When Does Car Insurance Not Help the At-Fault Driver?

Car owners in the Czech Republic are required by law to have compulsory liability insurance. This insurance product helps both parties in the event of a collision, meaning the victim is paid insurance compensation for property damage and bodily injury. At the same time, the at-fault driver is protected from the obligation to pay often very high amounts that they would usually not be able to pay.

However, situations can arise where even valid mandatory liability insurance cannot protect the motorist. The insurance company may refuse to pay out insurance compensation, or compensation paid to the victim may be claimed back from the at-fault driver.

Here are the essential points to remember:

Self-inflicted damage and damage to immediate family members

The insurance company will not compensate the at-fault driver for any damage or injury they suffered. They will also not cover damage to the vehicle that caused the accident.

Liability insurance does not cover property damage caused to the driver’s family members living with them at the time of the accident. The insurance company will not pay compensation for damage caused by one vehicle of the same insured person to another vehicle of the same person, warn insurance experts.

Damage caused between the vehicles of a train

The insurance company will not pay out insurance compensation even if the damage occurs between the vehicles of a train consisting of a motor vehicle and a trailer. This includes damage to transported goods.

Damage caused during organized races and competitions

The insurance company will not compensate for damage caused during active participation in motor races if they do not occur during regular traffic when the participant is obliged to follow the prescribed rules in full.

Damage caused in terrorist or war events

Compensation for damage cannot be estimated even if the vehicle’s operation directly connects to these events.

The amount of damage exceeds the agreed limits of the contract

As insurance experts point out, this situation is not too common, but it does occur occasionally. This can happen, for example, abroad, when our driver causes permanent harm to the health of several productive individuals dependent on permanent care in their later lives due to their disability and on whom dependents are dependent.

Other situations include caused mass tragic accidents in tunnels or collisions with a passenger train, in which many people suffer bodily harm and significant property damage. The insurance company pays only up to the agreed insurance amounts, and the rest goes to the at-fault driver.

The at-fault driver caused the damage intentionally

If it is proven after payment of insurance compensation that the insured caused damage or injury intentionally, the insurance company will demand the money back.

The insured driver did not fulfill the essential obligations after the accident

The insurance company will also claim back the compensation paid to the damaged party if the insured driver did not fulfill the essential obligations after the accident or the driver’s essential obligations:

  • did not draft a joint record of the accident,
  • did not call the Czech Police to the scene of the accident, if the damage exceeds CZK 100,000
  • caused damage to the property of a third party (e.g., municipality) or bodily harm,
  • or left the scene of the accident,
  • did not report the accident to the insurance company.

All of these acts prevent or significantly complicate the insurance company’s investigation.

Other offenses against the rules applicable to motorists, due to which the insurance company will claim back the insurance compensation paid to the damaged party, include, for example, driving a vehicle without a valid driving license or causing damage, the senior driver caused damage without the prescribed medical certificate of fitness to go, or the driver was prohibited from driving.

Damage caused by unauthorized use of the vehicle

The insurance company will also claim back the compensation paid to the damaged party if the damage occurs due to unauthorized use of the vehicle, i.e., when the car was driven by the at-fault driver without the owner’s consent (e.g., he used the car without the owner’s knowledge for a trip during which an accident occurred, and it is not a classic theft of the vehicle).

Damage caused by technically unsuitable vehicle

The insurance company may claim back the compensation or part of it if the vehicle is not approved for use, has no valid technical inspection, or if the damage occurs due to a technical defect. In such a case, experts assess the causal relationship between the defects or technical deficiencies and the damage caused, whether they impacted the specific accident (e.g., braking system wear, excessively worn tires, etc.).

It is important to remember these points when considering car insurance in the Czech Republic. While liability insurance is a legal requirement, it does not guarantee total protection for the at-fault driver.