personal finances

Road POLICY

29.06.2010 | Text: Tetiana Yeremenko Weekly.ua

How not to get cheated when buying a Green Card policy

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Experienced motorists know that you cant travel by car in Europe, Russia or Belarus without a Green Card insurance policy. This is policy insures the liability of the vehicle owner that will not only help mitigate expenses in case of a car accident, but also prevent unpleasant moments talking with the highway police. A motorist is subject to administrative liability not having a Green Card insurance policy in many countries

In order to understand how important this card is, all one need do is find out the average amount of damage from a road accident in Europe, which can be anywhere from EUR 3,729 and up. If there are casualties as a result of a car accident, the size of indemnity could run into hundreds of thousands and even millions of euros.

Price of the card

The cost of insurance in Ukraine depends on the country one is traveling to and the travel period (the policy is valid from 15 days to 12 months). The policies for trips to neighboring countries (Russia, Belarus and Moldova) usually cost 1.5 times less than travel to European countries.

Recently, thanks to the change in the euro exchange rate, a Green Card has become cheaper. Since June 1, a 1-year insurance policy for a motor vehicle owner traveling to Europe fell from UAH 2,269 to UAH 2,122 and for 15 days from UAH 259 to UAH 242.

A Green Card can be purchased only from those insurance companies that are full members of the Motor Transport Insurance Bureau of Ukraine (MTIBU). The list of member companies can be found on the bureaus website www.mtsbu.kiev.ua. Having surfed through the site, our KW correspondent noticed that there are some companies on it with a dubious reputation offering low indemnities while some are recognized leaders of the national auto insurance market.

So, car owners are well advised not to put off taking out an insurance policy to the last minute, cautiously choosing the insurer and making sure that the form of insurance is authentic.

Statistics indicate that the main reasons for rejection of indemnities in cases of car accidents abroad include forged or expired Green Card insurance policy forms. While insurance fraudsters typically operate near border checkpoints where they sell forged insurance policies, there have been cases of fraud inside the main offices of insurance companies.

Motor bureaus in the countries where the accidents took place on forged Green Card policies are trying to get compensation from Ukraine in the amount of approximately EUR 1 mn. The MTIBU has already paid out EUR 400,000 in indemnities, while the size of state losses as of the end of May 2010 was EUR 700,000.

Green and forged

It is not so difficult to tell a forged policy from the real one. It is sufficient to check the form using an ultraviolet detector lamp available at any currency exchange point. The number of the Green Card form is of blue color and turns green when viewed in ultraviolet light. Since fraudsters print documents on color printers, their forms will not light up under such UV lamps. If you do not have access to a UV lamp, then simply pay attention to detail when filling out the form.

Policies are printed on four pages of self-replicating paper. You should pay close attention to how an insurance agent fills it out the form. First, the information on the validity of the agreement, transport vehicle, name and address of the insured are filled out. All this information is replicated on all four pages. Then the agent turns the first two pages over and specifies the amount of the insurance premium, time and place of sale of the policy on the third page, says auto insurance expert at Oranta Valeria Elbrecht.

The first, second and fourth copies of the policy are given to the policyholder. The agent keeps the third page, which is later submitted to the insurance company.

To avoid mistakes, you need to attentively check whether the information on all pages of the policy coincide, because an agent can secretly fill out the third page of the policy separately from others and add other details to it. For example, on the first, second and fourth pages, an agent will specify the term of the policy as 12 months, and on the third page a mere 15 days. This way the difference in the insurance premiums, which is around UAH 2,000, can easily end up in the agents pocket.

Under conditions of membership in the Green Card system, in case of an accident on the territory of member countries of the system, the settlement of damages is performed by the motor bureau of the country where the accident took place. Further settlements are performed between the bureaus of the country where the accident took place and the country of the policys origin, says MTIBU President Volodymyr Romanyshyn. Policyholders must reimburse additional amounts only in cases when the size of the damage exceeds the limit of the insurers liability approved in a given country.

At the moment, there are 45 countries operating on the Green Card system, including all European countries plus Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia and Iran.

Accident indemnities

So, the payment of indemnities to those who suffered in a car accident is ensured by the Green Card bureau of the country where the accident took place. The limitation of indemnities on insurance policies is different in every country. For example, in the UK it is EUR 500,000 and in Russia only EUR 4,000. In many countries, for example Italy, France, Finland, Belgium, there is no maximum limitation of liabilities in case of damage to life and health of a citizen of these countries. This means that relatives of the car accident victim can appraise their lives in any amount, even in the millions.

After an accident, car owners must call the police to the scene of the accident and produce the insurance policy. Again, if the policy form turns out to be forged, cops wont accept it and will demand from the guilty side in the accident compensation of damages to the victims. If car owner does not have enough money to compensation the victim(s), they might even be detained until full payment.

The situation is no different if a policy form is authentic but the data prove deliberately false. In this case, the insurer or the MTIBU have to compensate damages.

In case of a car accident abroad, Ukrainian drivers often find themselves in a precarious situation. First of all, this is due to the language barrier. Secondly, it is because of the lack of understanding of many of their rights. Thirdly, it is because they dont know the peculiarities of filling out a European report filled out at the scene of an accident, says First Deputy CEO of the TAS Insurance Group Artur Shaimukhametov. If a driver does not understand something in the document or does not agree with the schematics of the accident drawn in it, they have the right to express their concern in Russian or Ukrainian and refuse to sign the report.

So, before traveling abroad Ukrainian motorists would be well advised to take some time to learn the peculiarities of local traffic rules and the specifics of road signs in certain countries via the Internet.

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