Rise in accidents with uninsured vehicles for first time in eight years

Rise in accidents with uninsured vehicles for first time in eight years
The scene of a car crash at the Oude Baan, in Vucht, Maasmechelen. Credit: Belga/ Pino Misuraca

For the first time since 2014, the number of accidents involving vehicles that are not legally insured has increased in Belgium. Getting into an accident when uninsured can be very costly and also result in a prison sentence.

The number of accidents involving uninsured vehicles in the country rose in 2022 compared to the previous year, with the body that compensates road users when the other party is not insured (Belgian Common Guarantee Fund or BGWF) noting it opened almost 6,000 new files related to these incidents, an increase of 14.7% compared to 2021, Sudinfo reports.

Meanwhile, the number of accident reports involving a vehicle that was not identified also grew from 616 in 2021 to 656 in 2022, and there were 244 accidents involving a stolen vehicle, up from 234 in 2021. Finally, there was a slight rise in the number of accidents (154, up from 149) in which a driver became unwell and caused a collision.

When the BGWF becomes involved following an accident involving an uninsured vehicle, it turns against the driver at fault. The owner of the uninsured vehicle will have to reimburse the totality of the amounts paid to the victim. If the accident involves physical injuries, those compensation costs can run very high.

Legalities in Belgium

In Belgium, one specific type of car insurance, commonly referred to as BA (Civil Liability), is compulsory. As this is mandatory in the country, the law stipulates minimum requirements that every insurance company offering a BA is obliged to comply with.

A person who owns or drives a car that is not insured can be punished by one or more penalties, from a fine to a prison term of eight days up to six months. This can also range from the temporary forfeiture of the right to drive a motor vehicle, from eight days to five years, or even permanently. The vehicle can also be seized.

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Importantly, FPS Finance noted on its website that the holder and driver of the vehicle are only liable to punishment if they know that the vehicle is not covered by car insurance BA.

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