All motor vehicles in France must be insured; this includes even if your car or other vehicle is not in use – unless all wheels are removed.
Car insurance policies in France
There are two types of policy:
Tiers Collison – Third party, fire and theft
Tous Risques – Comprehensive
When you drive you must carry your insurance certificate (attestation d’assurance) which you will receive from the insurance company.
You also need to carry your registration details (le certificat d’immatriculation) as well as various other items (see driving in France for more information). With your insurance policy you will be sent a certificat d’assurance which you need to fix to your vehicle windscreen so it is clearly visible.
This is valid whether you have French car insurance or foreign car insurance when driving in France.
Insurers recommend that you don’t leave these important legal documents in your car – if it is stolen the thief has them to hand and you may have difficulties dealing with an insurance claim. Take copies and leave them somewhere safe at home as a precaution.
French insurance companies will provide you with a standard form to complete in the event of an accident. This has space for a written description of the accident, drawing, insurance details and signature of any parties involved and is used to establish liability. (Click here for more information on accidents and breakdowns in France).
French insurance companies do have a no-claims bonus system but it takes several years to build up so it is not uncommon in France for accidents to be covered directly by the parties involved. Insurers always advise you not to accept an offer of direct payment since costs may be more in the long run than you have accepted.