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Motor insurance

Motor Insurance Directive

The EU Motor Insurance Directive 2009/103/EC is intended to help EU residents involved in a road accident in another EU country.

Under the Directive, subscribers to compulsory motor insurance policies in all EU countries are covered for motoring throughout the EU.

Motor insurance premiums differ from one EU country to another, mainly due to differences in risk assessments and compensation schemes.

Vehicles should be registered in the country of residence of the policy holder and/or vehicle owner. Provided their registration is in order, they may be insured by an insurer established in the country of registration or in any other EU country. Insurers providing cross-border insurance services must fulfil certain formalities under the EU insurance rules. They must also be willing to offer a contract.

EU residents looking to take out motor insurance are strongly advised to compare offers from different insurers in order to find the best deal in terms of premiums and conditions. Their best aid in comparing deals is the Internet – insurers providing services in EU countries are usually listed on national supervisors’ websites.

The directive:

  • obliges all motor vehicles in the EU to be covered by compulsory third party insurance (all passengers are covered, throughout the EU)
  • abolishes border checks on insurance, so that vehicles can be driven as easily between EU countries as within one country
  • prescribes minimum third-party liability insurance cover in EU countriespdf(61 KB) Choose translations of the previous link  and adapted minimum amounts according to the Directive: (2010/C 332/1)
  • specifies exempt persons and authorities/bodies responsible for compensationpdf(129 KB) Choose translations of the previous link 
  • introduces a mechanism to compensate local victims of accidents caused by vehicles from another EU country
  • requires the quick settlement of claims arising from accidents occurring outside the victim’s EU country of residence (so-called “visiting victims”)
  • entitles policy holders to request a statement concerning the claims (or absence of claims) involving their vehicle(s) during (at least) the five years preceding the contract. The insurer must provide this statement within 15 days. This is to enable policy holders to switch more easily from one insurer to the other.

The directive does not regulate:

  • issues of civil liability and the calculation of compensation awards – these are decided by individual EU countries. (The Commission cannot interfere in disputes between policyholders and victims of road traffic accidents and insurers or their representatives.)
  • so-called “comprehensive cover” (for physical injury of the driver, material damage to vehicles, vehicle theft, etc).

Studies and reports

Retail Insurance Market Studypdf(4 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (2010)

The study covers:

  • third party liability insurance (M3PL)
  • comprehensive motor insurance
  • home/household insurance.

It examines the market structure, cross-border activity, evolution in premiums and innovation in insurance pricing across the whole of the EU27, and offers comparisons to either the USA/individual US States.

Compensation of cross-border victims in the EUpdf(5 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (2009)

Compensation for victims of cross-border road traffic accidents in the EU:

  • comparison of national practices
  • analysis of problems
  • evaluation of options for improving the situation.

Press release and 2006 report on certain issues relating to motor insurancepdf(66 KB) Choose translations of the previous link  (claims representatives and legal expenses)

European Parliament resolution of 2 September 2008 on certain issues relating to motor insurance

Press release and 2007 report on certain issues relating to motor insurance (compensation bodies and trailers) (SEC(2005)1777)

Public consultations

2009 – Compensation of victims of cross-border accidents in the EU
2006 – Claims representatives and legal expenses insurance
2005 – Consultation on motor insurance issues

Commission decisions