Liability insurance pays for damage to someone else’s property or for injury to other persons resulting from an accident for which the insured is judged legally liable; collision insurance pays for damage to the insured car if it collides with another vehicle or object; comprehensive insurance pays for damage to the insured car resulting from fire or theft or many other causes; medical-payment insurance covers medical treatment for the policyholder and his passengers.
In September 2012, it was announced that the Competition Commission had launched an investigation into the UK system for credit repairs and credit hire of an alternative vehicle leading to claims from third parties following an accident. Where their client is considered to be not at fault, Accident Management Companies will take over the running of their client's claim and arrange everything for them, usually on a 'No Win - No Fee' basis. It was shown that the insurers of the at-fault vehicle, were unable to intervene in order to have control over the costs that were applied to the claim by means of repairs, storage, vehicle hire, referral fees and personal injury. The subsequent cost of some items submitted for consideration has been a cause for concern over recent years as this has caused an increase in the premium costs, contrary to the general duty of all involved to mitigate the cost of claims. Also, the recent craze of "Cash for crash" has substantially raised the cost of policies. This is where two parties arrange a collision between their vehicles and one driver making excessive claims for damage and non-existent injuries to themselves and the passengers that they had arranged to be "in the vehicle" at the time of the collision. Another recent development has seen crashes being caused deliberately by a driver "slamming" on their brakes so that the driver behind hits them, this is usually carried out at roundabouts, when the following driver is looking to the right for oncoming traffic and does not notice that the vehicle in front has suddenly stopped for no reason. The 'staging' of a motor collision on the Public Highway for the purpose of attempting an insurance fraud is considered by the Courts to be organised crime and upon conviction is dealt with as such.
Since 1939, it has been compulsory to have third party personal insurance before keeping a motor vehicle in all federal states of Germany. In addition, every vehicle owner is free to take out a comprehensive insurance policy. All types of car insurance are provided by several private insurers. The amount of insurance contribution is determined by several criteria, like the region, the type of car or the personal way of driving.
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Widespread use of the motor car began after the First World War in urban areas. Cars were relatively fast and dangerous by that stage, yet there was still no compulsory form of car insurance anywhere in the world. This meant that injured victims would seldom get any compensation in an accident, and drivers often faced considerable costs for damage to their car and property.