The first thing to do before you start driving in Malta is get a car insurance. Unfortunately, this can be quite complicated – but it is completely necessary. You’ll need proof of full third party accident and liability coverage before you can register a vehicle and get on the road.
It’s hard to give an exact guide to the price of insurance. It will vary quite a lot, depending on several different factors. Newer drivers will have to pay more, and high-performance vehicles are more expensive than their less powerful counterparts. Expect to pay more if you are living in an urban area, and of course, drivers who have had accidents in the past will be charged more.
Be aware that things are different if you are moving to the country permanently or temporarily. If you are an EU resident staying temporarily – for example, to study, retire, travel, take up short term work, etc – you can continue to use your existing EU insurance policy.
However, this is only valid for six months. If your stay in the country will be longer than this, you will need to register for a Residence Permit. Part of this process involves changing your vehicle’s registration plate from your previous country to your current location. You will then need to organise Maltese insurance.
As in many countries, Maltese vehicle insurers use the bonus/malus system. Under this system, a policyholder’s premium depends on their claims history. You may know this system as “no claims discount”.
If no claim has been submitted in the preceding year(s), then a discount in the premium is offered. However, if a claim has been submitted, the cost of the premium will increase.
There’s good news for EU nationals: legally, Maltese insurers have to recognise any no-claims history that you have in another EU country. This will be taken into account when your premium is calculated. To take advantage of this, be sure to have the original documents issued by your previous insurer(s). You will need to present these to your new insurer.
Accidents on the road
Even if you are only abroad temporarily, accidents are always governed by the law of the country where they take place. Be aware of this, as if you need to claim compensation, things may be different from what you are used to.
If you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, you must stay on the scene. Talk to the other driver then, if necessary, call the police, emergency services and wardens. Be sure to make a written note of the circumstances of the accident and the other person’s details.
Making a report
While still at the scene of the accident, you will need to compile an accident report.
Normally, you can expect to receive an accident statement form from your insurer. In the EU, some associations have a European Accident Statement form, which can be used across all member countries for your convenience. This form will make it easy for you to gather all the required information and settle any claims that may be made.
If you find yourself without the necessary form, then you should be sure to make a written note of the following important information:
- time, date and location of the accident
- physical details of material damage and injuries
- contact details of any witnesses
- contact details of the other driver, including name, address and phone number
- insurance company details for the other driver – don’t forget their policy number
- necessary information about the other vehicle, including registration number and country, make and type. If the vehicle has a trailer, you will need its information, too
- after contacting the police, be sure to get the contact details of the responding authorities
the accident’s circumstances
Things will be a lot easier if you and the other driver can come to an agreement about the circumstances in which the accident took place. In this case, you can both sign a statement, and the insurance claim should be straightforward.
As a caution, be careful not to admit liability, and do not sign any documents that you don’t fully understand.
If you and the other driver do not agree, then it’s up to your insurer to settle things with their insurer. This will be based on the police report and assessment of the damage. Your claim can be supported by photos, witness statements and a police report, so collect these if you can.
Even if you don’t want to make a claim, be sure to report the accident to your car insurance company. Remember, when driving in Malta, it’s better to be safe than sorry!