Motor insurance directive

Under the 2009 motor insurance directive, anyone who holds a compulsory motor insurance policy in an EU country is covered to drive throughout the entire EU.

This directive

  • obliges all motor vehicles in the EU to be covered by compulsory third party insurance
  • abolishes border checks on insurance, so that vehicles can be driven as easily between EU countries as within one country
  • specifies minimum third-party liability insurance cover in EU countries
  • specifies exempt persons and authorities responsible for compensation (pdf 129kb)
  • introduces a mechanism to compensate local victims of accidents caused by vehicles from another EU country
  • requires claims about accidents in an EU country other than the victim's country of residence to be settled quickly (so-called visiting victims)
  • entitles policy holders to request a statement of any claims involving their vehicle, which were covered by their insurance contract, over the last 5 years

The directive does not regulate

  • issues of civil liability and the calculation of compensation awards – these are decided by individual EU countries
  • optional or so-called comprehensive cover (for physical injury of the driver, material damage to vehicles, vehicle theft, etc)

Review of the motor insurance directive

In May 2018 the European Commission presented a proposal to amend the motor insurance directive. Under the revamped rules, once adopted by the European Parliament and the Council,

  • victims of motor vehicle accidents will receive the full compensation they are due, even when the insurer is insolvent
  • drivers who have a previous claims history in another EU country will be treated equally to domestic policyholders, and will potentially benefit from better insurance conditions

The proposed amendment also makes it easier for authorities to combat uninsured driving, aligns the minimum levels of cover by motor insurance across the EU, and incorporates case law of the EU Court of Justice on the scope of the directive.