Practical hints

Accident occurring in Germany

The Guarantee Fund is competent for the handling of an accident if that accident has occurred in Germany and if the adverse party’s vehicle is unknown, uninsured or has been used intentionally for causing the damage.

Unknown adverse party’s vehicle

If you do not know the licence plate number of the adverse party’s vehicle, for instance, because it is a case of hit-and-run driving or because false licence plates were fixed on the vehicle, you may file your claims with the Guarantee Fund.

Please note that settlement is subject to certain restrictions. For more details see here.

Uninsured adverse party’s vehicle

If the vehicle of the other party was illicitly uninsured, you may file your claims with the Guarantee Fund.

How do I know that the other party was illicitly uninsured?

As a general rule, compulsory insurance has to be taken out for every vehicle/trailer (Sect. 1 of the Law on Compulsory Insurance [PflVG]). However, there are a few exceptions specified in Sect. 2 of the PflVG.

If an insurance contract is terminated, the data are erased with the insurance company. This does not necessarily mean that the vehicle is considered to be uninsured.

In fact, following dispatch of the notice of termination, the insurance company has to send a notice to the registration office having issued the licence plate number of the vehicle, from which it results that the contract has been terminated. Following receipt of such notice (according to Sect. 25 I of the Vehicle Registration Ordinance [FZV]) by the registration office, a one-month time limit is triggered. Only if the accident occurred after the expiry of this time limit, the insurance company may refuse coverage to the victim of the accident. This applies only as long as the insurance company is able to prove that the former customer has received the notice of termination.

Therefore, you have to check two questions before filing your claims here:

  • Is the insurance company able to prove that the notice of termination has been received?
  • Has the one-month time limit already expired?

To clarify these questions, you would be best advised to contact the competent insurance company or the registration office concerned.

Please note that different regulations may apply to licence plates of small mopeds and special licence plates.

Wilful infliction of harm

If the adverse party’s vehicle has been used intentionally and unlawfully to cause the damage incurred, the insurance company is not obliged, according to Sect. 103 of the Law Concerning the Insurance Contract (VVG), to pay for the damage.

Instead, the claims may be lodged with the Guarantee Fund.

If the adverse party’s vehicle is registered abroad, Deutsches Büro Grüne Karte (DBGK) might be competent. For further information see here.

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