One consequence of the coronavirus pandemic might be that more of us are attracted to using the car to go on holiday, rather than by flying, or taking a train or a coach. This may mean that more of us might be driving longer distances than we are used to. With that in mind, here are some reminders.
Now that 'lockdown' is over and summer is starting, here's a reminder about camping rules and regulations and some advice about your insurance. We look at le camping sauvage, bivouacking and where you can park your motorhome or campervan.
The 'staycation' may be in favour this year, so it counts to be prepared.
A reform of the reimbursement system for health insurance in France is under way. The evolving scheme was first announced back in June 2018 and is planned for completion by 2021. Plans currently under way aim to reduce the real cost you might have to pay opticians, dentists and audiologists by introducing a full reimbursement scheme by 2021. This will apply only if you hold a 'top-up' (complémentaire or mutuelle) health insurance policy.
Prevencia will be here for you if you need to claim on your home insurance because of flooding. But it's wise to be prepared and know in advance what you should do if you are faced with the phenomenon of flash-floods. Here are some timely reminders that we hope you won't need to call upon.
Your security comes first!
Inside your property:
The pleasure of using your own swimming pool is always greater if you are safe in the knowledge that you have done your best to reduce all possible risks. Swimming pools pose inherent risks (and 5cm of water is all it takes for the worst to happen in tragic circumstances), but it is possible to plan to limit these risks as far as possible. Now that the swimming season is back again (most of the time), the following timely reminders may be appropriate.
From January 1st 2019, the sale, use and storage of chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides for use in your garden will be prohibited. This follows restrictions already in place (since the beginning of 2017) for this category of product in public gardens, but leaves their broader use in agriculture and farming unchanged - for the moment.
The contrôle technique (CT) that all cars in France are subject to becomes stricter from January 2019. This is in pursuit of reducing pollution and fine particulate emissions. All vehicles less than or equal to 3.5 tonnes in weight will be subject to these stricter emission measures, diesel vehicles being pinched more than petrol engine ones.
Tinted car windows (vitres teintées) are becoming more and more popular - both as an after-sales option and as a manufacturer's option for new vehicles. What we see in the movies, we now see on our roads and streets. This growing popularity can be explained by four reasons:
Towns and cities across Europe are battling with air pollution, a threat to public health caused by the vehicles we drive and the particulates, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide that they emit. Various countries across mainland Europe have adopted a system for restricting circulation and access of the most polluting vehicles (or favouring circulation and access to those vehicles that pollute less).
By now you will have picked up on the fact that a small but significant change has been made to the speed limits that most probably apply to roads near you. From 1st July 2018 the old speed limit of 90 km/h (56 mph) on certain roads has been reduced to 80 km/h (50 mph).
Following new rules brought in by the French government which have streamlined the process of privately selling a car in France - and which come into effect in November 2017 - we have updated the page on our website about these detailed requirements. This now contains more detail, is up-to-date and provides links to all the resources you need to sell or buy a vehicle privately.
Here's a seasonal reminder about the regulations concerning the towing of caravans and trailers, and the use of roof boxes. It's holiday time, so master the small print before you hit the road! Most of these details are covered by French law, but some are mentioned specifically in your auto insurance policy the details of which, as ever, we encourage you to check from time to time (and most certainly at each renewal).
It's time to sharpen up on French speed limits - and the possible penalties. Last year's roll-out of thousands of dummy speed cameras, the resurgence of increasing road fatalities, and the arrival of the summer's dash to the beach should prompt us to recall the risks and our obligations.
Because you can't insure against all eventualities, you can at least tool up with some modern technology to help you face unexpected crises. Install the Red Cross First Aid app on your mobile - in either French or in English - and have access to first-rate first aid advice!
Residents of France know that they can call for help by dialling 18 for les sapeurs-pompiers, 15 for le Samu (service d'aide médicale urgente) and 17 for the police. The pompiers are called for help with fires, road accidents, and emergencies, including medical ones.
With summer upon us and the season of storms being here again, it’s worth doing two things: (A) checking your insurance policy’s details for cover for storm damage (not all policies are the same) and (B) keeping in mind the things that you can do to be prepared.
On-board video cameras or dashcams (caméras embarquées pour voitures) are increasingly popular. You see them a lot in England. YouTube is awash with lurid footage taken by them in Russia, a country where it's probably wise to use them. They are not often seen in France, but this may change. After all, when did you last visit a car accessory shop that didn't sell dashcams?
If you are in business as an auto-entrepreneur, then from January 2016 you are required to have professional insurance. Each time you issue a quote (devis) or a bill (facture) you will need to mention your policy’s reference number.
This form of insurance comes in many guises, but can include:
Each year the Ministry of the Interior renews its Opération Tranquillité Vacances and this year is no exception. As a householder, you are invited to inform your local gendarmerie of your planned holiday absence so that your property can be added to their rounds. The gendarmes are then supposed to tour around randomly, having a quick look at each of the properties they’ve been informed about. The objective is to deter burglars by their being out and about.
There’s been a lot in the press recently about the new requirement for smoke detectors/alarms to be fitted in residential property (whether owned or rented – the owner’s obligation in both cases). So we thought we’d help clarify some of the conflicting reports about this.
Of the five basic covers often found in a house insurance policy (fire, water damage, theft, glass and civil liability), the cover for theft is the most likely to cause dissatisfaction and frustration.
New drivers, who’ve had their licence for less than three years, incur extra excess if they cause an accident. So it’s a good idea to check with your insurer before lending your car, because your no-claims bonus could suffer if you claim.
The no-claims system is also quite different in the two countries. When you insure a car in the UK, you only need four years of no claims to benefit from the maximum bonus (65% off the premium).
There are several good reasons for keeping your flues clean. Perhaps the most obvious one is that your home insurance may not cover you in case of a fire if you can’t provide proof that you have had it swept within the last 12 months.
This information is relevant for people coming from a European country with an S1 or S2 form, formerly called E121, E106 or E109, or, more occasionally, an E112, and who wish to live in France.
The financial consequences of bodily injury, material or immaterial damage caused to third parties, for which you are legally liable in your capacity as a private individual, i.e. outside the context of your business or professional life.
In particular: the school-related or extracurricular activities of your children.
We know that in the UK you need four years of car insurance without any accident to obtain a bonus rate between 60 and 65 %. Even if you are insured for a longer time, the rate will not increase. This no-claims bonus will be reduced to zero if you have a responsible accident, and you will need four more years to come back to 60%. Unless… you have paid a little more to protect your bonus.
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).
In the United Kingdom you are entitled to have a driving licence as from 17 for cars and motorcycles, 18 for medium-sized vehicles, and 21 for large lorries and busses.
Your UK licence is valid up to the expiry date which is printed on the licence, below the date and place of birth.
When you turn 70, in the UK you will have to ask for the renewal of your licence, which will be renewed for a period of three years.
In France the various insurance companies have signed an agreement with each other. This same agreement has been signed by foreign insurance companies throughout Europe. This is why your UK insurer will provide an “agreed statement of facts on motor vehicle accident“ if you tell them that you are going abroad. Using this system, the payment settlements are faster and easier, and it does avoid endless discussions, to finally end up with a knock for knock.