have additionally managed to curb absurd overregulation of motorsports, e-bikes and given member states the tools to exclude mobility scooters, kids’ toys or lawnmowers.”

Next steps

The deal will now have to be formally approved by Parliament and Council. Once approved, the directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal. The new rules will start to apply 24 months after the entry into force.

Background

The current rules applying to motor insurance enable EU residents to travel anywhere in the EU without the need to buy additional insurance.

The first EU Directive on motor insurance was adopted in 1972, to protect victims of motor vehicle accidents and facilitate the free movement of motor vehicles between member states. Subsequently, five motor insurance Directives progressively protected EU citizens more robustly. In 2009, those were consolidated into one EU Motor Insurance Directive (Directive 2009/103/EC). The proposal to amend the directive was made in 2018.

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