French Insurance Checklist: Are You Covered?

 

Essential Reading

French Insurance Checklist: Are You Covered?

Whether buying French property or moving to France, you will inevitably need to take out insurance, but ensuring you get the right coverage, meet legal requirements, and have all the necessary insurance policies in place isn’t always easy—especially in a different country and foreign language!

Prepare and protect yourself by organising your French insurance policies in advance and make sure you understand exactly what your policy covers. Our handy French insurance checklist is a good place to start.

Which Insurance Policies Do You Need in France?

Certain insurance policies are required by law in France – follow our checklist to ensure you are covered for the essentials, then consider whether or not you would benefit from additional insurance policies too.

You own a property in France:

Mandatory Insurances

  • Home Insurance: a minimum of Civil Liability Insurance (responsabilitée civile propriétaire) is required for all homeowners.
  • Mortgage Loan Insurance: If you’re taking out a French mortgage, expect to be required to take out a life insurance policy to cover the outstanding debt in the event of your death.

Optional insurances:

  • Multi-risk home and contents insurance: a comprehensive home insurance policy that covers repairs, rebuilding, and contents is highly recommended.
  • If you are a second-home owner with a property that is empty for long periods of time, or plan to rent out your holiday home or run a gîte, it’s recommended to secure a holiday home insurance policy that meets these needs.

If you have moved to or retired in France:

Mandatory Insurances

  • Home Insurance: a minimum of Civil Liability Insurance (responsabilitée civile propriétaire) is required for all homeowners.
  • Health Insurance mutuelle: a top-up health insurance policy or mutuelle is required by all French residents. This may be provided by your employer, but if you are self-employed or retired, you will need to take out your own policy.
  • Car Insurance: If you own a car, motorcycle, trailer, caravan, or other vehicle, even if it’s not in use, it must be legally insured to drive.
  • School Insurance: all children attending public schools in France must have school insurance.
  • Sports Insurance: some activities may require specific insurance. Sometimes this is provided via a licence with the applicable association, other times this can be added to your home insurance policy.

Optional insurances:

  • Multi-risk home and contents insurance: a comprehensive home insurance policy that covers repairs, rebuilding, and contents is highly recommended and many landlords will request this.
  • Life Insurance: an Assurance décès will cover your loved ones in the event of your death due to accident or illness.
  • Travel insurance: be sure to apply for your EHIC/CEAM (European Health Insurance Card) to benefit from reciprocal essential healthcare when travelling in the EU and European Economic Zone.
  • Pet insurance: pet owners might want to consider protecting their pets against high vet’s fees.

Taking Out French Insurance: Questions to Ask

When taking out an insurance policy, it’s important to be sure you understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. Before taking out a new insurance policy, use our checklist to help you find the right insurance for you.

  1. Read our article Which French Insurer to find out more about your options for taking out insurance in France.
  2. Check with your French bank or existing insurers if they offer the insurance you need – often existing clients can negotiate favourable rates on multiple policies.
  3. Use comparison sites such as Empruntis or Le Lynx to compare premiums from different insurers.
  4. Find out what the annual premium is for your insurance, the excess amount, and any other fees or charges.
  5. Ask for full details of the policy and check carefully what is included – most importantly, be sure to ask what isn’t. Check our list of essential French insurance vocabulary to help.
  6. If in doubt, use one of our recommended international insurance providers or French-English translators to help.
  7. Enquire about the claims process – is it handled by staff at your local branch or via a call centre? Do any staff members speak English?

Making an Insurance Claim in France

Whether you’ve been in a car accident or discovered damage to your property, following the correct claims procedure will ensure your claim is dealt with promptly and successfully.

  • Make sure you understand your insurer’s claims procedure at the time of taking out your policy – this is the last thing you need to be worrying about in an emergency or stressful situation.
  • If you have discovered a theft, inform the police at the earliest opportunity. If possible, leave the scene of the crime (including signs of forced entry, etc) untouched until the police arrive. It’s also a good idea to take photos.
  • If you’ve been in a car accident, fill in the accident claim form (constat amiable d’accident at the scene of the accident. Taking photographs as evidence may also be a smart idea.
  • Make your claim via phone, recorded post, or in person with your insurance company – within two days for a theft, five days for property damage, or ten days for a declared natural disaster.
  • Provide evidence of the theft or damage including photos, a police report, or the car accident report.
  • Provide a detailed list of all items that have been stolen or damaged, including their approximate values and proof of ownership if possible.

Ready to Get Insured In France?

Whether you need homeowners insurance, car insurance, or want advice on how best to protect your French assets, FrenchEntrée is here to help! Read the rest of our Essential Reading Articles, then get in touch with our trusted insurance providers for a quote or advice on your French insurance needs.

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