In 2021, the National Interministerial Observatory for Road Safety revealed worrying signs showing the rise of a phenomenon: driving without insurance, which is nevertheless required by law. In 2020, there were 27,332 victims, including nearly 8,000 with bodily injury caused by uninsured drivers. And while this number is down 14% from 2019, it’s a bogus number because the lockdowns reduced traffic in 2020 and lowered the total number of traffic accidents by more than 20%. Thus, in the year 2020, although it was less exposed to traffic accidents, it claimed 106 million euros in compensation to victims, paid by the Guarantee Fund for Compulsory Damage Insurance (FGAO). Driving without insurance is costly to society.
What a driver incurs without insurance
In addition to the risks that the driver takes without insurance if he causes an accident, the simple fact of being stopped at the wheel with expired insurance or without insurance is an offense under Article L 324-2 of the Highway Code. . This offense is punishable by a fine of 3,750 euros, to which can be added the suspension of the driver’s license for three years, or even cancellation in case of a repeat offense, confiscation of the vehicle, work of public interest, prohibition of driving a certain type of vehicle, or the obligation to follow a road safety course. You also need to know that it is possible be fined for lack of insurance by video and therefore without question. The automatic license plate readers that the police are equipped with register the plates and cross-check them with the records of insured persons that the police have. When an insured, for example, cancels his car insurance, the insurance company must notify this on this file. Thus, the defaulting driver has a good chance of getting a remote fine. However, the fine is then set at 500 euros. It is reduced to 400 euros if paid within fifteen days, but increases to 1,000 euros after expiry.
The consequences of not having insurance during an accident
If an uninsured driver is responsible for an accident, by definition he cannot claim compensation. It is therefore up to the driver alone to pay for the repairs. Even in the event of a serious accident with bodily injury, the compensation can amount to several tens of thousands of euros. The criminal will not pay the victim(s) directly; FGAO compensates victims to ensure their compensation, even if the perpetrator is not solvent. The FGAO will then take legal action against the person responsible for the accident to be reimbursed. Lack of insurance can also have more direct consequences. Without insurance, the driver who was the cause of an accident cannot logically hope to be compensated for the cost of repairing his vehicle or for his own bodily injury. It is in this Lack of insurance is a financial trap for motorists.
Remedies when you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver
All victims receive compensation thanks to the FGAO, which was established in 1951. Simply enter the FGAO by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt and provide all the useful documents, such as the report, certificates and invoices, as well as supporting documents from the missing insurance (letter from the insurance company). After investigation and acceptance of the case, the FGAO will initiate the compensation and approach the person responsible for the accident to demand repayment of the funds committed in this regard.
And if you are the one who does not have insurance and you are the victim of an accident, you will still receive compensation, but you risk being sued for lack of insurance and therefore having to pay a fine.
(By the editors at the hREF agency)