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.
First of all, it is important to know your level of cover. There are three main levels of protection:
The basic level, which is mandatory, is called public liability and legal protection (responsabilité civile et protection juridique - RCPJ).This insurance protects you from losses you cause to others in the event of an accident and allows you to defend yourself legally.
The intermediate level of protection is named mini Casco in Luxembourg. It covers additional damage to your vehicle such as fire, hail, theft or other external elements (broken glass).
With these two types of policy, if you yourself are responsible for the accident or you damage your vehicle yourself, your repair costs are not covered by the insurance. Only losses to others are covered.
Finally, Casco comprehensive auto insurance is the cover that protects you in the event of an accident, whether you are responsible or not.
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.
This green card 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.
For her part, Julie did not have the same luck. This 38-year-old French resident registered in Luxembourg had public 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 memorise the registration number” Julie regrets.
No fewer than 3000 hit-and-run crimes were reported in Luxembourg in 2016.
However, they are heavily penalised 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. "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."
The important thing is to get compensation quickly to be able to get back on the road as soon as possible.
In Luxembourg, there are many licensed insurance agents. In the event of an accident, contact your agent quickly or approach the company head office directly.
Be aware that if you have signed up for simple public liability insurance, the time it takes to initiate administrative procedures is often long.
Indeed, in case of an accident you are not liable for, 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 the amount of the costs is paid immediately, even if you caused the vehicle damage yourself, by hitting a flower tub or putting it in your garage for example.
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.