Getting car insurance in Austria
Whether you’re moving to Austria with a car or looking to buy a shiny new set of wheels, here’s everything you need to know about car insurance in Austria.
Before you get to grips with driving in Austria, you need to make sure you know the rules of the road and get insurance. Fortunately for expats in Austria, there are plenty of car insurance policies to choose from, as well as other types of insurance, such as home/contents insurance, life insurance and liability insurance.
To help you get set up, this guide provides the following information:
- Car insurance in Austria
- Types of car insurance in Austria
- Additional forms of car insurance in Austria
- Car insurance bonuses and penalties in Austria
- Car insurance companies in Austria
- Choosing car insurance in Austria
- How to apply for car insurance in Austria
- Making a car insurance claim in Austria
- Canceling the contract or changing the provider
- Making a complaint about a car insurance company in Austria
- Roadside assistance in Austria
- Useful resources
Car insurance in Austria
The Insurance Association Austria regulates car insurance in Austria. If you want to own a car there, you need to buy Haftpflichtversicherung (third-party liability) insurance before hitting the road. This covers damages caused to other people in the accident. However, you will find that many companies offering car loans in Austria will require more extensive insurance to approve the loan.
Overall, there are a number of factors that will determine your insurance price in Austria. Inexperienced drivers, for instance, will pay more than those who drive longer. Cars with smaller, less powerful engines will also pay less, as will people living in rural areas as opposed to busy urban centers. If you have a good no claim driving record where you currently live, it is also possible to get credit for it in Austria. You will need a letter from your current insurance company to give to your new agent in Austria. In general, Austria is considered expensive when it comes to car insurance in Austria and you will pay anything between €60 and €150 per month.
In Austria, the vehicle is covered by the owner (policyholder) insurance as well as any additional authorized drivers. Trailers must be insured and registered separately from cars. You can insure up to three cars on the same license plate as long as they are the same type of vehicle.
Can you use another country’s car insurance in Austria?
When you temporarily move to Austria from another EU-country, your existing insurance policy will still be valid for the duration of the contract. If you move permanently, however, your vehicle must be registered in Austria within one month of arrival. In order to register your car at the vehicle registration office (or Zulassungstel) you must obtain third-party liability insurance from an authorized Austrian insurer.
Types of car insurance in Austria
There are three main types of car insurance in Austria, but the only compulsory insurance is third-party liability. Others are optional, but often advisable. Below is an overview of the three.
Third-party liability insurance
This is required by law to register your car. Third-party liability covers damage to other people’s health or property.
Partial coverage is optional additional coverage. This covers damage to your car caused by things like break-ins, broken glass and damage to animals while parked, fire and theft.
Also optional, as the name suggests, comprehensive coverage includes all of the above as well as damages to your car after accidents.
Additional forms of car insurance in Austria
In Austria, you can get yourself a very simple green insurance card (green card) which proves that you have the minimum mandatory insurance cover to drive in the country you are visiting. Currently, the green card system covers 47 countries, including most, but not all, European countries. Primarily, the Green Card is a European system. If you are stopped at the border of a country covered by the green card system, all you need to do is show them your green card to confirm that you have valid car insurance.
Car insurance bonuses and penalties in Austria
Austrian insurance companies use a bonus-malus (Latin for ‘good-bad’) system. In other countries, this is known as No Claim Bonus. This system does not regulate any claim period which in turn reduces the premium. Inevitably, premiums increase when claims are made. Essentially, this means that your claims history affects your insurance premium. Additionally, different insurance companies offer different levels of bonus-malus discounts. Fortunately, although insurance companies in Austria are not required to identify claims history from other EU countries, they usually do.
Typically, with a vehicle liability claim, your classification will be downgraded by three levels. The Austrian system has 18 levels.
Notably, if you’re wondering where you currently sit in the bonus-malus system, you can ask your insurer for records of any claims made in the past five years. They are required to provide this within 15 days.
Related: Best Buying a car in Austria 2022
Car insurance companies in Austria
To help you get started, here are some of the main insurance companies in Austria:
Allianz – an award-winning international insurer with a proven commitment to sustainability
Grawe – an independent Austrian group growing throughout Europe since 1828
Zurich – an international group with big CSR goals and plenty of awards under its belt
Nexible – an InsurTech company using smart technologies to insure clients
VAV – an insurance broker and complete online provider
Choosing car insurance in Austria
Importantly, when choosing your car insurance in Austria provider in Austria, it’s a good idea to have a checklist of things you’re looking for, such as:
- How extensive is the coverage?
- You will have to pay the extra amount
- If no claim reduction is offered
- Company reputation
- How easy/difficult they make the claim process
- If roadside assistance is provided
- Green performance of the company
How to apply for car insurance in Austria
Firstly, you need to get your insurance in order before you can register your vehicle in Austria. Authorized insurance companies in the country also operate vehicle registration offices for a streamlined process.
Almost all car insurance companies in Austria have an online car insurance in Austria calculator. After you’ve decided on your insurance provider, you can call or visit them to arrange your insurance details (most insurers provide online maps that direct you to the nearest branch).
Currently, with the social-distancing climate, most now also offer online application forms where you can fill all the details without picking up the phone. These smart forms will take you through all the details to get your car insured. They will then send you your policy so you can register your car and hit the road.
Making a car insurance claim in Austria
Ideally, most car insurance companies in Austria have both an online claim form as well as a telephone claim line. You will be asked to provide your name, license plate number and contact details along with information related to the claim. Additionally, you will be able to submit accident reports via email.
As a general rule, the limitation period for filing claims is three years. However, the insurer may, under certain conditions, shorten the limitation period. That said, all insurance companies suggest that you report a claim immediately after it occurs. Most insurance companies will contact you about how you want your vehicle repaired. They will ask if you want to pay the claim directly to find a body shop and repair it yourself, or have them handle the repair for you.
After making a claim, many modern insurance companies have an online claim tracker so you can monitor the status of your claim. It’s like tracking a parcel you’ve been waiting for.
Canceling the contract or changing the provider
A change in Austrian law in 2019 made it easier to cancel all insurance contracts, including car insurance. Now, all policyholders can cancel their policy within 14 days. The only exception is life insurance, which is 30 days. Before this new law, there were five different cancellation dates for each different type of insurance.
Generally, your insurance contract will automatically renew for another year unless you terminate it in writing within a notice period. Moreover, you can cancel vehicle liability insurance without giving reasons as a result of a claim or if the vehicle is sold. In principle, you can cancel your car insurance in Austria by fax. However, most insurance companies highly recommend sending the notice by registered mail.
Making a complaint about a car insurance company in Austria
Fortunately for expats in Austria, there are options if you don’t agree with the insurance payment. You can lodge your complaint with the Austrian Insurance Association by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 0043 1 71156 -250. Alternatively, you can go in person at Schwarzenbergplatz 7, 1030 Wien.
Roadside assistance in Austria
If you haven’t kept an eye on your fuel tank, your car is acting up, or something more serious, there are two major automobile clubs you can call for assistance. They will fix you up and have you on your way in no time.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a member to call ARBÖ Roadside Assistance when you need help. You can call 123 (no prefix) anytime day or night and they will roll their tow truck round to help you anywhere in Austria. You can call their non-emergency number, 050 123 123 to know more.
The same goes for the ÖAMTC Automobile Club. Dial 120 and get help. They also offer information over the phone as well as break down and towing services. You do not need a membership and can reach the hotline 24/7 from all over Austria. Of course, costs vary depending on the problem. That said, call out charges typically start at around €100.
For a Europe-wide roadside assistance service, ALD can assist you with on-site assistance in German and English. They can arrange a replacement vehicle in case of theft or if you need repair work. You can call the free national number – 0800 24 00 44 – as well as the international number +43 1 526 52 25-150.