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Take out motor liability insurance on time to avoid extra charges

In 2020, the penalty for non-compliance with motor liability insurance was imposed on more than 46,000 motorists. Even a small delay in taking out motor liability insurance will result in a fee of at least EUR 75.

A vehicle must always have a valid motor liability insurance. Mopeds, ATVs, snowmobiles, trailers and so-called “field cars” must also be insured. Even a vehicle that is unfit to drive must be insured unless you have notified Traficom of the removal from traffic use. An uninsured vehicle is prohibited from use until the insurance is properly taken care of. The police can remove the license plates of an uninsured vehicle. Read more about the insurance obligation on the website of the Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre.

Check vehicle details in advance

If you purchase a vehicle from a person who has not insured the vehicle, the insurance must be taken out immediately on the date of purchase. It is advisable to obtain the vehicle only from the registered owner. In this case, you usually have seven days to insure the vehicle.

The new owner and holder of the vehicle must find out about the vehicle’s registration and insurance obligation before purchasing the vehicle. In vehicle sales between private individuals, it is advisable to be particularly vigilant and follow the instructions on Traficom’s website.

Negligence can cost up to thousands of euros

An uninsured fee (premium equivalent to insurance premium + default fee) is imposed as a result of non-compliance with statutory motor liability insurance. The charges will compensate for traffic damage caused by uninsured vehicles, which would otherwise be paid for by other motorists.

According to the Motor Insurers’ Centre, the damage caused by uninsured vehicles has increased significantly in recent years. In five years, from 2016 to 2020, the amount of damage has risen by 30 per cent.

The fee corresponding to the insurance premium is higher than the premium for motor liability insurance taken out from the insurance company. It is determined on the basis of the Motor Insurers’ Centre’s payment basis and is based on the calculations made by the Motor Insurers’ Centre (the so-called risk fee study).

The penalty fee may be up to three times the amount of the premium, depending for example on the length of the period of non-compliance. The total amount can reach up to thousands of euros.

“The number of non-compliance fees for motor liability insurance has increased, and this year it is estimated that more than 50,000 motorists will have a penalty fee”, says lawyer Suvi Karhu from the State Treasury.

However, most of the penalty fees are small.

“Up to 68 per cent of non-compliance fees for motor liability insurance are minimum fees, which means that it is no more than a day or two late”, Suvi Karhu says.

Lack of knowledge does not exempt you from the penalty fee

The State Treasury imposes a penalty fee on the proposal from the Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre. The State Treasury makes the decision on the basis of the received proposal. The penalty fee cannot be imposed, for example on the grounds that:

  • you have not known about the insurance obligation or have forgotten to take out insurance
  • at the time of purchase, the vehicle was uninsured
  • payment default note delayed getting an insurance
  • the uninsured time is short
  • the vehicle is out of order
  • the vehicle has not been used in traffic.

The default fee may be omitted if there is objective ambiguity or openness to interpretation as to the obligation to insure.

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