Taking Your Car to Greece
Your private vehicle can only be exempt from taxes for a period of six months. If you exceed this period, you must either import your vehicle or take it out of Greece. The penalty if you are caught abusing this EC-law differs.
VAT, value added tax
If you buy a new car in Greece, you pay VAT. According to EC regulations the VAT is payable in the country where the vehicle will be used. A vehicle bought elsewhere than in the country where it will be used, is considered new if less than 6 months old, or has been driven less than 6000 km. If you buy a second hand car, which has been driven for more than 6000 km or which is more than six months old, you must pay VAT in the country of purchase. The EC country of your destination cannot claim VAT under any circumstances, on any personal belongings you bring from another EC country, in connection with your move. This also applies to cars.
Don’t forget your travel, health and car insurance documents. A driving licence issued in an EC country is valid throughout the EC. Remember that in most countries, including Greece, the minimum age for driving is 18 and if you are younger than this you will not be allowed to drive, even if you hold a valid driving licence from another country.
Your car insurance policy will automatically provide, at no extra cost, the minimum coverage (third party liability) required by law. This applies in all EC countries. If you have comprehensive insurance at home, check that the cover extends to travelling in other countries. You may also consider vehicle breakdown insurance.
A Green Card is not necessary when travelling in the EC but it serves as an internationally recognized proof of insurance and it makes it easier to claim compensation if you have an accident. If you do not take a Green Card, you should carry your Certificate of Insurance. The Green Card System currently covers 43 countries, Greece being one of them, and is managed by an association of insurers. Your insurer can give you a “European accident statement” form, which is a standard document that makes it easier to make the declaration on the spot if you have an accident in another country. New rules to ensure that motorists get rapid compensation for accidents no matter where they are in the EC have been applied from 20 January 2003. They provide for improved information, easier procedures and quicker settlement of claims, with fines being charged on late payments. The legislation will apply not only to accidents that happen in the EC, but also when there is an accident between two EC parties in a country outside the EC, which belongs to the Green Card System.
You are entitled to insure your car in any EC country at any authorised insurance company. The obligatory part of your insurance, the compensation and collision insurance is valid in any EC country, no matter where accidents might happen. Under no circumstances can the insurance company claim a higher price for this basic part of the insurance policy in order for it to cover other EC countries. If, on the other hand, you want to increase your insurance, the insurer can claim a higher price for that extra part in order for it to cover other EC countries.
If you are involved in an accident not caused by you, you shall receive compensation according to the rules of the country where the accident occurred if that benefits you, but if the sum is higher in your home country, then the rules of your home country are the ones valid. This rule might vary within the EC countries, in Greece you are under any circumstances entitled to get at least 500 000 Euro for personal injury, and 100 000 Euro for material damage. If you are involved in an accident caused by someone who has no vehicle insurance or cannot be found, you have, according to EC regulations, the right to get compensation from the guarantee funds in the country where the accident happens, the amount being limited according to the rules of that country.