Protection of Visitors

Within the field of international motor vehicle insurance claims settlement, the term "protection of visitors" refers to the protection of individuals who suffer road traffic accidents abroad. The need for protection arises on account of the fact that the person responsible for the accident, or his or her insurer, with whom the injured party must deal in order to assert a claim, is based abroad. First, foreign law is usually applicable; second, language problems can make direct communication difficult or even impossible.

In order to overcome these difficulties, the protection of visitors mechanism makes it possible for the injured party to settle such a claim in his/her country of residence. The following two conditions must be met. First, an information centre is required, which identifies the responsible regulatory body in the country of residence, based on the information provided by the injured party; second, it must be ensured that this regulatory body accepts and examines within a reasonable period of time the injured party's claims. Depending on the protection of visitors system, there may be additional settlement mechanisms in place, including, in particular, the compensation body system, which offers the injured party additional drop-down cover if the claim is not processed correctly.

The protection of visitors systems in Europe
  • Protection of visitors provided under the European Directive on motor vehicle liability insurance (consolidated in Directive 2009/103/EC; applicable throughout the EEA)

    Protection of Visitors in Europe...
  • The system of private-law bilateral protection of visitors agreements, applicable for matters between Switzerland and the EEA

  • The Protection of Visitors Agreement concluded by the Council of Bureaux (CoB), with which the underlying principles of visitor protection can be extended by means of bilateral agreements to all countries within the Green Card System

    Protection of Visitors in Switzerland...

Please note:

Protection of visitors should be clearly distinguished from the Green Card System. The Green Card System ensures that drivers have sufficient liability insurance cover during trips abroad. It ensures that injured parties that suffer an accident caused by a foreign vehicle in a country within the Green Card System can assert their claims via the national insurance bureau in that country or via the foreign insurer's correspondent. Put simply, the Green Card System provides cover for the injured party if he/she suffers an accident in Switzerland involving a foreign vehicle. On the other hand, the protection of visitors system protects the Swiss injured party in the event of an accident abroad.