Around 150,000 uninsured cars are currently driving on Czech roads, according to Veronika Pilková, a spokesperson for the Czech Insurance Bureau. Pilková warned that people who do not pay for compulsory liability insurance are putting themselves at risk of significant financial problems. In an accident, uninsured drivers may face damages reaching millions of crowns.
The consequences of driving uninsured can be severe, as Karel S. found out. One morning, he was going to work to make it to a meeting on time. He was approaching an intersection where he was supposed to give way to traffic from the right. However, he failed to see a cyclist traveling along the main road.
“What was initially an ordinary car accident, unfortunately, turned into a nightmare for all involved parties. Cyclist Pavel L. suffered severe head injuries, which caused him partial hearing damage and a severe organic psycho syndrome,” said Vladimír Krejzar, who manages the claim settlement unit at an insurance office.
Krejzar pointed out that compulsory liability insurance covers property damage and medical expenses. “Due to Pavel’s accident, our lives were turned upside down. He used to live alone in his apartment, but now he lives with me, and my mother and I take care of him,” said Sabina, the sister of the injured cyclist. Pavel requires nearly 24-hour care due to motor, orientation, and memory impairments. He has difficulty moving, suffers from sleep disturbances, and is emotionally unstable.
The injured cyclist and his family are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, and ongoing financial support, typically covered by the at-fault driver’s compulsory liability insurance. However, the driver, Karel S., did not have insurance. “To this day, the total compensation paid out has reached almost 11 million crowns. The insurance company office paid this amount out of its guarantee fund, and we are still paying the rent,” Krejzar said.
The Insurance Bureau handles over 200 car accidents caused by uninsured drivers monthly. Its guarantee fund is composed of contributions from insurance companies and fines imposed on offenders who do not have compulsory liability insurance. These fines can be significant. The Insurance Bureau then pursues the uninsured driver for the insurance payout and the penalty.
One of the reasons for the high number of uninsured drivers is that some people cancel their insurance when they finish financing their cars. This happens frequently when the vehicle is initially insured by the financing company, which balances the insurance after the last payment. The result is that many drivers end up driving without compulsory liability insurance.