Car accidents abroad - what to do

27.02.2018 12:06|Andrzej Tomasik

Are you planning on driving abroad? Extraordinary attention and careful driving doesn’t always guarantee absolute safety on the road. It’s enough for the driver of another vehicle to lose their focus, skid, swerve or disregard traffic signals.

Autocasco

It all can happen in the blink of an eye. We recommend taking a universal Polish-English form about the traffic incident with you. It's just a piece of paper, and hopefully you will never need to use it. However, it’s worth keeping it in your glove compartment just in case.

Liability insurance without limits

If the accident happens near home, we more or less know what to do or have someone who does. Abnormal situations and added stress go hand-in-hand. The first reflex is to check for any injuries. If everyone is still in one piece, the drivers’ next instinct is to check the condition of the vehicles, shortly followed by worry about repair costs. There may be some doubts regarding formalities? Will the person responsible for the accident be reimbursing you using liability insurance (OC), guaranteeing the funds for the repair of the other party’s damaged car? Similar dilemmas can arise when an accident occurs in Poland with a car registered and insured in another country.

The good news: according to the European Parliament and EU Council directive, mandatory liability insurance abroad assigned to all cars protects against victim's and passengers' claims in the same way that it does at home. This rule applies to European Union countries, as well as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. A trip to other parts of Europe and the world requires a green card confirming the validity of the OC policy.

Form just in case…

“The topic of car crashes abroad affect more people simply because people are traveling more often. According to the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), in the third quarter of 2017 alone, the Polish border was crossed 82.6 million times,” informs Bartosz Grejner, Conotoxia analyst.

An embarrassing situation on the road can affect anyone and attempts to receive compensation can depend significantly on our behavior after the crash. Let's assume that no one is injured and you do not need to call for medical help. Only cars are damaged. Then what? It gets easier when both drivers agree on the assessment of the situation and one admits guilt. Afterward, you can pull to the side of the road and reach for a universal form about a traffic incident, which is worth downloading from the Polish Motor Insurers' Bureau before going on a trip.

The form, which is prepared in both Polish and English, eases the process of collecting the necessary data. It also helps drivers to overcome language barriers. The bonus of this form is the fact that you do not have to write about the circumstances of the event. All you have to do is fill in the fields, selecting options from the prepared descriptions. It is also necessary to sketch the cars setting at the moment of the incident, and the last step is to sign it. Photos of vehicles after the accident and witness data will also be useful for completing the documentation.

All this aside, not having this form does not mean that all is lost. An ordinary piece of paper will also pass if it contains the most important information as well as consistent statements about the crash’s circumstances. You need to specify the time and place of the collision, give the brands, types, car registration numbers, provide a description of the situation, plea of guilt, policy number and offender’s signature. Pictures of damaged cars and documents, as well as witnesses' data may also be helpful.

When no one is guilty

There is a bigger problem when neither party pleads guilty. This can happen because road regulations can differ in European countries. When a situation is disputed, police should be called. Officers can help resolve the dispute (ultimately, the insurers will do it), give a ticket, make a note about the incident, but they will not force the offender to disclose their data or show documents to the victim. Correspondence from an insurance company with a request to provide the necessary information should be effective.

Case for a representative

Efforts to eliminate damage can begin after returning home. Companies that offer OC policies tend to have partners in all European Union countries. It is enough to report the accident to the national company’s representative who insured the offender. Simply make an appointment, get an estimate and an offer to repair or pay compensation.

In an unusual and problematic situation, the costs of repair may also be covered by the Insurance Guarantee Fund, which in accordance with the EU directive, protects the insured. For example, the fund compensates the victim if the offender rode without OC or drove off after causing an accident. Procedures and waiting for payment will probably take longer in this case. If, however, after the notification and inspection the case is prolonged for more than three months, the victim will be able to apply for interest, unless of course they will not receive compensation or justification on the claim for compensation.

Full package

OC provides protection against claims of aggrieved parties, but does not guarantee reimbursement for transportation costs or the collision offender’s car repairs. At this point, peace of mind is provided by the auto casco and assistance policy with the option of road events abroad. Although this has an additional expense, in the case of problems, you do not have to worry about the repair or car towing costs, an urgent need for accommodations resulting from the accident or inability to continue the journey. The extended version of assistance is not only useful in the case of a car crash or a more serious accident. It also provides protection if a car breaks down, a lack of fuel or a flat tyre occur. An insurance agency offer also includes assistance packages, which can provide the supply of snow chains if the insured is surprised by snow conditions or even a dog or cat care if the pet’s owner suffered an accident and had to go to the hospital.


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