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Motor insurance: mandatory for all motor vehicle owners

Regardless of whether it's a car, motorcycle, mobile home, scooter, moped, quad, S-Pedelec, e-scooter ...: Every owner of a motor vehicle (vehicle) got to have liability insurance.

But there are also a few other insurance products. We present the most important ones here and explain when you need them and how you can find the right contract.

Motor vehicle liability insurance

As the owner of a motor vehicle, you are legally obliged to take out motor vehicle liability insurance. Even with a leased vehicle, you are the owner and have to take care of the insurance. As the owner, you are also responsible for ensuring that liability insurance applies to everyone who drives the vehicle.

The aim of the insurance is to ensure that the victim is compensated even if the person who caused the accident cannot pay or is economically ruined by the victim's claims.

This is why you should never drive without insurance cover: In the event of serious injuries, claims can easily run into high millions that you have to bear yourself without insurance.

In return for small premium surcharges, the insurers also offer cover sums that are higher than the legally prescribed minimum level. We recommend concluding a contract with a very high coverage, if possible with at least 50 to 100 million euros. That may sound like a lot, but such sums occur in accidents with many people involved.

In the event of an accident, liability insurance checks whether claims from accident victims are justified. It then takes on two tasks:

  1. If the liability insurer considers the claims for unjustified, he fends them off at his own expense, and if necessary in court. Liability insurance therefore offers so-called "passive" legal protection.
  2. If the insurance company considers the claims for justified, it pays the damage - up to the amounts agreed in the insurance policy.

Such compensation that the insurance company has to pay to accident victims can include:

  • loss of earnings
  • personal injury compensation
  • a lifelong pension in the event of occupational disability
  • Property damage (such as repair costs, replacement for depreciation of the vehicle or its replacement value)
  • If the injured party needs a rental car during the repair time or the delivery time for a replacement vehicle, the rental car will also be paid for. Instead of a rental car, the injured party can also claim loss of use.

The insurer cannot refuse payment even in the event of gross negligence on the part of the person who caused the accident. However, the insurer can demand up to 5000 euros from the driver for the following violations:

  • If he has used the vehicle for a purpose other than that agreed (private vehicle used commercially as a taxi).
  • If he drove without a license.
  • If he was not allowed to use the vehicle (e.g. if it was stolen).
  • Driving while intoxicated or intoxicated.
  • Participation in illegal races.
  • Unauthorized removal from the scene of the accident (also known as a runaway / accident escape).

You have absolutely no insurance cover, for example, for deliberate (legally: willful) and unlawful damage.

Further insurance products, deadlines and obligations

With comprehensive insurance, you can insure the vehicle and its accessories against damage, destruction, total loss or loss.

The accessories (car radio, navigation device, aluminum rims, etc.) are also insured as part of the relevant parts list. So if you have particularly expensive accessories, it is worth taking a look at this list from your insurance company to see whether they are included in the protection.

With comprehensive insurance, the repair costs or - in the case of a total loss - the replacement value minus the residual value of the vehicle are reimbursed. Scrap dealers, for example, often still pay a little for the accident vehicle. This residual value is determined by an expert. You are responsible for selling the accident vehicle, so you have to make sure that someone actually pays you about this amount.

There are two types of comprehensive insurance:

The Partial insurance offers insurance protection against fire, explosion, theft (theft, robbery, embezzlement, unauthorized use), storms (of at least wind force 8), hail, lightning and flooding.

  • This includes damage caused by the above-mentioned forces of nature if objects are thrown onto or against the vehicle as a result.
  • The insurance covers collisions with wild animals (e.g. deer, wild boar) or - depending on the tariff - with other animals,
  • Breakage of the glazing,
  • Damage to the wiring due to a short circuit
  • and cable damage from marten bites at many insurance companies.
  • Damage to tires is not insured.

The Fully comprehensive insurance also pays for damage caused by willful and malicious acts of others that harm you. She also steps in if you have caused an accident yourself and your vehicle has been damaged as a result.

We recommend taking out fully comprehensive insurance for expensive new vehicles and for vehicles that are financed by credit or leased. Partial comprehensive insurance can be worthwhile for older vehicles - at least if you could not afford a new vehicle in the event of a total loss.

The passenger accident insurance

All accidents related to the vehicle (driving, getting in and out, loading and unloading) are insured. Inmates are insured if they are injured or killed.

This additional insurance cover is superfluous. If you, as the driver, are responsible for the accident, your motor vehicle liability insurance will cover justified claims for damages by the passengers. This also applies to family members.

Only you as the driver are not entitled to compensation or compensation for pain and suffering from your own motor vehicle liability insurance. If you injure yourself in the accident, the medically necessary costs will be covered by your health insurer.

An occupational disability insurance with the best cost-benefit ratio protects you against the possible long-term consequences of an accident. Anyone who lives on their earned income should consider this.

With the car insurance cover, insurers offer support in the event of a breakdown, accident, theft, illness, injury or death. The insurer organizes and pays

  • the cost of roadside assistance,
  • ensures that the vehicle is recovered and secured in the event of an accident,
  • for the dispatch of spare parts,
  • Vehicle return transport,
  • Car customs clearance
  • or car scrapping.
  • The cost of a rental car will also be covered,
  • overnight stays after a breakdown or accident
  • as well as the patient repatriation.
  • In addition, travel costs for the onward or return journey will be reimbursed and the costs for bringing children back will be covered. In such cases, keep the invoices in order to be able to prove the costs to the insurer later.

Insurance cover exists within the geographical borders of Europe as well as the non-European areas that belong to the scope of the EU.

The car insurance cover can be important if you often drive your vehicle abroad for long periods of time. Before you take out a separate letter of protection, however, you should check whether you already have a letter of protection or an equally good cover:

  • Letters of protection are issued by the auto insurers often offered in conjunction with car insurance.
  • The insurance cover can also already be covered by the so-called Mobility guaranteethat many auto insurers offer, be included.
  • Are you Member of the ADAC, ask there whether you are already covered abroad.
In which countries the insurance is valid

Motor vehicle liability insurance and fully comprehensive insurance apply within the geographical borders of Europe as well as in other areas that belong to the European Union (e.g. some islands).

Only if you have an international insurance card (green card) does the insurance cover in the motor vehicle liability insurance cover the non-European countries named in the international insurance card.

Deadlines and obligations in the event of an accident
  • You must report an accident to the insurer report immediately, at the latest within a week.
  • In an accident, you should to call the police.
  • In the event of a liability claim, you can claim against the injured party not acknowledge or pay compensationwithout the insurer's written consent.
  • In the event of an accident resulting in personal injury, the accident victims must call a doctor immediately.
  • In the case of comprehensive damage, you should Check with your insurance company before starting repairs. In some tariffs, the workshop can determine, for example.
  • If you caused the accident, you have to stay at the scene of the accident. A note on the windshield with your name and telephone number is not enough. This is considered to be an accident escape. For example, if you have damaged a stationary vehicle and the owner does not come, you should definitely call the police.
  • In the case of game damage, you have to notify the responsible forestry department. This is often done by the police.
If you want to terminate a contract

You can of course cancel any of the vehicle insurance policies mentioned. Please note:

  • The termination must within the notice period arrive at the insurer.
  • she must written respectively. Inexpensive and secure: by fax with a delivery report. Inexpensive, secure, time-consuming and expensive: by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.
  • The notice periods used to be uniformly regulated. The deadline for termination was November 30th. every year. Many insurers have changed this. It is therefore essential to check your policy.

In addition to cancellation on the expiry date, you can also cancel insurance for the following special occasions:

  • Termination in the event of a claim
  • Termination in the event of the sale / foreclosure of the vehicle
  • Termination if the insurance premium increases
  • Termination in the event of changes in the no-claims bonus system, the tariff structure and changes in conditions
  • Termination if the use of the vehicle is changed

Please note, however, when you cancel: If the vehicle is still being used, you will need new insurance as soon as the old one is canceled. There must be no interruptions in insurance cover!


Insurance premiums: where you can save

The amount of the insurance premium depends on various tariff features. The most important are:

  • Amount of coverage - the maximum amount the insurance company will pay in the event of damage.
  • Regional classes - where you live can have an impact on the contribution (e.g. in cities, car insurance is often more expensive than in rural regions).
  • Type classes - so which vehicle you drive.
  • Your professional group (there are special tariffs, for example, for civil servants and employees in the public service, farmers).
  • No claims classes - how many years ago you had your last accident handled by the insurance company.

Other characteristics can also have an impact on your contribution:

  • the strength of the engine
  • how many kilometers you drive per year
  • Age of the vehicle
  • who drives it and how old these people are
  • private or professional use
  • whether the vehicle is parked in a garage
  • In the comprehensive insurance, a deductible is also possible

There are a few tips you can follow so that the cost of car insurance does not get too high:

  1. Novice drivers usually pay significantly less when using the vehicle as the parents' second vehicle is allowed.
  2. After an insured event, you should check whether it is worthwhile to pay for the damage yourself. If you pay yourself and do not let the insurance cover you, you will receive the no-claims discount. When you know how much the damage will cost, ask your insurance company how an insured event would affect your payments in the following years. Then you can decide what is cheaper for you.
  3. You can check if the Transfer the no-claims bonus to another driver in the family leaves. This means that a child can, for example, insure the vehicle that was previously registered with their parents. The prerequisite is that the car was actually mainly driven by the child. In addition: the parents then waive their no-claims discount.
  4. If you have a claim choose a workshop recommended by the insurer, you will receive cheaper premiums with comprehensive insurance.
  5. The comprehensive insurance contribution can also be paid through a Deductible reduce in case of damage.

Attention: If you get discounts for certain agreements, you have to adhere to them, of course. Anyone who states, for example, that they only drive a few kilometers per year, but then significantly exceeds this limit, must expect disadvantages.

You should review the premiums for your car insurance every year to determine potential savings. This applies in particular to an increase in premiums, in the event of damage, to new registrations or to a change of vehicle.

See when your insurance would automatically renew and make a price comparison in good time before the notice period expires. In most cases, you cannot cancel one month before the contract is extended. In the past it was therefore normal for car insurance companies to take out until November 30th. had to be terminated. Check out how this is arranged with your insurance company.

Choose a suitable provider and tariff

The differences in contributions and benefits between the providers of motor insurance are enormous. If in doubt, let us advise you independently!

Orientation with motor insurance

This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with our federal association (vzbv) and the Rhineland-Palatinate consumer center for the network of consumer centers in Germany.