CASCO car insurance – what is it and how to use it?

Do you own a car in Romania or have just bought a new one? And are not sure what a CASCO car insurance is, and whether you would need one or not for your own vehicle? Well, you are not the only expat living in Romania asking this question...
CASCO car insurance

First thing you have to know about CASCO insurance is that this type of car insurance is not a mandatory one, as per the Romanian law. The CASCO insurance is an optional one, which means that the owner of a car registered in Romania is not obliged by law to conclude such an insurance agreement for the car. The only case in which a CASCO insurance may become mandatory is when the car is legally owned by a leasing company and not directly by you. But in this case the insurance will always be the obligation of the Romanian leasing company.

Since it’s not mandatory as per the law, the decision to conclude a CASCO car insurance stays with the owner of the vehicle, be it an individual or legal person.

With a CASCO insurance, the magic thing is that you can be compensated by the insurance company if your car is stolen or suffers damages, regardless of whether you are guilty or not of their occurrence. The insurance company will reimburse you and bear the costs of repairs, provided that the vehicle meets the minimum legal requirements for traffic on public roads.

Before buying the insurance, it is important that you inform yourself on two important aspects: the coverage of the policy, and the limits of coverage. So, read the Policy and the Contractual Conditions carefully to know exactly which situations are covered, which are not, and which services are included in the insurance.

What are the main risks you can be covered for under a CASCO insurance?

If you have a Casco insurance, generally, the risks for which insurance companies offer compensation are:

  • tilts
  • hits
  • scratches
  • accidental falls
  • accidental overturns
  • fire
  • damage generated by natural calamities (flood, hail, earthquakes, etc.)
  • theft.

On top of that, if you pay an additional premium, with most of the insurance companies you can add to the insurance contract the following special risks:

  • acts of vandalism/deliberate damage;
  • attempts of theft, without signs of a break-in;
  • water in the engine;
  • loss of car key;
  • accidents that happen outside of public roads (only certain insurers offer this special clause);

Not all insurance companies cover the same types of accidents under their CASCO insurance policies. So, don’t assume that any insurance will cover you for any types of accidents. You better check on this with the insurance company prior to buying the insurance.

To find out exactly what a CASCO insurance covers, just ask for an offer, because not all of the companies offer the same benefits. For example, if under some of the policies you can insure certain risks, such as total damage, under some of them you may not be covered for that. Also, if you would like to be covered for any damages caused while traveling abroad, make sure you include that in the insurance contract from the beginning, as this type of incident is not always included by default.

Can vehicles registered abroad be insured under a CASCO policy?

Unfortunately, cars registered in other countries cannot benefit of insurance under CASCO policies with Romanian companies. Only vehicles registered in Romania, or which are in the process of being registered, can benefit from CASCO car insurance from Romanian companies.

So, if you want to have a local insurance for your foreign car while living and driving in Romania, you will first have to register your car in Romania, and afterwards sign a Casco insurance contract.

What events are generally not covered by CASCO insurance?

Most of the insurance companies do not grant compensation for damage caused in the following situations:

  • participating with the car in contests or sports competitions;
  • driving a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • driving the car into flood zones;
  • driving outside of public roads;
  • driver refuses the collection of biological samples for determining blood alcohol level or flees from a place of an accident;
  • vehicle is driven by a person not holding a valid driving license;
  • theft of the car in the situation where the receipt or the second row of keys were in the car.

How can you use the CASCO car insurance in case of an incident?

1. Report the damage to your insurance broker/company

In case your car suffers an incident, be it an accident in traffic with another vehicle, or other type (e.g., damages generated by other circumstances), first thing you have to do is to notify the insurance broker and report the damage within acceptable time of approximately 24 to 72 hours (depending on your insurance terms). Otherwise you risk not being compensated for the car incident.

Carefully read your insurance policy and check whether you are obliged to a certain notification period from the moment of the incident occurrence, and try to observe it.

2. Do not try to repair the damages or improvise

Also, do not intervene in the damages, do not try to repair or improvise, because you risk NOT being compensated. If your exterior mirror is broken (for example) and you stick it with scotch tape, the insurer no longer accepts you for compensation. You have Casco, repair damage on Casco!

3. Report the incident to local police (if required)

In case of accident in traffic with another vehicle, and if you can’t agree with the other driver on who is guilty of the accident, you have to announce the local police within a time frame of maximum 24 hours. If the accident resulted in injuries of any persons involved (or death), you also have the obligation to announce the police, and on top, you are not allowed to leave the place of the accident until the traffic police arrives.

In case of theft of your car, or damage done by vandalism acts, you also have to notify the Police, so they can come and verify and acknowledge the theft, or the damages through an official written notice. Otherwise, the insurance company may not accept to indemnify you, if you do not have an official document to certify the incident and the damages.

4. Call roadside assistance service covered by your insurance

Most car insurance companies offer roadside assistance as part of CASCO policy coverage, or as a coverage add-on, for an additional fee.

If your insurance company can cover for such service, you have to know that the cost with the roadside assistance service will be covered by the insurer only if you call the roadside assistance service included in the policy, or in the contractual conditions. Otherwise, if you use a third-party towing company and pay out of pocket, you risk not being compensated for the cost in most of the cases.

So, make sure you always have that service number at hand, in the car, as you never know when you need it.

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Georgiana Dima

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