Motor insurance

4 April 2022

In general terms, motor insurance in France/Monaco is very similar to what you may find in United Kingdom (and presumably most other countries).

Minimum insurance required by law is third party liability, in other words, to cover damages, whether bodily or material, to a third party, i.e. not the driver, not the policyholder, nor his family. This includes legal defence and recovery, i.e. costs incurred to recover a claim or legally protect your interests.

To this, you may add damages to the vehicle such as breakage of windows, damages to the vehicle following an accident, theft, fire, breakdown assistance, coverage on the driver. Further options are available such as natural events, accessories (non-factory fitted) and contents, but subject to strict conditions.

Nevertheless, there are very specific conditions applicable :

  1. The policy is actually attached to the car, meaning that no driver (with a regular valid driving licence) may be excluded from a policy. There may be an excess applicable if the car is driven by a young bachelor and/or someone with a licence obtained less than 3 years ago.
  2. Family members are considered as third party and therefore covered for their bodily injuries. The only person remaining uninsured is the driver, hence why specific cover for him is highly recommended.
  3. Natural catastrophes are covered (except for the Principality of Monaco), if a damage option is taken and only if a French Governmental Decree is published.

One may wonder why premiums may seem more expensive than UK and go up every year?

When one is used to premium levels applicable in UK, it may seem that French motor insurance premiums are higher. In fact, they may be, although the difference has narrowed over the years, and in some cases may even be lower. But one needs to compare like for like, which is extremely difficult as the two insurance systems are completely different. To start with, in UK one takes insurance for the car they will drive and any other drivers must be stated. In France, as motor insurance is compulsory, cover is attached to the car as Insurers may NOT exclude any drivers. They may only apply a restriction on third party liability such as an excess for young drivers or divers with a bad claim record. Thus anyone can drive a car, and be insured, as long as the person remains an occasional driver. All passengers in a car, apart from the policyholder, are considered as third party, even family members. Tax levels are also higher, 35% for example on liability coverage. These are only a couple of reasons.

Premiums go up each year depending on motor insurance technical results (premiums to claims), but also take into account costs of repairs amongst other factors: i.e. 25% increase on spare parts, repairs 21%, labour 16%, paint 15% between 2017 and 2021 (source SRA)