Driving a car to Russia becoming significantly harder

Liikennevakuutuskeskus (LVK),
22.5.2023 | Release

From the beginning of June, a Finnish motor liability insurance policy will no longer be accepted in Russia and Belarus as the international Green Card agreements on motor liability insurance expire. Motorists need to have a local insurance policy valid in Russia. However, the terms and conditions of foreign insurance policies may come with some unpleasant surprises for motorists from Finland. The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends avoiding all travel to Russia and Belarus.

Having a motor liability insurance policy is obligatory everywhere in Europe, also in Russia and Belarus. Insurance policies’ cover and compensation vary significantly between countries. In Finland, for example, people are used to the motor liability insurance covering the personal injuries of all parties without any upper limit. In Russian motor liability insurance policies, there is a cap of about €5,500 on compensation per person, and an even lower one for property damage.

“With respect to compensation, Finland has one of the best and most comprehensive motor liability insurance systems in the world. In international comparison, the level of compensation is exceptionally high in Finland. For example, personal injuries of the driver who caused an accident are not compensated for by the motor liability insurance at all in Russia”, warns Janne Jumppanen, director of the Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre.

Local insurance, local practices

When the Green Card agreements with Russia and Belarus expire at the end of May, a motor liability insurance policy needs to be acquired from a local operator after crossing the border. The insurance policies are not sold online. Russian authorities have announced that points of sales are located at a distance of half a kilometre from the border at the most. So far, it has not been possible to confirm the existence of such points of sale near the border.

When an insurance policy is taken out from a Russian company, any loss events are processed with the local parties and any compensation is paid in roubles to a Russian bank account. The Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre does not process any road accidents that take place in Russia, even if a Finnish vehicle was involved.

The change in the Green Card collaboration has no effect on the cover of those who suffer from a traffic accident in Finland. The Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre can be contacted regarding any damage caused in Finland by a vehicle from outside the EEA, such as a Russian vehicle.

Thousands of Russian cars to be banned from the roads overnight

Russian and Belarussian vehicles used in Finland and elsewhere in Europe are covered by a motor liability insurance policy based on the Green Card agreement until the end of May. After the international Green Card agreement expires on 31 May, those insurance policies will no longer be valid outside countries’ borders. Instead, a frontier motor liability insurance policy must be taken out for the vehicles. The Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre points out that in Finland, a vehicle must have a valid insurance policy, even if it was not used on the roads.

“Overnight, thousands of vehicles will be banned from the roads. I hope that Russians living in Finland understand how serious the matter is, and purchase an insurance policy in good time. The police may remove licence plates from an uninsured vehicle, and in addition to retroactive insurance payments, other sanctions may also be imposed”, Jumppanen warns.

A frontier motor liability insurance policy can be purchased in advance during May. They are sold at border crossings and at the Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre in Helsinki. The price is the same everywhere, and the insurance cover of the frontier motor liability insurance is as good as that of the Finnish motor liability insurance. If an accident takes place in Finland, personal injuries of the driver who caused the accident will also be covered.

What is the Green Card system for motor liability insurance?

The Green Card is an international certificate of valid motor liability insurance. The system facilitates travelling abroad with a car, because drivers do not need to take out a separate local motor liability insurance in countries included in the system.

In Finland, an electronic Green Card that proves you have a valid insurance policy can be obtained free of charge from your motor liability insurer. Usually, the Green Card is a black and white PDF file provided to the customer that should be printed and kept at hand when travelling.

Motor liability insurance granted in Finland is automatically valid within the European Economic Area (EEA) and in Switzerland. This means requesting the Green Card from your insurer is not mandatory if you are travelling to these countries. However, having the Green Card makes the processing of possible traffic accidents easier.

In non-EEA countries that are part of the Green Card system, you must always have your Green Card at hand. When entering countries outside the Green Card system, you have to acquire valid motor liability insurance at the border.

More information:  

Janne Jumppanen, Director of the Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre, tel. +358 40 450 4543 
Communications, tel. +358 40 450 4700

More information

More information on travelling to Russia in Finnish 

More information in Russian

The Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre (LVK) is the party that ultimately safeguards the rights of a person who has been involved in a road accident and takes care of the consequences of a default on the payment of the statutory motor liability insurance. LVK has extensive international duties, and its members include all insurance companies that grant motor insurance policies in Finland.