Q

INSURANCE IN FRANCE: I have heard that the car is insured, rather then the driver. Is that true?

A

The main difference between car insurance in France, and the UK is that in France, you insure the car rather than the driver.

Once your car is insured, anyone who has your permission can drive it. You must always have evidence of insurance on the car.

When you receive your insurance documents they will include a small tear-off to stick to the windscreen, as proof of insurance; you MUST also carry with you the signed certificate of insurance, together with your carte grise, and the certificate from the Control Technique, if required as a result of the age of your car.

Normally your insurer will also provide you with 'un constat amiable d'accident' This is a form to fill in, if you have an accident. It has spaces for written, and sketched details of the accident, as well as insurance details for both parties. The carbon-copied form must be signed by both people involved in the accident, and then
each sent off to their insurers to establish fault. (The same as continental accident forms provided by UK insurers for trips into Europe.)

Just as in the UK, you can choose third party insurance (au tiers) or comprehensive (tous risques) and if you make a claim you will usually have to pay an excess, although you can usually choose to pay more for your policy and have no excess. A no-claims bonus system also exists. Some insurers will allow you to 'import' a UK no-claims bonus, and others won't - it is worth checking when you choose your insurance company. Make sure they specify the number of years' no-claims you have, rather than just stating 'full no-claims bonus' - in France it takes longer to attain a full no-claims bonus, as opposed to just five years in the UK.'

 

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