Car insurance entry 'level' - Versicherungsstufe - in Austria


This is my 7th day in Austria and planning on being here for 3 years. I have been researching the costs of buying a car and one of the major influencing factors seem to be the insurance level.
Can anybody tell me what level a new driver in this country gets placed in as far as the insurance level goes (Versicherungsstufe)?  It seems to range from 0 to 9.
I currrently hold a US drivers license which I have had for 8 years now.
Is there any way to minimize this cost?

Yeah, it starts from level 9, but my friend said he got his to zero by supplying the insurance co with a letter from his "American" insurance company stating that he has had car insurance with them for "X" amount of years.  I think 1 year per level..could be wrong. 

Word of advice..The MORE horsepower the car is the more expensive your insurance will be.  ie. 200 HP car will run you about 185 euros per mo..give or take whereas say a volkswagon beetle (old one) with 35 HP would be about 45 euros per mo.  Might be more or less..I can't remember, but it is around that amount. 

After 6 months of living here, you HAVE to get an Austrian license or they crap on you for it.  I didn't change mine for like a year and a half..the police were giving me odd looks..

Don't even think about importing a car either.  They have this EXTRA tax called NOVA which is stupid, but will not make it worth it, BUT, you can bring ONE car from America over..I've done the's only worth it if you buy a car worth 100k or more..if youw ant to go all out...get a porche  or hummer..Yes, Porche IS cheaper in the states..nearly 50% cheaper in some cases.

I've owned 2 cars since I have been in I had to learn this stuff the hard way...well, at least I can shop for a car in German..haha!


Not strictly true - I love this topic so will write a lot ...

You can bring a foreign car to Austria and not get too many foul looks and even if you do, what can the lazy Austrian policeman do?

Fact is, Austria is landlocked and you see hundreds of Slovakian, Hungarian, German, Swiss and Italian cars driving around in Austria all the time.

FACT: Driving a car in Austria is expensive and the only cheap part about it is the fuel (when you compare the price of unleaded and diesel fuel here with the rest of the EU).

I would suggest getting a foreign car, or get a friend with an address in another EU country and just drive the car around here legally making sure you have all the documentation with you at all times. Austrian police tend to stop foreign cars randomly and if you tell them you are on your way to one of the neighbouring countries they will generally leave you alone. I don't know of anyone who had their car impounded because it is foreign, in these days of the EU they would find it very hard to do so.

As for the 6 month rule, read this: … 40000.html

If the owner of the car lives in another country then it is perfectly legal to drive the car in Austria as long as you want. For example, if your father owns a car in the UK, and you are included on his insurance then this is perfectly legal according to the description given on that page.

Honestly, I have a foreign car here in Austria. I have been stopped by the police several times just to check I have the correct paperwork. When Hungary joined "Schengen" the Austrian police were crazy about checking paperwork but for the last 18 months this has returned to normal. Everytime I have been stopped I simply show them the paperwork, they might ask me what I am doing here and if so I just tell them "I am travelling to..." this has worked over and over again and the car has been in Austria for almost 5 years with foreign paperwork.

Only negative point is that Austrians do not like to give you a parking permit if you have a car on foreign plates, so if you live in Vienna then this could be a problem getting one. Live on the outskirts with access to a garage then life is nice and easy. The problem with driving in Austria is that it is so darn expensive, particularly insurance costs and initial purchase price which are 30-40% higher than a lot of other EU countries.

Interesting and I see your point, but what do you do when you hand the police your "Austrian" drivers license and tell them that you are actually driving to another country?  I don' think they will buy it.  Your visa will say austria too!  I don't carry my passport unless I leave the country..never actually, so the only real identification I have is the zulassungschein (insurance paperwork), führerschein and visum.

I am new in Vienna and i plan to buy a car; so what is your recommendations for me in order to have minimum insurance wages.

We are Irish-Americans moving to Austria in January and plan to buy a car.  Regrettably, I don't speak German.  Any advice or wisdom for buying a used car?  I'm not opposed to buying one in Germany if it's cheaper.  I have a friend there.  Buying a car in Ireland would be easier but those knuckleheads drive on the wrong side of the road...  : )

there's plenty of cheap used cars to buy in Austria. Something like a VW GOLF is reliable and you can find them everywhere. If you dont need to go fast stay around 90hp and it'll be cheap. and diesel will get you more bang for your buck!

Thank you.  We have simple needs and don't need to go fast.  And, we'll target a diesel motor.
I've read that you should be prepared to pay cash and have your auto insurance arranged in advance.  But, then there is the paperwork and other procedures.  We don't speak German.  I've read about buying license plates (as the seller keep them for their next car) and I've heard Austrian's will only speak German when you go to the government to register or license the car.
Any guidance / advice once we find the car?

The insurance broker will give you the license plate, so will be need to be sure on the car you are buying before hand. It is also worth know that you need two sets of tyres, Winter and the normal tyres.

It is luck of the game when it comes down to speaking Engiish, some do and some don't. Do you have any friends here that do speak German that can go with you if you are unlucky to have someone that does not speak English?

My personal expearience is that Ive always been lucky to have someone that speaks English.

I hope that this might be of some help-


Thanks Simon.
Good to know the insurance company issues plates and not the government.  That seems easier. I've had good luck finding people at companies who speak English.
And, I can always narrow my search to cars with English speaking owners.
After I buy the car, pay the owner, get insurance - then what?  Don't I need to register it with Tirol or Austria?  How do I do that?

Find a car that you want, you can sometimes get a blue licence plate, which means you can drive the car to the insurance broker and do the paperwork there as it will be the first car you're insuring.

The insurance broker will be able to tell you more.

We will be living near Innsbruck in Zillertal.  Any recommendations for an insurance broker / company?

KevBud wrote:

We will be living near Innsbruck in Zillertal.  Any recommendations for an insurance broker / company?


Those are the 2 main ones. More info can be found here, the national breakdown company -

Hi Steve,

i was quite impressed by your post. can you please suggest me how can i buy cheap car from germany and use it in austria. i am planning to buy nissan x trail.

MB11 wrote:

Hi Steve,

i was quite impressed by your post. can you please suggest me how can i buy cheap car from germany and use it in austria. i am planning to buy nissan x trail.

I'm aware this thread is already 3 months old - but just a general piece of advice from an Austrian for anyone planning to drive on foreign plates here in Austria. There are "friendly" neighbours who like to inform the police about foreign-plated cars they regularly see in the neighbourhood... So, while you won't have much trouble being pulled over by the police (as long as you have your paperwork), as you can always say "I'm just driving through Austria", they might wait for you one day right at your front door... (I'm not making this up... I know of several cases where university colleagues from Germany or Italy had that problem!)

And as has been said before, in the cities you'll need a private garage, as you won't get a parking permit with foreign plates (in Innsbruck, for example, you only get a parking permit for the streets around your block... everywhere else in the city, you can only park for 90 - 180 minutes, depending  on the "Zone", and you pay €1.40 per hour.