Motor vehicle insurance cover in Portugal

As long as a vehicle is registered in a European Union country and is roadworthy, it is mandatory to have third-party liability insurance. Even in situations where the vehicle is parked on a private lot, private garage or on the public road, at the option of the person who owns it.

Motor vehicle insurance is compulsory in order to protect the interests of injured parties, who are entitled to compensation for damages, even where the person responsible for the accident is unable to pay such compensation.

In the event of an accident, the owner or driver of a vehicle is liable for any personal or material damage which may be caused to the persons transported and to third parties, and they may have to pay damages to injured parties.

The minimum insurance cover is EUR 6 070 000 per accident for personal injuries and EUR 1 220 000 per accident for material damage. These figures are reviewed every 5 years.

The information in this section is organized as follows:

Car accidents

In the event of a car accident, you must obtain, at the place of the accident, the identification details of the drivers, vehicles and insurance (the name of the insurer and policy number, which can be found on a stamp displayed on the inside of the vehicle’s windscreen).

You must also identify any witnesses to the accident and obtain their details (name, telephone number and address).

Accident report

If agreement can be reached on how the accident occurred, the driver(s) should complete and sign the same accident report (Declaração Amigável de Acidente Automóvel, DAAA). Each driver must keep one copy to be returned to their insurer. Wherever possible, you should attach photographs of the damage and the location of the accident.

You can find instructions on how to complete the report in the form itself.

If no agreement can be reached, each driver should complete and sign their own accident report and send it to the insurer of the other vehicle.

In these cases, it is even more important to attach photographs of the damage and location of the accident.

If there is personal injury, you should contact the authorities to request their presence at the scene of the accident.

To complete the accident report it is not necessary for any of the drivers involved to state that they were at fault. If a driver is not responsible for the accident, the fact that they have completed the accident report will not change the related insurance premium.

If the authorities are called to the scene, there is no need to complete the accident report.

After submitting the accident report, the procedure starts with the insurers involved. Injured parties will be contacted by the insurer(s) in cases of compensation, which may involve a replacement vehicle, while the damaged vehicle is repaired, or compensation in cash.

See the Information Guide on Motor Insurance of the Insurance and Pension Fund Supervisory Authority (Autoridade de Supervisão de Seguros e Fundos de Pensões, ASF) for further information.

Portuguese Motor Vehicle Guarantee Fund

If any driver fails to provide proof of insurance, in addition to collecting the identification details of the driver and the vehicle, the authorities must also be called.

It is possible to discover who the insurer is via the vehicle’s registration number. For this purpose, please visit the ASF site.

If the vehicle which caused the accident is not insured, the injured party may apply to the Motor Vehicle Guarantee Fund (Fundo de Garantia Automóvel) to receive compensation for the damage suffered.

Challenging an insurer’s decision

In the event of a car accident, you are not obliged to accept the insurer’s decisions. If the insured person or the injured party does not agree with the insurer’s reply, they can submit a complaint to the insurer. They can also use the consumer ombudsman, mediation, arbitration or the courts.

If the event of a complaint about a car accident, you must first use the insurer’s complaint management department. Insurers are required to have unbiased and qualified personnel in this department who will reply to the complainant within a maximum of 20 or 30 days.

Should the insurer not reply within these time limits, or the complainant disagrees with the reply given, the matter may be submitted to the consumer ombudsman, whose contact details can be found on the ASF site.

If, after completing these stages of the complaint, the situation becomes litigious, you can seek assistance from the Insurance Information, Mediation, Ombudsman and Arbitration Centre (Centro de Informação, Mediação, Provedoria e Arbitragem de Seguros, CIMPAS). CIMPAS examines litigation arising from traffic accidents which do not result in permanent disability or death.

Cost of motor insurance

The cost of motor insurance may be updated once a year when the policy is renewed. When claims are submitted for accidents which are the responsibility of the person who took out the insurance, the cost of the insurance usually increases (penalty or increased premium). The premium will decrease for every year without claims (no-claims bonus).

An increase in premiums due to accidents is calculated in accordance with tables used by each insurer and there is no statutory ceiling for increases in cost.

The law does not provide for consultation of claims history or claims in other countries for purposes of determining car insurance premiums.

Before changing the cost of the annual premium, an insurer must advise the customer before the policy is renewed.

Assistance services

For more information or if you need help, please contact Autoridade de Supervisão de Seguros e Fundos de Pensões (ASF):

  • phone - 217 983 983.