Find out your rights here!
How to make a claim with the car insurance company
Behaviour at the scene of an accident
The damage report
What is being replaced?
Scope of benefits of the motor liability insurance
Please contact a qualified lawyer to protect your interests.
Over four million road accidents occur in the Federal Republic of Germany every year. The vast majority of them are not serious: there is only more or less damage to property. However, people are injured in about every tenth accident. More than 11,000 road deaths and around 500,000 injuries per year are the frightening result of what happens on our roads. Statistically, every motorist has a claim settled about every ten years. Only very few of them then know about their rights and obligations vis-à-vis the motor liability insurance so well that they can assert their claims without any gaps.
This brochure provides answers to a multitude of questions that motorists face after an accident. It provides suggestions, tips and advice on how the motorist can contribute to a quick, comprehensive and smooth settlement. A list of the bases for claims makes it easier for him to assert his claim for compensation against the motor liability insurance.
This brochure can only provide general advice on the settlement of accident claims by the motor liability insurance. In practice, the specific circumstances of each case must be taken into account.
The brochure also does not deal with accidents that occur abroad: Damage occurring there is always settled according to the law of the respective country. Since the insurance system and the law on compensation for damages still differ greatly from country to country, it is advisable to obtain specific information on the countries visited before travelling abroad. Additional insurance cover may be advisable. Many insurance companies have corresponding information sheets available.
After an accident, it is important for everyone involved to remain calm and keep an overview in order to prevent further, greater damage.
The following measures must be taken - depending on the situation - in the interest of road safety:
1. secure the accident site immediately. In the case of minor damage, you must ensure that the flow of traffic is not impaired. For example, do not block an intersection because of a broken headlight lens, but pull over to the side of the road. If necessary, mark the scene of the accident and take a photo of the vehicle's position.
2. attend to injured persons, notify doctor or ambulance.
If there is major damage to property or if a person is injured, call the police to the scene of the accident. Make sure that the position of the vehicles is not changed. Once you have done all this, you should record the important data for a smooth and quick claims settlement by the car insurer. Complete information will save you from having to make enquiries. You will then get your money more quickly.
1. registration number. Names and addresses of the drivers involved. Ask to see identification papers.
2. insurance company and number of the insurance policy; ask for documents. If you do not know the data, the central call of the car insurers will help you.
3. place and time of the accident.
4. names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.
Draw a sketch of the accident. Take photographs of the accident site from different points of view.
1. draw up an accident report, which is signed by both the liable party and the injured party. Describe how the accident happened, but leave the legal assessment to the insurance company or your lawyer.
If the opposing vehicle is registered abroad, ask for the green insurance card. For vehicles from EC and some other countries, however, it no longer has to be carried.
After an accident, the motorist can claim compensation directly from the motor liability insurance of the party responsible for the accident, so he or she does not have to wait for the party responsible to report the damage.
Contact the local branch of the insurance company immediately by telephone or in writing. If the car is still roadworthy after the accident, have the extent of the damage determined. You can take the car to the nearest authorised or specialist garage or have it towed away. Then ask our office to assess the accident damage immediately. So that you do not have to pay the repair costs out of your own pocket when you collect the vehicle, request a declaration of acceptance from the workshop or, if not available there, from the insurance company. If the workshop has this, it will settle directly with the insurance company. You do not need to pay the repair costs in advance.
If a person was not only slightly injured or even killed in the accident, the relatives should instruct a lawyer to represent their interests. The costs are covered by the liability insurance of the driver at fault.
If you do not know the liability insurer of the person who caused the accident, you can find out from the Central Call Service for Motor Insurers. In addition to your own address, you must provide the registration number of the opposing vehicle, the name of the owner, the type of vehicle and the date of the accident.
You can reach the central call nationwide at the following telephone number:
3. if the damaging party is insured abroad, report the damage to :
Bell Founder Wall 1
Phone (040) 32 10 70
When reporting a claim, be sure to state:
Name and address of the person causing the damage, registration number of his car, name and address of his car insurance (important: provide a duplicate or photocopy of the green or pink card), the number of the green insurance card, date of accident, place of accident. Enclose a sketch of the accident with your letter. Give the addresses of witnesses.
4. if the person who caused the accident has committed a hit-and-run offence or does not have liability insurance or the damage was caused intentionally and unlawfully, contact the Verkehrsopferhilfe e. V. association.
Bell Founder Wall 1
Phone (040) 32 10 70
In case of damage caused by uninsured vehicles or in case of intentional action of the person responsible, the road accident victim assistance pays as if the person at fault was insured with the legal minimum amount of coverage (up to 1 million EURO for personal injuries, in case of several injured persons up to 1.5 million EURO, up to 400,000 EURO for property damage). Certain restrictions apply to hit-and-run accidents. Damage to the car will not be compensated. For other property damage (clothing, cargo, luggage) only what exceeds 1000 EURO. If persons were injured, the traffic victim assistance pays up to 1.5 million EURO. Compensation for pain and suffering is only paid if this is necessary to avoid gross inequity due to the particular severity of the injury.
5. notify your own liability insurance. If you cannot reach an agreement with the other party at the scene of the accident regarding settlement, report the damage to your motor liability insurance immediately, even if you believe that the other party is solely responsible.
6. claims against third parties. Remember that liability insurance alone does not cover the consequences of accidents. Depending on the situation, you must inform:
Passenger accident insurance
Legal expenses insurance
Protective cover insurance
Private accident or life insurance
Public or private health insurance
Statutory pension or accident insurance
Check with your employer to see if there are any other offices that need to be informed.
The purpose of liability insurance is to compensate you for the damage caused to you by someone else in an accident. As the injured party, you should be placed in the same financial position as if the accident had not happened.
However, the liability insurance only has to cover the accident costs in full if the person who caused the damage was entirely to blame for the accident. If, however, you are partly to blame for or caused the damage, you must accept a corresponding deduction from the compensation.
This applies, for example, if you, as the injured party, did not wear a seat belt or, as a motorcyclist, did not wear a safety helmet.
These are costs that are necessary to repair the accident damage to the vehicle. If the damage to the car exceeds 1000 EURO, you should ask our office to assess the damage and call in an expert. The costs will be borne by the insurer.
If your car has suffered significant damage, you may be entitled to a claim for the so-called reduced market value, provided that the vehicle was previously accident-free. The expert will indicate the amount of the reduction in value in his report.
If the estimated repair costs exceed the value (replacement value) of the vehicle and a repair is economically unreasonable, you will generally receive the so-called replacement costs for an equivalent replacement vehicle instead of the repair costs. The residual value of your accident vehicle will be deducted.
If you want to keep the accident vehicle and continue driving it, you are entitled to repairs even if the repair costs (including depreciation) exceed the replacement value by up to 30 percent.
If your vehicle was still new and had not been driven more than 1,000 km, the insurance company will reimburse the new price taking into account the residual value in the event of significant damage.
The tortfeasor is not only liable for the damage to the motor vehicle, but also for the further costs caused by the accident:
If the motor vehicle is no longer roadworthy, the towing costs to the nearest garage that can repair the damage properly are usually reimbursed.
Registration and deregistration costs
If a replacement vehicle has to be procured after a total loss, the insurance company will also reimburse registration and deregistration costs, including the costs for the registration number.
With the introduction of the repair cost assumption declaration, you do not need to lay out your own money or even take out a loan to pay for the repair costs. If, in individual cases, it is not possible to issue a cost absorption declaration, ask the insurer for an appropriate advance payment. (Do not sign a credit application beforehand.) Only if the advance is not paid, you can take out a loan and claim back the resulting interest.
You can charge a flat rate of about 30 EURO for telephone, postage and other expenses without proof. If you have higher costs, you must prove them with receipts
Car rental costs
During the repair period or until a replacement vehicle is procured in the event of a total loss, a rental car can be taken instead of the compensation for loss of use. However, the rental car bill will only be reimbursed in full under certain conditions. Furthermore, within the scope of the duty to mitigate damages, it should always be checked whether a taxi would not be more cost-effective in the case of low driving requirements (less than 25 to 30 km per day). Especially in the case of longer rental periods, you should make price comparisons and agree on flat rates.
Loss of use
As long as you have to do without your vehicle due to the accident (e.g. for the duration of the repair), you will receive compensation for loss of use per day. The daily rate currently ranges between 27 EURO and 99 EURO, depending on the type of vehicle.
You can usually avoid deductions from the compensation for rental car costs if you ask the insurance company of the person who caused the accident about the conditions for renting a replacement car for the accident. Usually, the insurance company names rental car companies with which contracts for simplified cost settlement have been concluded.
The insurer shall reimburse the expert's fees for determining the damage to the vehicle as soon as the repair costs exceed the de minimis amount of currently € 700.
Prosecution of costs
The costs of the legal action must be borne by the insurance company of the damaging party.
In the event of infringement, you can make the following claims:
Healing costs and increased needs
Medical expenses are reimbursed insofar as they are not covered by a health insurance fund or other agencies. The same applies to increased needs, such as orthopaedic aids, diet or nursing staff.
Loss of earnings
If there is still a loss of earnings despite the benefits paid by the employer, the health insurance fund, the employers' liability insurance association, the pension insurance or other bodies, the motor liability insurance will pay for this.
If the injuries are so severe that you, as the injured party, can no longer perform your occupation, the insurer has to bear the costs of a reasonable retraining, which the social insurance agency has to carry out. Within the scope of your remaining capacity to work, you are obliged to pursue another reasonable gainful activity.
If a housewife is no longer able to run the household or is no longer able to do so to the same extent as before due to the consequences of the accident, she is also entitled to compensation. If, for example, a domestic helper has to be employed, the insurance company will reimburse the costs incurred. If no substitute is employed, appropriate financial compensation is paid.
Compensation for pain and suffering
The injured person is not only entitled to compensation for the material damage described so far, he can also claim immaterial damage; this is the so-called compensation for pain and suffering. It is intended to compensate the accident victim for his or her suffering and to offer him or her the opportunity to console himself or herself over his or her pain through special amenities and pleasures.
The amount of compensation for pain and suffering depends, among other things, on the severity of the injuries suffered, the duration of the hospital stay and the degree of disability. Age, profession and gender also play an important role.
For some time now, case law has been more restrained in awarding damages for minor injuries; there is an increasing tendency to no longer award damages for minor injuries. - Tables available in bookshops provide guidance on the amount of damages for pain and suffering.
1. funeral expenses
In the case of accidents with a fatal outcome, the insurance company of the person at fault must reimburse the costs of an appropriate burial.
2. maintenance claim
If the deceased was legally obliged to provide maintenance (e.g. as a spouse, father, mother, son, daughter), the relatives are entitled to compensation for the loss of maintenance; this claim for compensation serves the purpose of enabling them to continue their previous way of life, taking into account reasonable gainful employment.
3. killed housewife and mother
If a housewife dies in a car accident, the surviving husband and the children belonging to the household are entitled to compensation for loss of household services.
Aufgabe der Haftpflichtversicherung ist es, Ihnen nach einem Unfall den entstandenen Schaden zu ersetzen. Sie sollen finanziell so gestellt werden, als ob der Schaden nicht eingetreten wäre. Das bedeutet aber auch, daß niemand an einem Unfall „verdienen“ darf. So können Sie beispielsweise Krankenhausrechnungen nicht bei der Kranken und bei der Autoversicherung einreichen. Oder: Wird Ihnen eine Rente von der Berufsgenossenschaft bzw. der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung zugesprochen, so zahlt die Haftpflichtversicherung an Sie selbst nur den Unterschiedsbetrag bis zu
Your previous income.
But what most people don't know: Health insurance, statutory accident and pension insurance as well as your employer can and will have all the financial burdens they had due to your accident reimbursed by the motor liability insurance. As a rule, they have to pay for everything in the end.