June 25, 2023

Does My Car Insurance Cover Driving in France?

All standard UK car insurance provides minimum coverage (third-party liability) in France. However, comprehensive cover may vary, so always check with your insurer to see if you will be fully comp.

Does my car insurance cover driving in France x

Insurance Cover while in France

Driving in down country lanes and through glorious countryside in France and stopping for lunch in a riverside café is a wonderful experience. It can create memories to last a lifetime, but before embarking on a road trip, you must certain your car is insured to be there.

If you want to read some of my memories, see Hidden Gems in Northern France.

UK drivers visiting France should double check their cover before leaving and see if not only are you covered on at least a third-party basis but if it also covers you for European Breakdowns.

The Basics of your UK Car Insurance Policy

In the UK it’s mandatory to have at least 3rd party insurance, it covers any damages and injury to other people or their belongings if any collision is your fault. It doesn’t cover repair damage to you or your car only the other persons.

You can opt for slightly better cover of “3rd party, fire and theft” so it’s as above plus if your car suffers fire damage or gets stolen you are covered.

Then theirs “fully comprehensive” which covers as above, plus protects you for damage to your vehicle, even if you’re to blame for the accident. Normally you’ll also be covered for personal injury, windscreen cover, personal belongings, some but not all give breakdown cover and a replacement car if needed and help with legal expenses.

The specific terms of a fully comprehensive policy will can vary greatly from company to company so you MUST read the policy document carefully.

I know that no one does that until it’s too late, but you should read it.

Does UK car insurance cover driving in France?

As I said above all policies are not the same so you should check yours or phone your insurance company to double check.

Don’t take what I’m about to say as gospel but in very general terms I’d say this...

Fully Comp in the UK

If you have Fully Comp insurance then you will certainly have some cover in Europe, at best fully comp like when you’re at home or maybe it drops to only 3rd party, so not the best but at least legal to drive.

It maybe that you lose some of the fully comp benefits like the breakdown cover or the courtesy car. If that’s the case, you should really consider taking out a specialist European Breakdown Cover which you can do just for the length of your trip.

The cheapest option is “Single Trip Cover” which you can buy for cover of just a few days or to cover the typical holiday of up to a max of 30 days.

3rd Party in the UK

This should stay the same when you’re abroad. This means you will be road legal in France but don’t ever think of taking an uninsured car abroad as you’d be in huge trouble if you got in an accident.

They would almost certainly confiscate the vehicle and it would take some time and a lot of money to get it back.

Cross-Border Insurance Coverage

I’ve never applied for a green card, or an international certificate of insurance issued as according to the UK Gov website even after Brexit, we still don’t need them in all the old EU countries plus, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland.

However, if you’re taking a caravan or trailer it might be a good idea to contact your insurer to see about getting one. Insurance for anything your towing isn’t so straight forward.

Again, it is certainly worthwhile checking with your individual insurance company before travelling.

FAQ’S

Popular questions answered here.

What car insurance do I need to drive to France?

Minimum 3rd party is required by law (as in the UK) and although it isn’t mandatory, I’d strongly advise getting some European Breakdown Cover for your trip.

You must be 18 with a full UK driving license (No learners allowed)

You must carry with you the vehicle registration document (V5C), and your motor insurance certificate.

Your car must display a “UK” sticker on the back of the car (and anything you are towing) or a UK sticker on the number plate. See UK stickers in more detail here.

You also must have one warning triangle and a high vis safety vest for each person in the car.

If you wear glasses, you should also carry a spare pair in the car. For full details on all the legal requirements see our “Checklist Page”.

Low Emissions Sticker: Depending on where you are driving there are 37 cities and zones that require every vehicle (even UK ones) to display an emission sticker, known as a Crit'Air vignette.

What do I do If I’m in an accident?

For full details read our Accident and Breakdown page.

Do I need to tell my car insurance I'm driving abroad?

You don’t have to, but I certainly would so you can see exactly what cover you’ll have.

Do I need travel insurance when driving to France?

This isn’t compulsory but I always have it. It doesn’t cost much and could save you thousands of pounds in medical and legal fees.

Summary: Does My Car Insurance Cover Driving in France?

If you have UK car insurance, then it will cover you for France. If your car isn’t UK road legal then it won’t be in France either.

Double check everything with your insurance company before travelling.

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