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Insurance Explained

As soon as you become the owner of a motorhome or campervan in Europe, you must insure it so that any damage, loss or liability is fully covered.

You are free to use any insurer you wish but we have a great working relationship with AXA, Europe’s largest insurer via a local agent. The agent fully understands our business and in fact, they handle the insurance of every vehicle we have registered through our overseas buyer scheme.  Due to the volume of business we refer to AXA via our local agent, we also enjoy greatly reduced rates so we can give you access to the best value cover available.

In order to take out insurance, the agent must provide a quote and for this, they require full details of the vehicle (make, model, age, value etc.) a copy of the driving licences and passports of the owner(s) as well as any evidence of any insurance you hold (or have held until very recently) on any other vehicle elsewhere.

As a guideline a ‘fully comprehensive’ policy for a driver aged between 40 and 80 with a clean driving record, based on a vehicle value of €30000 to €50000, the annual premium will be between €700 and €850 per year.

Insurance can be arranged on several levels*

Fully Comprehensive (called “Toutes Risques” in France):

  • This covers the vehicle against all eventualities including damage, fire or theft, regardless of who is responsible. It covers all third party legal liability too.

Third Party, Fire and Theft (called “Tiers, Vol et Incendie” in France):

  • This level covers only any damage you do to other people’s property plus cover for the vehicle in case of fire or theft only. It covers all third party liability but there is no cover if you damage your own vehicle.

In each case, there are limits to the amount the insurance will pay and standard excesses (or deductibles) which you would pay in case of a claim.

The highest likely excess (deductible) is usually around €450 in the event of damage to the vehicle but there is no deductible for third party claims. Where the driver is particularly young, the excess may be increased.

We always advise clients to take the Fully Comprehensive cover because the cost is only a little higher but the cover is much greater. It may seem like an attractive saving when you pay the annual premium but third party only cover could cost you a great deal more in the case of a major claim.

The vehicle must be insured year round and it is not possible to reduce the cover when the vehicle is off the road i.e. in storage – no insurer offers this option in France.

Under French insurance law, a vehicle is covered for ANY licenced drivers, regardless of age. Therefore, if you want to lend the motorhome to a friend or family, provided they are entitled to drive if France and comply with the terms of your insurance (e.g. age restrictions), they are insured too.

However, normal insurance policies specifically forbid “renting” the vehicle to anyone else so it is not possible to charge other users for the use of your vehicle.

Geographical limits*

The insurance allows you to use the vehicle with the same level of cover in all of the following countries:

Austria
Andorra
Albania
Azerbaijan
Belgium
Belaruse
Boznia Hurzogovinia
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
France
Finland
Germany
Great Britain
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Israel
Iran
Italy
Iceland
Luxembourg
Lithuania
Latvia
Macedonia
Malta
Moldovia
Montenegro
Morocco
Norway
Netherlands
Portugal
Poland
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Tunisia
Turkey
Ukraine

For further information about insurance in foreign countries and to see a map of countries which are covered, please visit cobx.org

For cover in any non-listed country, you may need to apply for additional cover and pay an additional premium. Some non-EU countries offer insurance which can be bought at the entry border for a fixed amount but beware – this may only be a very basic legal cover and may not cover damage to your own vehicle.

Roadside Assistance

All French insurance policies are legally required to include a basic level of Roadside Assistance cover.

This is intended to safeguard against the possibilities of your vehicle being stranded on the roadside in a dangerous position and you not being able to afford the towing charges.

The roadside assistance cover pays for towing charges to take you and your vehicle to a recognised repairer or, if possible, to repair the fault at the roadside. The insurance also provides cover to deal with punctures at the roadside or at an appropriate garage close by.

In the case of AXA (the company we recommend most commonly) there is an International helpline which can be called from any country to summon the roadside assistance service.

Mechanical breakdown insurance

All motorhomes or campervans up to two years old are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty which applies in all EU countries. The warranty can be extended for a further two years at additional cost (depending on the age/mileage of the vehicle).

It is also possible to insure a used vehicle against mechanical breakdown (in the event of engine failure for example) through an “after-market” insurance scheme. The cost varies depending on the age of the vehicle but as an example, to insure a three year old vehicle for a major mechanical failure (say up to €6000 per claim) costs approximately €300 per year.

 

*Our notes about the cover on offer are intended as a guide and are based on existing insurance policy documents that have been issued to our clients.  The terms offered by any insurer may change at any time so do confirm the conditions on offer before taking out a new insurance policy or renewing your cover.

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