Police officers stop motorbike drivers to check the papers they are required to carry while driving. — VNA/VNS Photo

Nguyen Hoang Long from Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District said that after hearing about the fine of VND100,000-200,000 (US$4.3-8.6) for drivers who failed to show traffic police their motorbike insurance certificates, he checked his two motorbikes’ insurance certificates and found they had expired a few years ago.

“I have bought new insurance just in case police stop me to check my documents,” Long said, adding that the insurance certificates were much cheaper than the fine.

Ho Viet Thang of Ba Dinh District said he paid VND66,000 ($2.8) for compulsory motorbike insurance but did not expect to use it to claim compensation.

Compulsory insurance for the civil liability of motor vehicle owners stipulated in 2008 by Government Decree 103/2008/NĐ-CP does not offer direct compensation for vehicle owners if an accident occurs. Instead, insurance firms will pay the victim(s) of an accident.

Within five days of an accident, those responsible must send documents to claim compensation including papers relating to the vehicle and driver, papers outlining the damage, and an accident report issued by authorities. The victims can receive compensation up to VND50 million ($2,100).

Unaware of the insurance benefits and afraid of cumbersome procedures to claim compensation, drivers usually only buy insurance to avoid being fined.

Head of the Insurance Supervisory Authority under the Finance Ministry Phung Ngoc Khanh said that though Vietnam had required motorbike drivers to purchase compulsory insurance for 10 years now, only 30 per cent of the country’s 60 million motorbikes and 90 per cent of the 3 million cars were insured.

Over the past 10 years, compensation has been paid out to about 600,000 traffic accidents with average payments of VND9 million ($385) per case. Of which, over 101,200 cases were related to motorbikes and the average payments were VND5 million ($214).

He said that some regulations regarding insurance certificate forms, period and compensation dossiers were no longer suitable and inconvenient for insurance firms, vehicle owners and drivers.

Khanh said the Finance Ministry would propose changes to regulations to simplify paperwork for motorbike owners and increase the responsibility of companies.

The ministry also planned to inspect insurance companies over the prices of their products, Khanh said, responding to public concern about cheap compulsory motorbike insurance.

It has been reported that since the launch of the traffic safety campaign this month, compulsory insurance certificates are being sold by street vendors or online for only VND20,000–40,000. VNS

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