Insurance isn’t really the first thing people think about when they consider moving to France. They think about the wine, the cheese, the fresh baguette and maybe about how French people seem to be able to live almost exclusively off these things and never get fat. Insurance is often one of the last things people think of. Though, like anywhere else in the world, even in France, you’re much better off with insurance than without it.
Anyone who has ever made an insurance claim will probably also attest to the fact that it’s worth taking out a policy. However, in a world where things keep getting expensive, it’s also important to find a way to gain coverage without having to pay exorbitant fees for your premium. In most cases, the longer you have an insurance policy, the cheaper the premium gets, but what happens if you move to a new country? Can you keep the benefits of your insurance history when moving to France? Read on to find out more.
Is it Possible to Convert my Insurance History when Moving to France?
It’s totally possible to convert your insurance history in order to lower your potential premium when you move to France and take out a French insurance policy. There are some things to keep in mind when doing this.
Make Sure You Have The Correct Paperwork.
It will come as a surprise to almost nobody that the French can be a bit pedantic about paperwork. In fact, if there were an Olympics for making administrative tasks more lengthy and complicated than they sometimes need to be, the French would win gold every time. This is no different when it comes to insurance.
French insurance companies can be incredibly picky about the kinds of documentation they will accept. They have even been known to reject documents simply because they aren’t set out exactly the way they want them to be. If you’ve had insurance in other countries, you might be used to agencies doing whatever they can to get you on their books. Although French insurance companies will aim to give the best customer service possible, they won’t make exceptions for anyone when it comes to paperwork.
Can You Pay to Protect Your Insurance Discount In France?
In some countries, you can actually pay a fee to protect the level of discount you receive on your premium. This isn’t something you can do in France, so if you would like to receive a discount and are a foreigner, you will need to provide an insurance company with your insurance history.
The French insurer will need to see a complete list of every claim that you have made in the past with your previous insurance company or companies. If you’ve never made a claim, you will also need to produce evidence of this in the form of an official notice that states that ‘No claims were made.’ Even if your policy states something like ‘7 years claim free’, it’s not enough. In the eyes of a French insurance company, they require official documentation to state that within your insurance history, there has never been a claim.
Paperwork Can Differ from Country to Country.
The kinds of documents an insurance company in France will need from you can be very different depending on where you are moving from. For example, if you’re looking for car insurance and used to live in the US, the insurance company will need a complete driving history record from the state in which you lived. Now there might be other documents that can provide this kind of information, but if it’s not the specific one they asked for, it won’t work. To put it simply, you could provide them with all the information they have asked for, but if it’s not within the specifically titled document they requested, they won’t even look at it.
Look For An Insurance Company That Deals With People Like You.
Not every insurance company in France deals with immigrants and ex-pats on a regular basis. If an insurance company doesn’t have much experience in this, they’re probably not going to be able to tell you exactly what documents they need. This usually means that you will end up spending loads of money getting documents translated into French, only to find out that you only needed a single piece of paper.
What if I Have a Gap in my Insurance History?
If you happen to have gaps in your insurance history, it can play a huge role in the amount of discount you can receive on your premium. It makes sense when you think about it. Insurance policies are basically memberships to a club that will take care of your car or house if something goes wrong. The longer you’re a member of the club without an incident, the cheaper your membership becomes. It’s understandable that there might be periods of your life where you are without an insurance policy. However, these gaps can have an effect on potential discounts from a French insurer.
As a rule of thumb, if you have a gap of more than 3 months, it will limit your options a bit. More than 6 months is considered a ‘discount death sentence.’ It doesn’t mean you won’t get insurance. It will just mean that your premium will be a bit more like it would if you’ve never had insurance in the first place.
How Far Back Does My History Need to Go?
Generally, when a French insurance provider asks for a detailed history, they only need you to go back as far as 3 years. If you happen to have an impeccable insurance history and want to offer more, you definitely can. The maximum discount you can receive for your premium is given to customers who can prove they’ve had 13 continuous years of coverage without a claim. You can also convert your insurance history if you were named as an additional driver in a policy and would like to become the main driver in France.
At the end of the day, insurance premiums are a payment for peace of mind. And believe me, if you have a decent insurance policy, entering the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe feels a little bit less like you’re driving in the first circle of hell.