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Find out about car insurance in France

There’s a question that comes up time and again when it comes to insurance in France: car insurance for foreign registered vehicles. Fabien Pelissier of FAB French Insurance whose team specialise in helping English speakers in France with all their insurance requirements, explains the process of insuring a non-France registered car…

Car Insurance for foreign registered vehicles

Most people believe that you can’t have a foreign registered car insured in France, but this isn’t true. If you’re planning to move to France and register your foreign car – which is a legal requirement – then this can take time. And while you’re waiting – you will need insurance. So if you’re asking ‘can I register a a UK registered car in France’ – the answer is yes. But there are caveats.

We can insure foreign registered vehicles in the same way as we can for a French registered vehicles with a “standard” policy. This is based upon the assumption that you will register the car or bike in France. Failure to do so may open you up to consequences which can have long term effects in France where there is a central insurer’s database. Do not consider insuring the vehicle in France if the import project isn’t solid or might be reverted.

French car insurance – how no claims bonus works

Foreign insurance history, for instance ‘no claims bonus/’no claims discount’, can be converted into the French equivalent. This is called the CRM or the bonus. The conversion may look weird at first as France doesn’t work like the rest of the world (which may not surprise you).

The maximum discount in France is 13 years (50% bonus or CRM = 0.50). The “CRM” is like your own index. It starts at 1 and each year without a claim it’s multiplied by 0.95. A maximum discount reached when your CRM is at 0.50 (e.g. 13 years without a claim). Every claim deemed to be your fault will multiply your CRM by 1.2. It takes roughly 5 years to write off a claim in France.

Unlike other countries (for instance the UK), it’s not possible to “protect” your discount here. This is why French insurers will need to see your full history (proof of no claim) and not just the “insurer’s discount” or ‘no claims bonus’. They know a 9 years no claims bonus doesn’t mean you’ve been claim free for the past 9 years. That said they also don’t care about anything that happened more than 3 years ago. French insurers only look at the past 3 years of insurance. The upside of this is that you may have a 9 years NCD with claims 5 years ago which won’t be considered when you convert your NCD into a French CRM. French insurers require proof of no claims from the previous three years which can be onerous when you’ve changed insurers each year.

There is no off road status (SORN) in France

Another major difference is that French insurers really hate insurance gaps. The “off road” status doesn’t exist in France. You must be insured even if the vehicle is no longer in driving condition. A gap in your insurance record of more than 3 months is bad for your future premiums – and a gap of more than 6 months is most certainly going to be problematic.

One big difference with French car insurance is that it’s the vehicle that’s insured – not the driver.  You can allow anyone to drive your vehicle in France if you pay for increased excess which is not expensive.

Find out more and get a quote at: FAB French insurance

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