Unlicensed car insurance in Switzerland: how does it work?


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It's sometimes difficult to find information about insurance for cars without a license in Switzerland. However, it is possible to drive this type of vehicle. The cover offered is the same as for any other car. Rates differ, however, taking into account the specific features of this means of locomotion. In this article, we take a look at all the information you need to know about insuring a licence-free car in Switzerland.

Do you need insurance for a licence-free car in Switzerland?

Licence-free cars are rather rare in Switzerland, compared with other countries such as France.
Nevertheless, they are allowed on the roads, and must be insured. Like all motor vehicles, you'll need to take out appropriate insurance. At the very least, the licence-free car must be insured by a civil liability vehicle.
A person responsible for an accident, not having car insurance for their licence-free car is liable to 3 years' imprisonment.

What are the conditions for driving a licence-free car in Switzerland?

To be allowed to drive on Swiss roads with a car without a license, you must:
  • Have anAM license,
  • Be over 18,
  • Respect the vehicle's bridle limit, set at 45 km/h.
The French BSR is also valid in Switzerland, to have the right to drive a car without a license. However, unlike France, Switzerland requires a minimum age of 18 to drive a car on the road. It is therefore not a feasible means of locomotion for underage border residents wishing to travel across the border.

What are the traffic rules for a driver of a car without a license?

A person driving in a car without a license must respect the same highway code as any other road user. Signs and speed limits are therefore exactly the same as with a conventional car.
Furthermore, in the event of a breach of the highway code, the driver is exposed to the same penalties as if he or she were driving a licensed car.

What guarantees are there to insure a licence-free car in Switzerland?

It's important to take stock of the compulsory cover, when you want to insure a licence-free car in Switzerland.

Civil liability: the compulsory minimum

As with any car, owners of a licence-free car in Switzerland are required to take out at least civil liability. For example, in the event of a collision for which the owner of the licence-free car is responsible, civil liability will compensate the victims. This may involve reimbursing repairs to a damaged vehicle, or paying compensation for bodily injury.

Partial casco coverage

The driver of the license-free car can opt for a more comprehensive level of auto insurance with partial casco. The latter provides cover in the event of damage caused by an external element other than another road user. The owner of the licence-free car will then be insured in the event of :
  • Damage caused by bad weather,
  • Collision with an animal,
  • Act of vandalism, Fire,
  • Vehicle theft,
  • etc...

Collision coverage

Collision coverage, meanwhile, offers cover in the event of collision caused by the insured himself. Without this coverage, if the owner is found to be at fault, he or she alone must pay for any repairs to the vehicle.

Assistance in the event of breakdown or accident

As an insurance option, the owner of a licence-free car can also choose to benefit from assistance in the event of an accident or the need for breakdown assistance. This simply avoids having to pay for the tow truck to pick up the vehicle and take it to the nearest garage.
This cover is generally included in most insurance policies. It is still necessary to read the contract carefully, to make sure that it is not an additional guarantee to which you have not subscribed.

Occupants' insurance

Finally, occupants' insurance guarantees compensation of the vehicle's occupantsin the event of a claim caused by the owner. For example, in the event of a collision, we can reimburse the costs associated with any bodily injury suffered by the vehicle's passengers.
Please note that this insurance is not really relevant if the licence-free car is only intended to transport Swiss nationals.
In general, this type of insurance is of particular interest to those likely to be transporting cross-border workers.

The bonus and malus system in Switzerland

As with any car, owners of a licence-free car are subject to the Swiss bonus and malus system. After several years of insurance, with no claims, it is therefore possible to see the price of your premium drop significantly.
On the other hand, reporting an at-fault claim generally results in a10% malus, on the price of your car insurance. Cautious driving is therefore the best way to keep your budget in check.

How much does insurance for a licence-free car cost in Switzerland?

The calculation of a licence-free car insurance policy follows the same criteria as for a conventional vehicle. On the other hand, the low power of the car can lower the bill.

The calculation of the premium

As for any car, the insurer calculates the amount of the premium according to:
  • The profile of the insured,
  • The number of years of experience on the road,
  • Any claims reported,
  • The value and characteristics of the insured car.

Is insurance for a no-license car cheaper?

For a classic driver profile, with no at-fault claims to their credit, insurance for a no-license car is generally cheaper than for a classic car. This is because this type of vehicle is limited to 45 km/h. At such speeds, the risk of accidents is greatly reduced.
Some insurers do, however, take into account the fact that drivers of this type of vehicle do not hold a driving license.

The difficulty of finding insurance for a licence-free car in Switzerland

Finding insurance for a licence-free car in Switzerland is a real headache. When requesting quotes online, most insurers don't offer any pricing for this type of vehicle.
According to our research, Allianz and Axa offer this type of contract. However, you need to call the companies' customer service departments directly, to obtain a quote.
This lack of communication around car contracts for unlicensed vehicles can be explained by the rarity of these vehicles on Swiss roads. Indeed, it's mainly French vehicles, driven by cross-border workers, that are found on our roads. Owners of Swiss licence-free vehicles are rare.

How to choose licence-free car insurance?

To choose licence-free car insurance, it's important to get several quotes from different companies. You then need to comparison the proposals on the basis of price, but also on the basis of guarantees. An assessment based solely on the rates offered is incomplete.
Antoine Léger
Updated on: 30.01.2024Written by Antoine LégerHead of non-life insurance department at Comparea.
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