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In the following article, we are talking about the validity of car insurance in the EU.
What it includes and what to do when we move to another country.
VALIDITY OF INSURANCE
When registering a car in any EU country, you must ensure it for third-party liability. This compulsory insurance is valid in all other EU countries. It covers you if you have an accident causing damage to property or injury to anyone other than the driver. It doesn't cover other costs (e.g. the cost of repairs to your vehicle).
You can also take out additional, optional insurance, called first-party liability, covering other risks. This insurance extends your cover (e.g., injuries to the driver, damage to your vehicle, theft of your car/its contents, vandalism, and legal assistance).
There are no EU-wide rules on additional optional car insurance. Insurers can apply different rules in each country. So your insurance could be limited by time (e.g. a month abroad) or by distance (e.g. 150km from the border of your home country) or might exclude some countries for some types of risk (such as theft). Check the terms and conditions with your local insurer before you travel abroad.
CAR INSURANCE IN YOUR HOST COUNTRY
You must register your car in the country where you usually live. You don't need to register your vehicle in your host country to prove that you are staying there only temporarily, e.g. as a student.
When you register, you will have to present proof that you have insurance coverage.
The car registration authorities should accept insurance cover from any insurance company:
BUYING NEW INSURANCE ABROAD
If your current contract is not valid in the country you are moving to or expires if you re-register your car there, you can contact the national green card bureau/information centre to ask which insurers offer car insurance.
INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND CLAIM HISTORY
Motor insurance premiums differ from one EU country to another, mainly due to differences in national contract laws, risk assessments and compensation schemes or complex and expensive international claims management.
In some EU countries, your claims history can affect your insurance premiums. If you make no claims during the year, your insurer may give you a discount when you renew your contract. But if you made a claim, you may be asked to pay more. You may have heard this called a no-claims discount, no-claims bonus or bonus-malus system.
You can ask your insurer to record any claims you have made over the last five years. They must provide this within 15 days.
But suppose you have to take out new car insurance in another EU country. In that case, the new insurer is not obliged to take account of your previous claims record (or any reductions you might have been eligible for) when calculating your premium.
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I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.