Car insurance and technical control: operation
At the end of 4 years after the date of its first registration, a vehicle must pass a technical inspection (then again every 2 years). If, following a technical inspection, a vehicle does not meet the required safety requirements, it must sometimes be subject to a counter-visit, to be carried out within 2 months. It is up to the owner of the vehicle to carry out the required repairs within this period of time, so that the vehicle successfully passes a new technical inspection.
A motorist arrested for lack of technical control (driving in a vehicle that has not passed technical control) is punished with a fine of 135 euros (reduced to 90 euros if payment is made within 3 days). But this fine can be increased up to 750 euros in certain cases.
In the event of a check, the police can immobilize a vehicle that has not passed a technical inspection. They then confiscate the gray card and instead grant the driver a provisional circulation card. The latter then has 7 days to carry out the technical inspection. His gray card will be returned to him at the police station or at the gendarmerie only if he presents the report of the technical inspection declaring the vehicle in good condition and fit to be driven. Otherwise, the vehicle is impounded.
The technical control is not one of the compulsory documents to be provided in order to be able to take out an automobile insurance contract. However, the vehicle’s gray card (which is a mandatory document) must mention the end date of the technical inspection’s validity, using a sticker issued by the approved center which carried out the inspection.
The lack of technical control is not part of the causes of exclusion of contractual guarantee of a contract. However, some auto insurance contracts may include a warranty exclusion clause in the event of a lack of technical control.
What happens in the event of an accident without a technical inspection?
A distinction must be made between several situations: the compensation of the driver and that of the victims.
- Driver compensation
When a driver has an accident for which he is not responsible, he will receive compensation for the bodily injury and material damage suffered. This rule applies systematically, whether the technical control of his car (or the other vehicles involved) is up to date or not.
On the other hand, if the driver of the vehicle is responsible for an accident, he will only be compensated according to the terms of his insurance contract. Consequently, if his contract stipulates that a lack of technical control does not give rise to the right to compensation, his material and bodily damage will not be taken into account.
If the lack of technical control is generally not a condition of exclusion of guarantee, it is however necessary to distinguish the hypothesis where the driver has signed a third party insurance contract (or civil liability) from that where he has signed an all-risk insurance contract. Because, depending on the formula chosen, the conditions for compensating the responsible driver will vary considerably.
With third-party insurance, the driver responsible for the accident will not be compensated for the bodily injury or material damage suffered, unlike all-risk insurance (coverage of bodily injury and material damage suffered and immediate compensation, except in the event of very serious behavior of the insured).
However, some car insurance companies offer compensation for the driver at fault, even with third-party insurance: the driver will be compensated for bodily injury caused by the accident.
- Compensation for victims
Victims are systematically compensated for bodily injury and material damage suffered, even in the absence of technical control: the Guarantee Fund for Compulsory Damage Insurance (FGAO) compensates accidents occurring in France or in the European Economic Area, even in the absence of an identified person responsible, or if the person(s) responsible are not insured.
However, for the FGAO to compensate, an accident must have caused both material damage and bodily injury.