A car accident abroad is for many a horror idea. And the fear is not entirely unjustified: even for tourists who have not caused the crash itself, it can be difficult to get money and law abroad. But in case of cases you can prepare. And within the EU, the scenario is not quite as gloomy.
The green insurance card must be with
It is absolutely advisable to have the green insurance card with you when traveling abroad by car. In case of accidents, the document simplifies the claims settlement. The card is issued by motor vehicle insurers and serves as proof of valid liability insurance. Within the EU, the official license plate is sufficient as a proof of insurance. In some countries, however, this has not got around.
Before departure, however, the validity should be checked. Because the map does not refer to a driver, but to a specific car – who has changed the vehicle or goes on holiday with another car may not be protected.
Helpful: the European accident report
A second important document is the so-called European Accident Report, a form for collecting data at the scene of the accident, which is similar in all EU Member States. If you have a German copy in your luggage, you can usually fill in other versions without any knowledge of foreign languages. Another tip: have the accident taken by the police and take pictures. This is especially important for language barriers.
Do not sign prematurely
Above all, one should keep the accident cool and head cold despite the stress and excitement. So it is important to avoid premature concessions at the scene of the accident: these are in Germany in court, although not valid, but abroad, this may be different. Therefore, tourists should not sign any documents directly after the crash – certainly not those who do not understand.
Another issue is the repair of the car. In the case of serious damage, holidaymakers should make the choice of workshop dependent on damage and vehicle: “With a 15-year-old small car, you might even be better off with a hobbyist in a village workshop,” says Arnulf Thiemel from the ADAC Technical Center. “In a new car and complex damage, for example, the electronics, but I would definitely visit a manufacturer workshop.” Here vacationers can be sure also abroad that certain standards are kept.
“The case law of the country applies”
Volker Lempp, traffic lawyer at the Auto Club Europa (ACE), warns against simply transferring German legal understanding to the holiday destination in the event of subsequent claims settlements: “In contrast to our own, insurance law in other countries often turns out clearly to the detriment of the accident victim.” In France, for example, the perpetrator’s insurance does not cover attorney or expert costs – not even those of the injured party.
“Basically, the case law of the country in which the accident happens always applies,” explains Lempp. The only exception: If, for example, two motorists from Germany collide in Italy or Holland, they can settle the claims settlement in accordance with German law. For all others, the rules apply locally.
Lempp recommends getting a local German-speaking lawyer in such cases. The contact establishes the own legal protection insurance. The regulatory officer of the insurance of the accident opponent, however, is brought in by a special hotline in experience, the central call of the car insurer. Although it is possible since the EU reforms mentioned to sue foreign insurance companies from Germany. “But who knows how well a local lawyer knows the law in Italy?”
But even if the Regulatory Commissioner is found, it may take quite a while in individual cases, until money flows from the liability of the accident opponent – it may not be more than three months, according to a rule of the European Union. To make things faster, “you should only go on holiday with a good hull protection,” says Lempp. The insurance then pays first for any necessary repairs and compensates later even with the liability. So the motorist does not fear increasing contributions, although he has taken the insurance coverage.