What to do in case of a car accident in Luxembourg ?
Good habits to adopt in the event of a car accident for persons insured in the Grand Duchy.
This is the first essential step if there is an accident: gain safety before creating the report.
This is the right course of action that Joachim, a Luxembourg resident, undertook when he was the victim of an accident near the Berchem services on the A3 motorway.
He reacted perfectly and parked on the side of the road before getting out of the car.
Joachim preferred to warn the police to report the accident because he was on a busy road. The two drivers involved drew up the report by precisely describing the circumstances of the accident pending the arrival of the police.
“I was lucky because the driver admitted his mistakes and we had the same version of the facts", he explains.
"Fortunately, there was only material damage. We noted the date and described the exact location of the accident.
We gave our contact information, our licence plate numbers and the names of our respective insurance companies".
Be aware that in Luxembourg, the insurance certificate is not displayed on the windscreen.
It must simply be inside the vehicle, just like the registration card and other documents necessary to establish the report.
Each then sent the document to their insurer and Joachim had no problem getting reimbursed for the damage.
This is the second step. If you cannot use your vehicle anymore after an accident, the most practical solution is to get a breakdown service, which is often covered by your insurance.
“My car was really quite damaged…I didn’t dare starting it again. And anyhow, the police had advised me not to”, explains Joachim.
To find out how high your compensation will be, you should contact your insurance agent quickly.
Be aware that if you have signed up for simple liability insurance, only the damage that you cause to a third party will be covered by your insurance.
If you are not liable for the accident, it often takes a long time to initiate the necessary administrative procedures. Indeed, your insurer calls upon the other party's insurance to obtain reimbursement of expenses. You will not receive an advance payment.
However, if you have chosen fully comprehensive Casco insurance, whether or not you are liable, the total amount of the costs is paid immediately.
For small claims, be careful before declaring expenses to your insurance company because there could be a miscalculation.
For example, if your car's radiator hose has been nibbled by a rodent, it will cost you about €30 to have it replaced.
This claim is taken into account in the calculation of your no-claims bonus. Your insurance premium could increase by around €150 the following year.
Julie, a 38-year-old French resident registered in Luxembourg had a civil liability insurance, which only covered damage done to others.
“I was on a main road through a shopping district near Metz when a car hit me at a crossroads after jumping a red light", she says. Julie parked on the pavement to assess the damage safely. She thought the other driver was going to do the same, but to her surprise, the vehicle drove off. “Unfortunately I didn't have time to memorize the registration number” Julie regrets.
No fewer than 3,000 hit-and-run crimes were reported in Luxembourg in 2016. However, they are heavily penalized by a prison sentence of 8 days to 3 years, a fine of 500 to 10,000 euros and a driving ban from 3 months to 15 years. That’s why the ACL recommends that if you damage a car when its owner isn't there, that you should "inform the police immediately" and "never go off simply leaving a piece of paper stuck behind the windscreen wiper with your name and address".
Unfortunately, in Julie's case, the police never found the culprit. She bitterly remembers the consequences of this accident; her insurance company could not call upon the other party’s insurance as the culprit had disappeared. "Even without being at fault, I had to pay the full cost of repair, a hell of a hole in my savings! In Luxembourg, there is no solidarity fund to cover hit-and-run accidents.
Since this unfortunate adventure, Julie has amended her insurance "I preferred to go to fully comprehensive, even though my car isn't completely new."
Vanessa, 34 ans, remembers having an accident in the middle of downtown Luxembourg. “I was driving home after a long working day. I remember being hit by a car that had run a stop sign and that I had not seen coming. Luckily, it wasn’t going fast, so I only ended up with a broken arm.”
The insurance of the liable party reimbursed her hospitalization costs (under Civil Liability), a relief for Vanessa, who was not responsible.
It is an entirely different story if you get injured in an accident that you have caused or without an identified liable third party. Your insurance may cover your hospitalization costs, but only if you have taken the dedicated coverage.
The steps to take in case of an accident are exactly the same: Complete an accident report with or without the police and call your insurer.
Eric, 25 years, took out his motorcycle insurance policy with AXA a few weeks ago: “I didn’t prop my bike up properly when I arrived at the supermarket and it fell. I ended up at the garage! Fortunately, my insurance company provided me with a small car so that I could still drive to work while my motorbike was being repaired.”