Obligatory Insurance Cover in France

29 July, 2022

As in the UK, motor insurance is mandatory, but France goes further also including a requirement for insurance when the vehicle is not being used or is parked ‘off road’.

Home insurance can be compulsory & there are certain other insurances that are obligatory in particular circumstances too. There are in fact around 120 different types of obligatory contracts, falling into 5 main groups:

  1. Transport
  2. Habitat
  3. Sporting & Leisure activities
  4. Health (eg a practicing medical professional, crèche, bio-medical research…)
  5. Exercising a certified profession (brokers, bankers, accountants, travel agents…)

The principle is that all citizens have a duty to make good any physical or material damage caused to a third party whether in everyday life or when driving a motor vehicle. This is called Civil Responsibility Insurance (assurance de responsabilité civile) or RC for short. If you are not insured you will have to pay the victims from your own pocket and may be legally subject to hefty fines. The main ones for French living are as follows:

Motor insurance The minimum insurance must cover the damage that the driver may cause to 3rd parties. This is known as “garantie au tiers”. The next level up is 3rd party, fire and theft (tiers +, tiers complet), and finally comprehensive (tous risques).

Home Insurance A home insurance policy is not compulsory for home owners, but you are legally responsible for any damage caused to others or their property, if for example tiles fall off your roof and injure somebody and so it’s a good idea to have an “RC” policy, in fact it’s strongly advised!! It is however compulsory for tenants to insure their lodgings against “risques locatifs” (rental risks) which include fire, explosion and water damage. Owners of shared accommodation (co-propriétaires) are also obliged to purchase an “RC” policy to cover possible harm caused to 3rd parties by the premises.

Other obligatory insurances can be required to cover:

 dangerous dogs  school life  certified child minders  hunting

Be aware that policies automatically renew, but the law changed a couple of years ago so that now you can cancel the policy any time after the first year of cover is complete. Should you wish to swap insurers just contact us, you can sign a mandate giving us authorisation to contact your old insurer and a swap can take effect with 30 days’ notice.