Car Insurance in France

Car insurance in France is compulsory. This is to the extent that one must insure his/her cars in France to at least third party liability insurance policy. This is notwithstanding that such cars may not be in use except where all the four wheels are removed. Hence, the failure to insure one’s car in France attracts a fine of up to €3,750.

In France car insurance, it is the Car that enjoys insurance coverage and not the driver. This means that other drivers with valid license can driver your car subject to the terms of the policy. In other words, when the terms of the insurance policies permit. For the fact that car insurance in France applies to the car, every car in France needs to enjoy a separate insurance. France has the second-largest car insurance market in Europe behind the UK with about 90 insurance companies providing car insurance services in the country. The Autorite de Controle Prudential et de Resolution (ACPR) an arm of the Banque de France, regulates the French insurance market.

Similarly, Non-residents in France can drive foreign cars with insurance coverage from their home country, as long as the policies meet the France car insurance minimum requirements. Additionally, you need a Green Card that shows that you have adequate insurance coverage for your car.

On the other hand, France Residents will need to buy car insurance in the country and make sure that such car has a French number plate. And her Citizens from EU countries may continue to use insurance policies from their home countries.

Types of car insurance in France

There exist three major types of car insurance in France and they include;

  1. Third-party,
  2. Third-party fire and theft, and
  3. Fully comprehensive car insurance policies.

Third-party liability (tiers collision or responsabilite civile)

This is the minimum amount of insurance that you need under France insurance law. This policy serves to insure against damage and injury to all third parties in incidents when it is your fault. Furthermore, your personal costs arising from such accidents cannot be covered this type of policy. Be it, for example, the cost of fixing any damage to your car, medical bills, loss of employment and others. This types of insurance policy is advisable if you drive occasionally and an inexpensive car.

Third-party, fire, and theft

This is the type of policy that serves to provide protection in the event of fire damage, windshield damage as a result of collision with animals or debris, theft, vandalism and so on. It is also referred to as third-party plus. This is because it provides the standard third party liability coverage as well as provides coverage for the costs of repairs of your own car caused by accidental damage, natural disasters, or attacks.

Fully Comprehensive (tous risques)

As the name implies, this class of policy provides insurance coverage for all risks including damage to your car arising from an accident of your fault. This policy is also known as the ‘all-risk’ policy. This is because it covers all risks. This policy is ideal for car owners who drive a quite new or expensive car, or persons who are frequent drivers.

However, notwithstanding that this policy is comprehensive in coverage it however sometimes comes with some exclusions as may be contained in the policy document. Therefore, it is always advisable that you read carefully the terms of the insurance policy before signing them. These exclusions are most often connected to issues of intentional damage or damages arising from illegal packing etc.

Other types of car insurance in France

There are a number of additional types of car insurance in France which you can buy for your car. This is not minding that the Comprehensive policies usually include them but it is advisable to crosscheck and be sure of what is covered and what is not. Some of these additional types are;

  1. Medical insurance: This is the type that covers the costs of medical bills arising from auto accidents or damages. It also provides coverage in the events of disabilities or deaths.
  1. Legal insurance: This provides coverage for legal liabilities. It therefore covers the costs of legal representation and/or advice relating to any incidents as well as payments for compensations awarded by the courts.
  2. Roadside breakdown assistance: This involves coverage for the cost of towing your cars when they breakdown on the road or roadside repairs I the event of roadside breakdown.
  3.  Equipment insurance: this is the additional type of car insurance in France that provides coverage with respect to the costs of any equipment and possessions lost as a result of accident or damage of an insured car in the car up to a certain amount.

costs of car insurance in France

Car insurance costs in France depend on the insurance company involved as well as other factors such as:

  1. The market value of the car.
  2. The use for which the car is put into.
  3. How often you drive the car. To this end, many companies offer per-km or ‘pay as you drive’ packages in their insurance policies.
  4. The type of coverage you buy. The cost of fully comprehensive package is definitely higher than that of third party policy.
  5. The age and experience of the driver of the insured car.
  6. The accident history, claims history or profile of the driver.
  7. Location equally affects the amount of premiums payable per car insurance in France as premiums vary across different French regions.

Car insurance bonuses and penalties in France

Just like other jurisdictions, France operates the no-claims bonus system. In France, No-claims deductions accrue at the rate of 5% a year. Furthermore, it takes 13 years of driving at no-fault to access a full 50% no-claims bonus.

As a result of this, some drivers in France elect to pay for damage they cause out of their own pockets to avoid increased premiums. However, this decisions may often times be counter-productive as it amounts to a waiver of your right to make an insurance claim later if the costs of repair is more than you had envisaged.

Notwithstanding, some insurance companies will allow you to make a transfer of your no-claims bonuses from another insurer with proof. However, some companies are less likely to permit you to transfer no-claims bonuses from an overseas insurer while some will subject to your agreement with them.

Although you can reduce costs of car insurance in France no claims bonuses, that is, through periods without filing claims, some insurance companies will increase premiums if you are considered a high-risk driver.

High risk drivers are those who have been involved in an incident of their own fault; young drivers, inexperienced drivers etc.

Car insurance companies in France

In France, they are about 90 car insurance companies. Some of these insurance companies include:  Allianz Auto, AXA, Clements, Credit Mutuel, Groupama – Auto, MAAF, MACIF, Matmut, etc.

In the event you want to compare car insurance policies, you can use comparison websites such as Assurland and Le Comparateur Assurance.

How to choose car insurance in France

Choosing a car insurance company in France may not be rosy. However, you must endeavour to move around and shop for an insurer that is suited to your insurance needs. Below are some of the factors to consider when shopping for a car insurance company in France.

  1. The level of Policy coverage. This entails what is covered and what isn’t covered by the policy. Endeavour to look out for exclusions and as well as read the terms & conditions. Also find out the cost of adding on anything you need but is not covered by the policy.
  2. Excess options – find out how much is the excess. And also how much can you reduce your premiums by voluntarily increasing your excess.
  1. No-claims bonus – find out if there is provision for a no claims bonus and whether you can transfer a bonus you have earned elsewhere.
  2. Claims process – find out how difficult it maybe to make a claim from your insurer and the claims processes.
  3. The Company’s reputation – find out the opinions of other customers about the reputation of the insurer.

Applying for car insurance in France

The application for car insurance in France varies from one insurance company to another. Each insurance company has its own applications process. It is therefore imperative to find out the application process of the company you intend to buy its policy and the requirements.

Generally, you will usually need to provide the following for applying for a car insurance in France:

  1. France Car registration certificate;
  1. Valid French driving license;
  2. Driver history report;
  3. Personal details of the policyholder, such as age and address.

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