Insurance in France, for you and your property, is not only recommended it is often compulsory. This page outlines some of the most important insurance issues to consider when you are relocating to France.
If you are renting an apartment or house you are required by law to take out the minimum multi risk insurance policy - assurance multirisque habitation – regardless of the insurance that the landlord may already have on the property.
This policy will generally cover the following:
fire and similar events (e.g. smoke damages)
burglary and vandalism
broken window panes
climatic events (e.g. storm, hail, frost)
acts of terror
third party liability
limited legal assistance
Check in detail exactly what is and what isn’t covered by your policy as different companies policies vary.
Should you have any problems with the house or apartment you are occupying you should contact your insurance company or broker as soon as possible. You should also contact the landlord and any third party (neighbours, the building management ‘syndic’)
For repair work you will generally be required to provide a quote ‘devis’ for the work for approval. It is often worth asking your insurance company to recommend tradesmen as recommended tradesmen’s quotes will more often be accepted without question. For serious damage and problems the company may send an assessor to the property.
If you own a motor vehicle it must be insured for a minimum third party cover, even if it is not being used. Fully comprehensive cover is recommended for expatriates as they are arguably more susceptible to accidents due to the unfamiliarity with the roads and the French highway code. (see Driving in France)
Most motor insurance companies in France also operate a no claims bonus system. You will only be able to take advantage of this if you bring a letter from your previous insurer stating your no current no claims status as well as the policy that you have held prior to arriving in France.
If you are unable to provide these details insurance companies will generally start your policy with no bonus, therefore giving you a higher premium.
It is worth asking about the following when organising your insurance:
Coverage of personal effects
E xtended accident coverage for driver
Low mileage coverage
The Constat Aimiable (accident report sheet)
Your motor insurance company will normally provide you with the 'Constat Aimiable' or accident report sheet, if not you should ask for a couple. The Constat Aimiable is used after an accident where no personal injury is incurred.
Both parties to the accident fill out one side of the constat detailing the accident – you may fill this out in English if you wish – copies are then sent to the respective insurance companies for settlement.
If you are unhappy with the declaration that other parties have made then do not sign it. You may also include a covering letter to further explain the events although normally adequate space is given for minor incidents