For Julien Rencki, the head of the victims solidarity insurance fund, estimates that there are a little less than one million uninsured drivers on French roads, and he expects the number of incidents between uninsured and insured drivers to grow once more.
“In the first six months of 2022, we had already taken care of 15,000 victims, including more than 5,000 with physical injuries,” Rencki told French daily Le Parisien.
So in the not unlikely event that you are hit by an uninsured drover, what should you do?
First, you should check to see whether you are insured “against all risks” with your vehicle insurance. If so, your insurer will be required to compensate you for both injury and property damage.
You should also check to see whether your plan with your insurance company has a “defence-recovery” clause (this would cover the cost of legal proceedings in the event of a dispute).
However, if you have a partial coverage plan (in French this is: assurée qu’au tiers) and you are not entitled to compensation with your insurance company, then you can still be entitled to compensation thanks to the victim’s fund (FGA) – an association that exists to provide compensation to victims, including those of road accidents in scenarios where the perpetrator was uninsured.
In fact, if you or the passengers in your car were injured and the police intervened, and it was noted that the person responsible was uninsured or fled, then the officers would have been required to send a report to the victim’s fund. You would be able to access this on their website HERE.
To apply for this financial assistance, you will need to fill out a claim form, and provide identification as well as a copy of the police or gendarmerie report. If you do not have the latter, you can also send a copy of the accident report, as long as it was signed by both parties, or an accident statement with witness signatures. This will serve as proof that you were not at fault in the accident.
You have up to three years to appeal to the FGA.
If you are given an offer for compensation, then you can either accept or refuse it.
The rules on car insurance in France
In France, motorists are required to have third-party insurance, and anyone who drives without insurance risks penalties, such as a fine of up to €3,750, a licence suspension for up to three years, or the confiscation of your vehicle. Penalties may be more severe depending on how long the person is proven to have driven without a licence.
Additionally, for the motorist without insurance, if they are responsible for an accident, they can still be required to pay the victim’s fund if indemnities are paid to the victim. These fees can amount to several thousand euros.
Vehicle insurance companies are seeking to find ways to encourage the uninsured to sign up for plans, as many cite high costs as the reason they do not have insurance.
For instance, in September, several insurance companies set up ‘inflation packages’ to help young or unemployed drivers afford car insurance, reported Le Parisien.