MTPL prices in Central and Eastern Europe - how far from the mature markets?

Although mandatory in all European countries, MTPL insurance registers major differences both in rates and coverage accross the CEE and CIS markets. Thus, if in countries such as Russia and the Republic of Moldova the MTPL price is a standard one, regulated through the local legislation, in the member states of the European Union the price liberalization transformed the MTPL into one of the main sore points of the insurance markets.

In principle, the MTPL policy covers the material prejudice produced to third parties, as well as the expenses for the compensation of bodily injury or death, within certain limits varying considerably among the countries in the European Union and those outside it. Moreover, in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Republic of Moldova, unlike in the European Economic Area, the MTPL insurance does not include the coverage for accidents produced outside their own borders. This type of insurance is only available through the supplementary purchase of a Green Card policy.

The sample client chosen for the calculation of an MTPL policy, on a span of 1 year, is a resident of a European capital city, aged 30, married, without children, recent owner of a new Logan model manufactured by RENAULT (made in 2010, 1.6 motor on gas) and in his first year of insurance (without bonus or malus). The calculations were done in January 2014, based on the prices listed by some of the most popular comparison sites from every country.

Romania: EUR 115

In Romania the lowest MTPL rate is EUR 115 per year, or RON 520, according to casco-ieftin.ro, with the possibility of the price reaching a maximum of RON 1,915 per year, respectively EUR 425.

Bulgaria: EUR 98

According to the calculations done by means of sdi.bg, the cheapest MTPL policy for the respective automobile can be concluded at BULSTRAD VIG for LEVA 196 (cca. EUR 98), whereas the most expensive insurance policy costs LEVA 228 (around EUR 114 at OZK Insurance).

It is worth mentioning that the presence in Romania of numerous cars licensed in Bulgaria led to the offering of Bulgarian insurance policies by some Romanian insurance brokers. Nevertheless, in none of these cases could any online interrogation be carried out, the only way to draw up a rate comparison being the emailing of the vehicle/insured's details.

The Czech Republic: EUR 222

In the case of an inhabitant of the city of Prague, the MTPL insurance for the same vehicle would cost between 5,553 koruna (about EUR 222 at AXA) and 9,907 koruna (EUR 396 at TRIGLAV) per year, according to data gathered on the epojisteni.cz portal.

It should be mentioned that the insured can also choose insurance intervals of 3 or 6 months and the compensation limit for bodily injuries is flexible, of koruna 35, 70 or 100 million respectively.

Another factor influencing the price is the number or type of risk associated with the basic policy. For example, in the case of the policy issued by TRIGLAV, this includes "extended assistance", legal protection, and coverage of the guilty driver, in addition to the protection in case of a collision with an animal.

It is also worthy to mention the fact that many of the portals displaying comparative MTPL rates can only be viewed if, subsequent to data entry, one calls (from the number that was registered) the broker's call centre. Moreover, as in the case of epojisteni.cz, a notification is sent that for the selected product there are other rates that can be provided from different insurance companies "but only by phone, as these companies don't want their rates to be made public." The firms that did not want to reveal their rates were CESKA Pojistovna, GENERALI, ALLIANZ, CSOB, UNIQA and CPP VIG.

Croatia: EUR 522

As for Croatia, the simple MTPL policy price is similar for several insurers on the market. According to dosi.hr, the rate consists of a fixed basic price (the same with all the insurers), respectively a variable component - in the case of the compensation limits and in that of other components that can be added to the basic policy.

Thus, the cheapest MTPL policy can be purchased from TRIGLAV (3,913 kuna - EUR 522), whereas the most expensive version is issued by BASLER Osigurane at a rate of 4.512 kuna (about EUR 600) and at higher compensation limits in case of an accident with road assistance included.

Poland: EUR 137

A resident of Warsaw pays about EUR 137 (or PLN 616) for the cheapest MTPL policy for a Logan. On the other hand, according to rankomat.pl - the cheapest version exceeds EUR 570/year (more than PLN 2.500) and is issued by WARTA - the second largest company on the market.

The differences in prices are caused, as in the case of other countries, by the supplementary clauses and services. It is worth mentioning the questionnaire that needs to be filled in for finding out the rates, this being by far the most "complex" one. Examples of questions include: how many drivers will drive the insured vehicle?; for how long have they had their driving license?; has the vehicle been "tuned"?; where will the car be parked (on the street, in a covered parking lot, in a garage)?. These are only a few of the factors that are taken into consideration when an MTPL rate is calculated.

Slovenia: EUR 424

Slovenia can be considered a special case. No rate comparison could be made. The reason is that at a simple Google search no specialized portals offering this service could be identified, just a few brokerage companies that offered this information through email. Only one local broker (IDEAL Broker d.o.o) provided a single rate within 24 hours: EUR 341 (without specifying the insurance company), but stating that was the lowest price and boasting with a portfolio of over 2,400 insured vehicles.

Following these experiences, we went on TRIGLAV's web site in order to find out how much the MTPL for our LOGAN would cost if it were issued by the biggest company on the market: EUR 423.9 euro/year - a price which includes a 5% discount - from EUR 446.2 - if the payment is made immediately. The total value of the premium also includes a 6.5% tax applied on insurance contracts. It should be mentioned that there are only a few special criteria that could influence the premium value: the possibility of the vehicle being used by another person with a driving experience of less than 3 years, the situation in which the owner has children aged less than 9 years or that in which the owner is a firefighter.

Hungary: EUR 96

As for Hungary, the cheapest MTPL insurance policy would cost EUR 96 (HUF 28,844), of which EUR 22 (HUF 6,656) would represent fees, according to bisztositats.hu. The insurance policy would be issued by ASTRA Biztosito, the Hungarian subsidiary of ASTRA Asigurari. At the opposite end, the most expensive policy (issued by GROUPAMA GARANCIA) would cost EUR 277 euro, fees included (HUF 83,101).

The web site mentioned assures its clients that the rates displayed are the lowest on the market, and in case they find cheaper prices with other companies, that difference will be reimbursed, respectively they will receive a bonus of HUF 24,000 made up of HUF 9,000 for gas and a voucher for a local hotel worth HUF 15,000.

Russia: EUR 174

In the case of Russia, the price of an MTPL insurance policy for an inhabitant of the city of Moscow is EUR 174, according to the portal of the motor insurers' association, www.autoins.ru. However, the MTPL policy does not include Green Card coverage, which can be purchased separately.

Considering that all the calculation criteria for the MTPL insurance rates are established by the supervisory authority, insurers offer the same price on their web sites. It should be mentioned that the liability limit for the MTPL policy for the material prejudice is approximately EUR 3,000, whereas for the non-material prejudice the sum of EUR 4,000 is paid per victim. Some companies in the field, such as INGOSSTRAKH, offer the possibility of extending the liability limit to EUR 67,000 euro, in this case the price of a policy going up to EUR 218. Yet, the MTPL policy does not include Green Card coverage, which can be purchased separately.

Ukraine: EUR 70

A resident of Kiev must pay EUR 70 for the cheapest MTPL policy, according to the portal strachovki.com.ua. The policy is offered by UNIQA Ukraine, having a liability limit for the material prejudice of EUR 4,630 euro. The prices offered by other insurance companies do not differ significantly, only by EUR 5-15 from one case to another. In Ukraine the MTPL policy does not include Green Card coverage either. Still, this can be purchased separately.

Moldova: EUR 32

In what concerns our neighbours from across Prut, the calculation coefficients are set by the supervisory authority, so that all the insurers offer the price of EUR 32 for the MTPL policy for a car licensed in Chisinau.

The Green Card insurance, purchased separately, differs depending on the transit rates and the destination. Thus, for the states in the European Economic Area the price of such an insurance policy is EUR 171 for 3 months, EUR 300 for 6 months and EUR 428 for a year.

Belarus: EUR 35

As in the case of other countries in the CSI, the MTPL rates are regulated by the state. Thus, the price of an insurance policy for an inhabitant of Minsk is EUR 35, according to www.btib.org, the Belarusian insurers' bureau portal.

For comparison, we have chosen one of the most relevant motor insurance markets from the Western EU markets, Germany.

Germany: EUR 695

In Germany, for an inhabitant of the city of Berlin, according to the calculations drawn up by means of autobild.de, the cheapest MTPL policy would cost about EUR 695 - the equivalent of a more expensive fully comprehensive motor insurance (CASCO) in e CEE country as Romania. On the other hand, "the expensive version" exceeds EUR 1,400/year - according to autobild.de (EUR 1,431) and is issued by GENERALI Versicherungen.

In case of a bodily injury event, the "cheap" version provides 12-million-euro coverage/person. As for the material prejudice, the coverage is EUR 100 million.

The "GENERALI Konfort" policy offers 24/7 assistance, and bodily injury liability coverage worth EUR 15 million/person, respectively EUR 100 million - in case of the material prejudice. According to BaFin - the Financial Supervisory Authority, for this policy 0.85 complaints are received for every 100 thousand contracts. More so, this policy has the "Mallorca-Police clause" included - an additional liability insurance policy usually concluded for rented cars and whose role is to raise the coverage in case of damages. It is extremely useful in the countries where the legal coverage for the MTPL insurance is too low.



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