German car insurance

33 posts in this topic

Hello all,

 

I am confused about german car insurance. My friend said that I could drive his car anywhere in Germany even though I have a uk licence. I told him that the uk insurance system is different, as I would have to have my own insurance for me to drive somebody else's car. However, he said that in Germany whoever has a car, then anybody can drive it.

 

Is this true? even if I convert my license to a german one, then does that mean I can drive any car who has valid insurance?

 

Many thanks.

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Your friend is right, sunshine25.

 

Unlike in the UK, where it is traditional for motor insurance to apply only to named drivers, in Germany the car is insured and may be driven by any authorised licensed driver. There is no longer any need to convert your UK license to a German one provided it is valid and of the current standard EU type.

 

If you put 2 - 3 key words in the search box (top right) you'll find Topic threads with ziggetymillion posts on these type of questions.

 

2B

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I got a discount on my insurance as the car is only insured for me and my wife and this is clearly stated on the document. However, I believe there is some truth in what 2B said in that I believe the '3rd party' (Haftpflicht) part of the insurance covers all drivers (as required by law?) and the 'fully comprehensive' part is then only extended to me and my wife. It is also normal to inform the insurance company if anyone under 25 will drive the car which obviously effects the premium paid.

 

As for the concern of driving with a UK license - This is no problem at all. If you have the old paper style license then I would suggest changing it to avoid delay should you need to produce your papers. The UK license is only valid for 10 years (photo needs updating) and at this time you might consider changing to a German license.

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Well, I was looking for car insurance via check24.de and the only offered insurance which requires to give name and age of the specific drivers. I phoned one company and they told me that anybody can drive my car who is in the age bracket defined by the youngest and oldest registered driver. It wasn't like that when I took out insurance a couple of years ago. So maybe things/tariffs have changed?

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if i remember it well, while insuring my car online I was asked who the Versicherungsnehmer is and whether it was the same person as the fahrzeughalter. Then I had the option for the insurance to cover only the Versicherungsnehmer, Versicherungsnehmer und Ehe/Lebenspartner or to cover alle berechtigte Fahrer. I have the second option because there are only two drivers. I think it makes a small difference to the premium (cheaper). The age i think is used to group you into an appropriate risk category and it affects the premium. New drivers and below 25 are more expensive. i don't know what happens if you have declared only one or two people and then someone else drives the car because it is irrelevant to my situation. However the insurance is always tied with the particular car, that means you cannot drive another car with it. the difference in coverage (and prices) is to who can drive the particular car and it is not transferable to other vehicles.

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Then I had the option for the insurance to cover only the Versicherungsnehmer, Versicherungsnehmer und Ehe/Lebenspartner or to cover alle berechtigte Fahrer. I have the second option because there are only two drivers. I think it makes a small difference to the premium (cheaper).

No, it's not always a small difference, depending on the insurance company. So far I paid EUR 207 and when I asked for a quote if I registered my 18 year old daughter the premium was EUR 580.

 

 

i don't know what happens if you have declared only one or two people and then someone else drives the car because it is irrelevant to my situation. However the insurance is always tied with the particular car, that means you cannot drive another car with it. the difference in coverage (and prices) is to who can drive the particular car and it is not transferable to other vehicles.

 

I asked the insurance company and was told that in that case they simply wouldn't pay. I somehow doubt that this is possible for them, but they could most probably claim their expenses back from the driver in such a case.

Are you really sure it's not relevant for you? Imagine e. g. you have your car serviced and the mechanic is doing a test drive. Or you are out with friends and drnk a beer or two and a friend offers to drive you home?

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I thought those discounts applied only to your own car coverage but that the third party (Haftpflicht) always cover anyone driving the car. I can be wrong though.

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I have a soft spot with other people apart from my wife driving my car, so if alcohol would be involved i would either use public transport/taxi or simply drink Apfelsaft. I would only trust my father to drive it, but practically he will never be in Germany. if there was a case where a mechanic would want to do a probefahrt, I would call the insurer and get an answer from them as to what is covered and if necessary purchase extra coverage for that.

 

I can see why registering a 18 year old (new driver) would make premiums skyrocket. If you register for the first time a new driver, it is always very expensive. However i doubt whether the difference is so great between choosing a married couple or all non new drivers with an appropriate licence.

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I had to pay extra to add an over 30-year old to my halflicht (spelling) - am I being taken for a ride?

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Every car registered in Germany is insured (for third party liability) for anyone with a valid driving license to drive it. If a driver has an accident, then the insurance company will pay for damage or injury to third party property.

 

HOWEVER - many insurance companies offer sometimes substantial discounts if you restrict the circle of drivers - for example to close family or to drivers over a certain age. While they will still pay out to a third party if there is a claim, as they are legally obliged to do, if the person driving was not covered to drive under the agreement that was made with them then they will pursue the policy holder to recover the debt as they broke their contract with them. This could be very, very expensive (running to millions in the case of death or serious injury).

 

The distinction with the UK system is important - in UK if you drive while not covered formally by the insurance then you are not only not insured, but driving illegally (as you don't have insurance). It's not possible to drive without insurance here, so you can't actually drive illegally, but contractually you could be bankrupted if anyone driving who should not be has an accident.

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As for the concern of driving with a UK license - This is no problem at all. If you have the old paper style license then I would suggest changing it to avoid delay should you need to produce your papers. The UK license is only valid for 10 years (photo needs updating) and at this time you might consider changing to a German license.

 

A UK paper license is valid until your 70th birthday, so never needs changing, and in fact can't be changed (for a newer UK version) if you live abroad as to do so would require you to lie on questions regarding residency. A UK picture card license must have the picture refreshed every 10 years. This CAN be done, as the form to do this does not ask any residency questions.

This all assumes, of course that the UK address on your license is still one where you can be contacted/receive mail. You can't change your address either :)

 

It's pretty straightforward, and on balance a better idea to change any UK license for a German one - this is VERY easy to do, but it by no means necessary or a legal requirement until you reach your 70th year.

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I googled this a bit in the summer when a friend of mine wanted to borrow my car while I was on vacation. The worst I found was some people who were back charged by their insurance company for a year of the higher rate associated with a teen driver after they let their niece drive and she was in an accident. In any case we figured it was probably not a good idea for him to borrow the car and left it at that. I am glad we decided that now I know they could have back charged me for his damages :o

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rodisi and YL6:

 

No, if you let someone drive your car even if your contract says "you only" and this someone causes an accident your insurance will pay the damages of others. . Of course. However, since you broke that part of your contract, the company can, according to their general conditions, ask some money back from you. Same procedure as if you had a contract with a maximum mileage per year of e.g. 15.000 km and you would do 25.000.

 

But the sum is limited, as far as I remember it's max. a one-year-fee of your current contract. Certainly not thousands and millions.

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As there are a multiplicity of circumstances which can complicate claims relating to motor insurance risks insurers are naturally very keen to reduce their level of exposure in any way they can within the law. An unintended result of their efforts may have been an increase in the amount of misinformation wrt, (or a misconception of), what risks are, or are not, covered, and under what circumstances may limitations or exclusions be applied. Theoretically, and in practice, no two motor insurance policies are equal. The legal onus is on the vehicle owner/keeper to read and understand their policy before confirming their acceptance of it. However, in reality, unless you have a level of German competence which extends to insurer's legalese, this is neither very practical nor likely to happen, but there's really not much mystery involved for those who can read German legalese

 

Occasional press reports of 'victims of an insurance legal nightmare' scenario don't help to reduce fear and confusion amongst the lay public. Where more than one insurer is involved, particularly the classic "multiple pile-up on Autobahn X" situation, settlment of claims can take months or even years, with scores of technical specialists being involved and each insurer and their team of lawyers doing their best to pass their liability on to the other insurer/s. The impression I have though, (after 30 tears in country, more than half of which was spent in the motor trade working with, and alongside, vehicle insurance contractors), is that ~90+% of claims are settled amicably and fairly within a few weeks and without much trouble on the part of the claimants.

 

The law on insurance coverage conditions for motor insurance and the law on compulsory motor liabilty insurance must both be read and interpreted in combination with the general insurance contracts law in Germany. (Links are below to these 3 laws although at present only the general law on insurance contracts is available in English.) Since the late 1940s the German federal government, the insurance industry's umbrella organisations and other NGOs (unions, motor trade representative bodies, driver's organisations, health and medical organisations, corporate and employee insurers, etc., etc.) have been co-operating in designing and drafting laws which effectively maintain a (near) universal level of motor vehicle liabilty coverage whilst preventing rogue insurers from using unfair tactics.

 

Almost everyone posting here, myself included, has only been able to cover a partial aspect of the subject "German car insurance".

 

Each of us could continue to post anecdotal examples of policy limitations based on our own, or our friend's and colleague's, experience/s. I'm not going to do that, in order to save me the time and you all from boredom. Suffice to say that, as a former motor trader and mechanic, I could list many hundreds of circumstances in which I could, and very often did, drive another person's car without ever having felt the need to take a second thought about the conditions of their motor insurance policy. There are limitations as to the number of occupants who may be on board and what their purpose may be but, so long as I was authorised by the owner/keeper and held a valid license, I am confident that all 3rd party risks (including injury or loss to myself) were covered at all times in law.

 

Links:

KfzPflVV - Verordnung über den Versicherungsschutz in der Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung (Ordinance on insurance coverage in motor insurance liabilty)

 

PflVG - Gesetz über die Pflichtversicherung für Kraftfahrzeughalter (Law about the vehice keeper's duty to hold compulsory liability insurance)

 

Insurance Contract Act 2008 (Covers contract law wrt all types of German insurance incl. house, liability, health, fire, corporate, shipping, etc., etc.)

 

2B

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HOWEVER - many insurance companies offer sometimes substantial discounts if you restrict the circle of drivers - for example to close family or to drivers over a certain age. While they will still pay out to a third party if there is a claim, as they are legally obliged to do, if the person driving was not covered to drive under the agreement that was made with them then they will pursue the policy holder to recover the debt as they broke their contract with them. This could be very, very expensive (running to millions in the case of death or serious injury).

 

I am sure you are wrong here. There is no way you will end up paying millions.

 

 

A UK paper license is valid until your 70th birthday, so never needs changing, and in fact can't be changed (for a newer UK version) if you live abroad as to do so would require you to lie on questions regarding residency. A UK picture card license must have the picture refreshed every 10 years. This CAN be done, as the form to do this does not ask any residency questions.

This all assumes, of course that the UK address on your license is still one where you can be contacted/receive mail. You can't change your address either

 

It's pretty straightforward, and on balance a better idea to change any UK license for a German one - this is VERY easy to do, but it by no means necessary or a legal requirement until you reach your 70th year.

 

I am of course not an expert in UK licenses, but I can foresee a problem here. This was probably correct in the past, but nowadays new German licenses have as well an expiration date (10 years IIRC), so it is probably better to stay with the UK paper license which won't expire until you are 70 y/o (depending on how old you are).

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A UK paper license is valid until your 70th birthday, so never needs changing, and in fact can't be changed (for a newer UK version) if you live abroad as to do so would require you to lie on questions regarding residency. A UK picture card license must have the picture refreshed every 10 years. This CAN be done, as the form to do this does not ask any residency questions.

This all assumes, of course that the UK address on your license is still one where you can be contacted/receive mail. You can't change your address either

 

It's pretty straightforward, and on balance a better idea to change any UK license for a German one - this is VERY easy to do, but it by no means necessary or a legal requirement until you reach your 70th year.

 

Last time I moved, within UK, was 08/2010, and I had to change my UK licence in order to have it with the correct UK address. Then the new UK licence I got in 2010 stated it was valid until 2015.

DVLA says, not surprisingly, you can't have a non-UK address on a UK licence, if you move abroad "contact the local authorities". This is what I did, they told me I did not have to (convert UK licence to Deutsch one), but it was a good thing to do. It costed me 29.90EUR and takes 4-6 weeks (I'm still waiting...)

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Also, let's say the UK-licence never expire (which I disagree, but never minds...)

If you no longer have a UK address and lose your UK licence, I doubt you'll be able to replace it (DVLA can post it only to your UK address, which you no longer have), or change it to a Deutsch one.

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I am sure you are wrong here. There is no way you will end up paying millions.

 

The legal minimum insurance cover for damage to people is 7.5 million Euro, most policies run at 50 million Euro.

 

The maximum the insurance can recover from the driver in case of uncovered usage is 5000 Euro, except if they can prove intention to cause the damage.

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Hey TT,

 

I've been having a discussion with friends about car insurance for quite some time now, so im wondering how this works in germany.

I recently received my FULL driving license which i know is basically an EU license.

Im 18 and my father has a Jeep, and i asked him that when i visit do i need insurance to drive his car?

I read that in germany insurance insures the car rather than the driver, and i was told that it is legal to drive the car on 'one off situations' where say the owner of the car is 'sick' or 'drunk' etc.

 

And, is this to be true, i find it to be a somewhat flawed system?

 

On the off chance someone is stopped, it could simply be a once off every single time aslong as the owner of the car and the 'once off' driver are both in cahoots for lack of a better word.

And if this does seem to be the case, it really doesnt seem to be the same anywhere else.

Please dont misunderstand me either, it is not my intention to do any of this, im simply trying to educate myself.

 

[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

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When you buy insurance for your car, you can specify who is allowed to drive it. The more people who drive the car, the more you pay. My insurance for example says only I can drive my car. There is no leeway for a one off. However, if I take it to the shop, the mechanic is allowed to drive it at least from the parking lot into the shop and back.

 

Your father has to know the terms of his insurance. If he did not tell them that he has an 18 yo. who may drive that car, he will have a problem if you are in an accident.

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