I have a Bulgarian-registered car and a full casco insurance (including burglary and theft) with it. I wanted to go to Macedonia in August but my insurers, the DZI, told me that they wouldn't cover the burglary and theft risks in Macedonia.

In fact, it says on the contract, that they won't cover these risks in Serbia, Montenegro, and “outside Europe”, including I suppose Turkey, the largest part of which is in Asia.

I was quite surprised, to say the least, because I have already travelled extensively both in eastern Turkey and throughout the Balkans and I find driving conditions there a lot better than in Bulgaria. I did so in a German-registered car and on German insurance.

I have asked around and I have discovered that most car insurers in Bulgaria would not cover Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and the former Soviet Union.

Why is that? Is there any rational reason why Bulgarian insurers won't cover these countries or is it just some leftover from the past when cars, especially better cars, were routinely robbed in Bulgaria and, by extension, throughout the Balkans?

Also, what steps should I take if I want to drive on a DZI full casco insurance in Macedonia and be covered against theft and burglary? Is there any state regulation about the issue or is it up to the individual insurer to decide which cars to insure?

P. B., Sofia

VAGABOND: The DZI, or State Insurance Institute, refused to reply to your letter despite a dozen calls, citing the absence of a person authorised to make such statements.

It is true most insurers do not provide cover against burglary and/or theft in some or all the countries (the former Yugoslav and Soviet republics and Albania) you mention: the risk is “too high”, some of them said. It was unclear what they meant by that or how they calculated the “too high” risk.

There are companies, however, that do – Bulstrad, for instance. Individual insurers are free to decide on their policies, hence it's important to read all the small print.




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