Find out all about car insurance in Russia, including legal requirements, where to buy it, and how to claim.
Driving in another country can be a thrill, as you navigate roads and follow signs in a completely new environment. However, before you get behind the wheel, there are certain things you need to get sorted. These include your driving license, paperwork for your vehicle (if you’re buying or importing), and insurance.
Russia, similar to many other countries, has minimum vehicle insurance requirements. So if you’re driving a vehicle and need car insurance in Russia, read on to find out about:
Russia is currently at war with Ukraine.
The situation fluctuates daily, and affects many aspects of life in Russia, including banking, cost of living, and immigration.
For this reason, please be aware that prices and options may differ from the information on this page.
Car insurance in Russia
Car insurance in Russia has been compulsory to at least third-party liability level since 2003. All drivers in Russia need a valid insurance policy for all registered vehicles. If you are caught driving without car insurance, you could end up with a large fine.
Because it is a legal requirement, auto insurance is one of the biggest insurance sectors in Russia, with nearly 500 billion p. of premiums expected in 2022. However, third-party policies are often fairly basic, and many drivers opt for extended or comprehensive coverage. As a result, over half of the expected purchases for 2022 (277 billion p.) are for additional packages.
In Russia, you insure the vehicle rather than the driver. This means that you will need to name regular drivers on the policy, but other drivers with a valid license and additional coverage to drive other vehicles can legally drive your car. You can only insure one vehicle per policy, but many firms offer discounted rates if you take out policies for multiple cars.
The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) regulates all forms of insurance in Russia, including car insurance.
Can you use car insurance from another country in Russia?
Russia joined the Green Card system in 2009. This means that you can use a car insurance policy from most insurers signed up to the system. However, check your individual policy to ensure that Russia is listed among the countries where your contract is valid.
Car insurance companies in Russia
All Russian insurance providers need to be members of the Russian Association of Motor Insurers (RAMI). There are currently 66 RAMI members, many of them providing car insurance in Russia. Some of the biggest car insurance companies are:
Suppose you’re unsure about using a Russian insurance company directly. In that case, you can look for insurance brokers operating in Russia that provide English-speaking services and help with finding suitable local policies, such as ALD Automotive or Kola Travel.
You can compare ratings for Russian insurance companies on Sravni (in Russian).
Types of car insurance in Russia
Compulsory Third Party Liability Insurance (CMPTL or OSAGO)
This is the minimum legal coverage in Russia. Essentially, it covers the costs of vehicle damage, personal injuries, and legal fees for third parties in any road incident where you are at fault. There are usually limits to the amount that companies will pay out, which is around 500,000 p. per person. Because this is a low threshold, many drivers in Russia choose to take out a more comprehensive policy.
Basic third-party policies won’t cover any costs associated with yourself or your own vehicle or any deliberate damage you cause to others.
Voluntary Third-party Insurance
This is extended third-party liability insurance that many companies offer. Essentially, it’s the same as the CMPTL/OSAGO package but with a bigger payout limit in the event of an accident. Many drivers in Russia opt for this as minimum coverage to avoid having to pay out-of-pocket costs.
Payout limits vary between companies but generally range between 1-5 million p.
Comprehensive Insurance (CASCO)
Most Russian car insurance companies will offer a fully comprehensive policy, known as CASCO, which covers damage to your own car in incidents where you are at fault. Policies vary between companies but can sometimes include extras such as breakdown coverage and insurance for driving vehicles that don’t belong to you.
Although CASCO policies are known as fully comprehensive or all-inclusive, there are naturally some exclusions, such as intentional damage. Be sure to check the exact coverage level with insurers before committing to buy.
Car insurance costs in Russia
The costs of your car insurance in Russia will depend on an assortment of factors such as:
- Type of insurance that you take out
- Vehicle value
- Your own insurance risk profile, relating to your age, driving experience, and previous claims history
Costs can range from around 6,000-75,000 p. a year. Many insurance company websites include a calculator where you can check prices.
Additional forms of car insurance in Russia
Many Russian insurance companies sell additional forms of insurance as add-ons to increase your coverage. These include:
- Breakdown insurance – covers costs associated with roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown, such as towing charges and replacement transport.
- Equipment insurance – protects any equipment stored in the car in the event of a break-in or damage in an accident.
- Accident insurance – insures the driver and passengers, and covers medical costs in the event of injury.
- Business vehicle insurance – you can take this out if you use your car for business purposes and are likely to have a high yearly mileage.
- International civil liability – this is the Green Card insurance that extends your third-party coverage to other countries that use the Green Card system.
Car insurance bonuses and penalties in Russia
Russia has a no-claims bonus system, also known as the Bonus Malus. This is where you can get discounts on your car insurance premiums if you haven’t made any claims in the preceding years.
Most Russian insurers offer the Bonus Malus. According to RAMI, 81% of Russian drivers with OSAGO policies have no-claims discounts. Companies use driver information collected by RAMI to determine the no-claims discount rate (using a Bonus Malus coefficient). The more claims-free years a driver has chalked up, the bigger the discount. This is up to a maximum of 50% for 15 years. Accidents or incidents where you were not at fault generally don’t affect your score.
You can transfer the Bonus Malus between Russian insurance companies. However, the RAMI database doesn’t hold information about overseas firms, so transferring a bonus from abroad is tricky. Insurers in Russia may be willing to do this if you can show proof of claims-free periods, so be sure to get something in writing from your existing provider.
Although companies reward no-claims periods, they also penalize drivers with poor claims records. Therefore, expect to pay a higher than standard premium if you’ve had accidents where you were at fault, or have experienced damage or theft due to negligence. Additionally, if you have more than one driver listed on your insurance policy, the premium will be calculated using the scores of each driver. Therefore, having drivers with a poor record or no driving experience on the policy can affect the Bonus Malus.
See more information on the Bonus Malus system in Russia here.
How to choose car insurance in Russia
When looking for car insurance in Russia, it’s important to do your research to get the best deal and a policy that fully suits your needs. Factors you might want to take into account are:
- Company reputation – what do ratings and customer review sites say about it?
- Policy coverage – what is covered and what is excluded in the policy? Are there options for adding extras or removing anything you don’t need?
- Claims process – how straightforward is it? Can you do it online? How soon will you get compensated?
- International coverage – does the company offer the Green Card option, enabling you to use your policy abroad?
- Excess/deductible – do you need to pay anything on your first claim, and can you increase this amount to lower your annual premium?
- Ethics – how well does the company perform in terms of ethics, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility (CSR)? You can check scores on sites such as CSR Hub and EcoVadis.
Applying for car insurance in Russia
To take out car insurance in Russia, you will need to provide:
- Valid ID such as a passport
- Driving license that is valid for Russia
- Car registration certificate
- Vehicle maintenance certificate if your car is three or more years old
You may also be asked for additional details, for example, bank account details, if setting up a direct debit for payments. The bigger insurers now offer online application processes which take a matter of minutes. You usually need to set up an account, choose your policy preferences, submit your documentation electronically, and make your first payment. Alternatively, you can visit an insurance branch or payment center.
Once you have signed up, you’ll receive your insurance certificate containing your unique insurance number, claim forms, accident report forms, and information on your policy. This is often sent electronically if you’ve applied online. You’ll also receive your insurance green card for driving abroad if you’ve purchased this policy.
How to make a car insurance claim in Russia
The exact claims process varies between Russian insurers. Each should explain how to make a claim in the policy pack you receive when signing up. Many companies also detail claims processes on their websites. You can submit a claim online with several of the larger insurance companies. Typically, you will need to file your claim form by providing your insurance number, personal details, and information regarding your claim.
In the event of an accident, you should do the following:
- Stop your vehicle immediately.
- Call the emergency services if anyone is seriously injured or there is a matter that should involve the police.
- Take the details of other parties involved, such as driver contact details, insurance information, vehicle identification number (VIN), and registration details.
- Take pictures or videos of any damages you’ll include in the insurance claim.
If the incident involves the police, they will need to complete an accident report form to supplement your claim.
You should file your insurance claim as soon as possible. Many firms have a 15-day deadline, after which you will need to explain why you didn’t lodge your claim earlier. The legal deadline for third-party insurance claims in Russia is three years. After this, you will not be able to claim.
Insurance companies usually sort the insurance claim within 30 days of being notified. They will contact you within this period if they need any more evidence.
Canceling a contract or changing provider
You can cancel a car insurance contract in Russia within the first 14 days during the cooling-off period. The company is then obligated to refund you any premiums or other fees paid. However, you can only cancel beyond the cooling period under the terms of your agreement. Most insurance policies last for 12 months and renew automatically, so you usually need to give a notice period of around 30 days if you want to terminate.
If you want to leave your contract early, your insurer may charge an exit fee or ask that you pay your premium until the end of the agreed period. However, there is an exception if you are unhappy with the way your insurer deals with a claim. In this instance, you can usually terminate without a penalty.
You can change your provider without giving a reason at the end of your contract. It makes sense to shop around each year to see if you can switch to a better deal. Some insurance companies offer to handle some transfer paperwork as an incentive to sign with them. You can check the performance of Russian insurance companies on Sravni (in Russian)
Making a complaint about a car insurance company in Russia
If you feel that you have been unfairly treated by a Russian insurance company and would like to complain, you should follow these steps:
- Complain in writing, either on paper or in electronic form, to your insurance company. You should receive details of the complaints contacts when you take out your insurance policy.
- If your insurer doesn’t reply to you within 30 days (15 days if you complain using a standardized electronic form and file a complaint within 180 days of the grievance), or you are unhappy with the response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman. The CBR set this service up in 2018 to mediate disputes between financial institutions and consumers. Check the Financial Ombudsman’s website to ensure your insurer is on the list of registered insurance companies. If you complain about a company not on the list, you’ll need to direct your complaint to the CBR.
- If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can pursue a court settlement. However, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay legal costs, and it’s unusual for courts to rule differently than the Ombudsman.
Roadside assistance in Russia
Insurance companies in Russia often include breakdown assistance with their CASCO policy, or sell it as an extra standalone policy. There are also two federal membership clubs that provide English-speaking roadside assistance services, including vehicle towing, repair, and replacement transport. These are the Russian AutoMotoClub (RAMC) and the Russian Automobile Fellowship (RAF).
Annual membership costs vary depending on factors such as vehicle type and level of coverage. Both offer various packages. The RAF sells a basic yearly membership for 4,400 p.