Print Posted By Lost in France on 19 Oct 2007 in Living in France - Insurance in France

Chasing the best insurance premium

In this article we will try to explain why insurance premiums can vary so much for what we would think the same type of policy.

In the United Kingdom, you can make your choice between three different types of policies, whatever the insurance company. The level of excess will of course impact the premium.

You may find out that premiums also vary according to the service-level offered by the insurance company (when you call the 'hot line', you may talk to a person in India, who won't have the answer to your question at once).
If you want the road assistance cover (green flag or RAC), you need to take out a separate policy at a rather expensive rate.
As the covers are the same for all insurance companies, you can indeed chase the best price.

{loadposition contentad}In France on the contrary, insurance policies change according to the insurance companies, who have devised their policies in such a way that they always add options that their competitors don't have, or use a different presentation. In most cases, you can add the breakdown cover to your car policy, but be careful as there are different levels of quality there too.

If you find a difference in premiums between two insurance companies, you will always find, when you look into the general terms, that there is a cover that is different. This is why, for a specific car and with roughly the same type of cover, you can get a fairly low premium with a company, and a much higher one with another, as covers have different extents and modes of application if the insurance company chooses to add options to the minimum cover defined by law.
To find out the differences, you have to take the general terms of each company in which you are interested, and carefully compare each cover.

Some examples:

General cover: can you make your choice between various covers, do you have to take a package, can you choose (for instance, you may wish not to take the theft cover in France on a right hand driven car ?)
Do you have an excess for fire, theft and damages, or only for damages, or none ?

Glass breakage: your headlights, windscreen, rear and side windows are always covered... But what about rear lights and side mirrors ?

Assistance cover: if the car breaks down you get a rental car, and for how long ? If you have an accident will you get a replacement car for a longer time ? In case of theft, will you get a rental car for 30 days ? Will you get assistance only if your car breaks down more than 50 kms far from your home ?

In case of accident within one year after purchasing a brand-new car, if the car is a total loss, will you get enough compensation to buy the same new car, or only a second-hand one ?

Theft cover: if you leave your keys in the car because you only need 10 secs to get to the news agency, and someone steals your car in the meantime, will you get 50 % compensation, or none at all ?
Fire cover: if electrical wires melt due to a short circuit, and the car doesn't take fire, are you covered, for how much and up to which age of the car ?

We can make a very long list of questions you should look into, and you will end up feeling sick and wanting to get rid of the file !

If you take out your policy today, and take it really cheap, feeling you've made a good bargain... and later you have to make a claim, you may realize the claim is not covered, or only partly, and you get monkey money for it. It will be too late, and you'll be angry to have paid such a good price to start with.

Our advice would be: don't chase prices in France, you'll get for what you pay, don't create more problems than the stress you'll have anyway in case of claim.
Make sure you understand exactly what you are insured for. Trust, if ill placed, can cost you a lot !

About the author

The author Philippe Schreinemachers is the owner of Philippe Schreinemachers SARL who specialise in providing a range of French insurance policies in English.
For more information please visit their website at or contact them using the following links: Tel: +33 (0)5 62 09 79 or Email: [email protected]

© Philippe Schreinemachers


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