Car insurance (also motorcycle and scooter) is mandatory. This obligation, which only concerns civil liability, aims to protect the victims of an accident for which you would be responsible whether they are your passengers, pedestrians, the occupants of another vehicle. But what if no insurer wants to cover you?

An insurance company is, in principle, free to insure who it wishes. But the counterpart of the obligation of insurance on the driver is the obligation, for the company you have designated, to insure you. In order to compel the insurer, an independent administrative authority, called the Central Pricing Office (CBO), is responsible for setting the assessment that you must pay to the insurer that you have designated. His decision will be binding on the company concerned.

This fact sheet from the National Institute of Consumers (INC) describes the operation of the CPA, more precisely its automobile section, and gives the procedure to follow if you encounter a refusal of insurance.

1 – The Competence of the Central Tariff Office (BCT) in the automotive field

2 – The composition of the BCT

3 – In which cases can the BCT be seized?

4 – How to enter the BCT?

5 – The decision of the BCT

6 – What to do while waiting for the response of the BCT?

1 – THE COMPETENCE OF THE CENTRAL TARIFF OFFICE (BCT) ON AUTOMOBILE

The mission of the BCT is to fix the amount of the contribution by which an insurance undertaking is required to insure you (Article L. 212-1 of the Insurance Code).

The law specifies that the BCT is only competent for compulsory insurance. This means that his jurisdiction is limited to civil liability. This guarantee covers the damage that you could cause to a third party (passenger, pedestrian …) because of your vehicle.

This implies that the BCT can not set an assessment for optional guarantees, such as damage to the vehicle (broken windows, collision …), theft, the guarantee of bodily injury of the driver or assistance and legal protection.

2 – THE COMPOSITION OF THE BCT

The automobile section of the BCT is composed, in equal shares of representatives of taxable persons and insurers, as follows:

One to six members representing insurance companies

One to six members representing those subject to compulsory insurance. They are appointed on the proposal of professional organizations on the basis of:

  • of a member by the permanent assembly of the presidents of the chamber of agriculture,
  • a member by the most representative professional organizations of public passenger road transport,
  • a member by the most representative professional organizations of public passenger road transport,
  • of three members by the consumer college of the National Consumption Council (CNC).
  • The members are appointed for three years renewable, by order of the Minister for the Economy and Finance (Article R. 250-1 of the Insurance Code).

3 – IN WHAT CASES CAN THE BCT BE ENTERED?

The BCT can be seized in case of refusal of mandatory motor vehicle liability insurance (Article L. 211-1 of the Insurance Code).

This can happen under different circumstances:

  • you want to insure your automobile, but the company does not want to guarantee you because you do not correspond to the target audience (for example, if your penalty is important – to know more about it, see the practical sheet INC “Car insurance: the bonus-malus”),
  • your contract has been terminated due to claims that are too numerous or too expensive for the insurer, whether or not you are responsible for these claims,
  • your insurer has terminated your contract during a disaster (accident, theft …),
  • your contract has been canceled for omission or misrepresentation,
  • the insurer you request agrees to guarantee your motor vehicle liability but makes its acceptance subject to the subscription of optional guarantees (damage to the vehicle, assistance, legal protection …).

The refusal may be explicit and written, but this assumption is rather rare in practice. In fact, the insurer has a better interest in not responding to your request or expressing your refusal orally, hoping that you will find a solution to the competition and that you will not have to seize the CPA. This hypothesis was provided for by the texts: they equate to the refusal of the silence kept by the insurer for a period of fifteen days following your formal request.

4 – HOW TO ENTER THE BCT?

The mission of the BCT is limited to setting the fee that will be applicable to you, it is up to you to indicate the insurer from which you want to be insured and provide a quote prepared by this insurer.

The procedure is very formal: you must, therefore, follow it scrupulously, and keep a copy of all your shipments and postal receipts. This will prevent your application from being rejected because your file is not complete or the procedure has not been followed.

Procedure to follow (articles R. 250-2 and following of the insurance code)

1 – If you are not in possession of your “statement of information”, make the request to your last insurer. You will be asked by the insurer that you will apply, to subscribe to the contract, as well as by the BCT. It is a document summarizing, in particular, the various incidents of which you may have been a victim or responsible during the last five years. It must be given to you at the termination of your contract, or within fifteen days after your express request (article 12 of the appendix to article A. 121-1 of the insurance code).

2 – At the same time, ask the insurer to provide you with two copies of a form called the “subscription form”. This is a questionnaire to collect all the information useful to the insurer to establish the contract (contact information, information on the vehicle to be insured, previous claims …). The contents of the document may vary from one insurer to another. The company is obliged to make these two copies available to you (article A. 250-2 of the insurance code). If for one reason or another, you are unable to obtain them, the BCT provides you with a standard template on its website.

However, be aware that since a judgment, made in the formation of the mixed chamber, the Court of Cassation of February 7, 2014, the insurer is required, in order to cancel an insurance contract, produce the questionnaire tracing all questions and answers that were formulated during the subscription of the contract.

Therefore, any automobile insurer must give you this form which will be particularly useful in case of insurance refusal.

In order to find an insurer more easily, you may be tempted not to declare certain claims or criminal convictions (including drunk driving) to the insurer you are applying for. Do not do it, because the insurance contract can be canceled when the insured knowingly made false statements or hidden a fact that the insurer had the interest to know. In case of an accident, it could cost you a lot.

3 – Whether you have obtained the documents from the insurer or via the BCT: once completed, you send a letter by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt (or you drop it at the head office of the company in exchange for a receipt), along with a copy of your registration certificate (“registration card”) and your statement of information. Keep the other copy as a proof, but also because it will be requested by the OWA. In the same shipment, ask the insurer for a quote. If he does not send it to you directly, he will be required to do so when the BCT is seized, in accordance with the obligations set out in Article R. 250-4 of the Insurance Code.

4 – You will probably have to show a little patience while waiting for a letter of explicit refusal from the insurer or the lack of a written response from him within fifteen days of receiving your request. The OWA may be seized as soon as you have been refused or, in the case of non-response, as of the sixteenth day following receipt of your request.

Tip If the insurer agrees to guarantee you on the condition that you take out optional guarantees, this response is similar to a refusal giving the right to the seizure of the BCT.

It is nevertheless advisable to take out certain optional guarantees and in particular the guarantee of the bodily injury of the driver. It covers your own damages in the event of a claim for which you are responsible. If you have a new vehicle of significant value or purchased on credit, the subscription of guarantees covering the damage to the vehicle (theft, broken glass …) can also be very useful. So think carefully before decrying the insurer’s offer and entering the OWA for the sole liability cover.

5 – As soon as you become aware of the insurer’s explicit refusal, or more generally implicitly (no response or unwritten refusal), you have 15 days to submit the BCT by registered letter with notification of receipt (LRAR) (Article R. 250-2 of the Insurance Code).