Getting insurance in France (2024)

Compulsory insurance in France reaches across many sectors. Here’s an essential guide to make sure you’re properly insured while living in France.

The French have a more dirigiste approach to insurance than many new arrivals may be used to. Where liability is concerned, for example, you will often need coverage. This guide is designed to offer a complete picture of insurance in France, and to make sure you are properly insured while living in France.

Topics covered in this guide include:

  • Overview of insurance in France
  • Which insurance in France is legally required?
    • Health insurance
    • Home insurance
    • Insurance for schoolchildren
    • Motor vehicle insurance
    • Social insurance
  • Optional forms of insurance in France
    • Life insurance
    • Third-party liability insurance
    • Legal insurance
  • Commercial insurance in France
  • Tools for comparing insurance in France
  • Useful resources


Find health insurance that’s tailored to you. Groupama provide health insurance for any customer, covering treatments and consultations all over France. They also offer reimbursem*nt for alternative medicine. Visit Groupama online to get a health insurance quote within three minutes.

Overview of insurance in France

France is one of the world’s most developed insurance markets, ranking fifth globally and second in Europe (behind only the UK). The French insurance sector brought in a revenue of €293 million in 2017 and there are 285 insurance companies operating in the country.

The Banque de France regulates insurance in France through the Autorite de Controle Prudentiel et de Resolution (ACPR). Over 260 insurance companies in France belong to the French Insurance Federation (Federation Francais de l’Assurance – FFA).

French residents are legally required to take out a number of different insurances. In addition to this, you can purchase various optional insurances too.

Naturally, there are many companies and policies to choose from. You may contact an insurer online, through a local agent or via a broker. Banks and supermarkets also offer insurance policies. Insurance companies in France include:

You can also check out our directory of insurance companies in France.


Which insurance in France is legally required?

Health insurance

All residents in France need to have health insurance coverage. As of 2016, France’s Protection Universelle Malade (PUMA) has covered residents in the country. This covers expats working in France from their first day, while other legal residents can access state health insurance if they have lived in the country for three consecutive months on a ‘stable and regular basis’.

However, the scheme has its limits. Many expats and French citizens will, therefore, take out top-up private insurance. Large private international health insurance companies which provide coverage packages for expats include:

Get a French health insurance quote today

Home insurance

Whether you rent or own your French home, you must have a home insurance policy before moving in. Around 90% of homeowners in France have a multi-risk policy, but you can also purchase separate coverage. Home insurance should cover:

  • Building insurance – covers damage to the building caused by things such as fire, water damage, natural damage, and vandalism. Check individual policies for exact coverage. This is mandatory for renters and those with a mortgage but not for those who own their home outright.
  • Public liability insurance – compulsory for all residents to cover their own responsibility for damage to third parties and property. Tenants in rented accommodation will usually need this. It’s possible to purchase this as part of a separate third-party liability insurance, but home insurance packages often include it.
  • Contents insurance – optional coverage for personal belongings but often available for a lower premium when included as part of a multi-risk home insurance policy.
  • Construction insurance – it is mandatory to insure major construction works carried out on your property by a decennial cover called dommages ouvrage. This protects against defects in the work carried out. Some multi-risk packages offer this. You can also purchase it separately.

Policies can cost from as little as around €100 a year although can rise to
€300-400 depending on property value and extent of coverage. With an expat-friendly insurance broker, you can obtain coverage or helpful advice, often in English. These include Allianz Habitation.

Be sure to read the small print of any policy, especially regarding the excesses you will have to carry and your obligations to protect the property. With some policies, you may need to install an alarm or close shutters at night or during long absences.

Insurance for schoolchildren

Some home insurance policies will automatically cover your liability for any damage or injury your child may cause at school; others will offer this as a separate cover at a nominal premium. In both cases, the insurer will give you a certificate or attestation that the school will ask you for at the beginning of the school year.

While not strictly mandatory for school attendance, you will need this for any activities outside the official curriculum including field trips of any kind as well as extracurricular sports.

Motor vehicle insurance

You must insure all motor vehicles in France for collision liability, even if they are not in use unless all four wheels are removed. Policies are either third-party (tiers collision), third-party fire and theft, or comprehensive (tous risques). Car insurance providers in France include:

Whenever you drive your vehicle, you must carry a document – the attestation d’assurance – which the insurance company issues to prove you are insured. Part of this is a green certificat d’assurance testifying to the validity of your insurance. You must fix this to your vehicle windscreen, so as to be clearly visible.

Your insurer will also issue you with an internationally standard form, le constat amiable, to complete in the event of an accident.

Costs of car insurance in France depend on factors such as vehicle value, the extent of coverage, and driver history. No-claims deductions accrue at the rate of 5% a year and it takes 13 years of no-fault driving to obtain a full 50% no-claims bonus.

This can result in some drivers offering to pay directly for the damage they cause, so as to avoid an increase in the cost of their policy. You should think carefully before accepting such an offer. If the damage is more expensive to repair than the amount you have received from the other party, you will have no recourse to an insurance claim.

Social insurance

Those who are working in France or studying in France have to register for social security payments. Public social security schemes in France cover:

  • Sickness, accidents, and disability
  • Parental leave
  • Family benefits
  • Old-age French pensions
  • Unemployment
  • Survivor benefits

Employers normally enroll their employees in a social security scheme. However, self-employed workers need to register themselves into a self-employed scheme. More information can be found in our guide to social security in France.


Optional forms of insurance in France

Life insurance

There are two types of life insurance in France:

  • Assurance vie
  • Assurance deces

The form of insurance known as assurance vie translates literally as “life insurance”. This refers to a savings program that sets aside and invests money for retirement or other long-term financial projects. It will also pay in case of death before the end of the policy term. Many people take this out as a complementary form of insurance to state-provided social insurance.

Assurance deces translates literally as “death insurance”. However, this is the equivalent of what in many countries is called a life insurance policy. This will only pay a premium to your family in case of your death, linked to loss of earnings.

Assurance décès following an accident only is very cheap (around €20 per month to cover all of the family) but, when death through illness is included, the price is considerably more and takes into account your age and your existing state of health.

If you take out a sizable home-loan with a French bank, you may be required to take out life insurance. This is intended to protect both the bank and your family by paying off the outstanding mortgage in case of you or your partner’s death.

Third-party liability insurance

Third-party liability insurance is a compulsory part of home and vehicle insurance. It is also possible to have separate liability insurance that extends to damage or injury to others caused in other circ*mstances. For example, if you accidentally damage someone else’s property or if your dog bites someone.

You can purchase liability insurance separately from home insurance and have it cover incidents that occur in the home. The cost of a separate policy is usually around €160 a year.

Legal insurance

This optional form of insurance is not as common in France as life insurance or liability insurance. However, with access to legal aid becoming more difficult to obtain, more people are taking out policies to cover legal expenses.

Legal insurance (assurance de protection juridique) covers the costs of legal proceedings in the event of a lawsuit or legal dispute. You can take it out separately or sometimes have it as part of home or car insurance as an add-on.

Commercial insurance in France

If you intend to run a business in France, it is essential that you get the right insurance cover to protect your assets and reputation. Some business insurances in France are mandatory, others optional. The main ones are:

  • Business liability insurance – also known as public liability and professional indemnity insurance (l’assurance en responsabilité civile professionnelle). Compulsory for all limited businesses. If you’re a freelancer or sole trader, you might be able to cover your business activities through your personal liability insurance, but you will need to specify your activities and probably pay extra for coverage.
  • Premises, equipment, and vehicle insurance – you can take these out as separate insurances or combine them in a multi-risk policy (assurance multi risque et perte d’exploitation). None of these are compulsory for most businesses but highly recommended to protect against theft or damage caused by fire, water, storms, etc.
  • Business interruption insurance (assurance perte d’exploitation) – this protects against loss of income, including employee salaries, in the event of the business being unable to operate for a period. Some insurers offer packages where you can combine this with premises, equipment and vehicle insurance.
  • Assurance decennale – this is a compulsory insurance for trades such as builder, plumber, and electrician. It covers your work for a period of 10 years against defects affecting the quality.


  • Le Lynx – another popular site where you can compare insurances as well as energy providers.


Useful resources

Getting insurance in France (2024)


Do I need proof of insurance to enter France? ›

Anyone who needs to apply for a Schengen visa to visit France must have travel insurance. Without it, your visa application will be rejected. You can get a free quote for a French Schengen visa insurance here. On the other hand, if you do not need a Schengen visa to enter France, then travel insurance is not mandatory.

Will my US health insurance cover me in France? ›

US domestic health insurance and medicare will not cover travelers outside the United States so buying good France travel insurance is very important. Travelers can compare US medical insurance while visiting France and buy the best holiday insurance for France online.

How much medical cover do I need France? ›

France Visa Insurance Requirements

A minimum coverage of at least 30,000 EUR. It should cover not only France but all member states of the Schengen Area. Cover any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent health attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death.

Do US citizens need insurance for France? ›

U.S. citizens can enter France with a valid passport for up to 90 days, after which they must submit a visa application. Although travel insurance is not required for American tourists, you may still choose to buy coverage.

Is healthcare free in France for American tourists? ›

France currently operates on a reimbursem*nt program. Therefore, you pay for the cost of your treatment and then apply for reimbursem*nt. A regular doctor's visit is just 23 Euros and typically 70% of that cost will be returned to you.

What insurance documents do I need in France? ›

It's essential you make sure you pack your driving licence, passport, motor insurance certificate, travel insurance documents, and vehicle registration document (V5C), and have them with you at all times.

Can I use my US health insurance in Europe? ›

Will my Existing Medical Insurance Cover me In Europe? The short answer is NO. Most health insurance programs limit their coverage to the home country due to so many things like politics, taxes, differences in global healthcare policies, cost, etc.

Can I use my USA insurance in another country? ›

U.S. health insurance plans typically do not cover regular and routine medical care required overseas. This means your health insurance won't pay for care if you need to visit a doctor for a prescription medicine, or if you need treatment for a condition that is not considered an emergency.

Can I use my US health insurance abroad? ›

Generally, most domestic health insurance policies are not accepted abroad, so there is a benefit to purchasing travel medical insurance as a supplement to your health insurance coverage. The travel medical coverage is only valid while you're traveling.

What happens if I need medical care in France? ›

Call 112 if you need emergency services.

Outside of emergency hospitalizations, you may seek treatment at the public or private facility of your choice. If you see a doctor prior to being hospitalized, your practitioner can recommend a facility that will meet your needs, with consideration for quality of care.

How much does it cost to see a doctor in France? ›

Both residents and non-residents can see a doctor in France, with the only difference being out-of-pocket costs. A routine consultation costs between €25 and €55, depending on the specialty of the doctor and treatment. The state covers 70% of this cost for French residents, but not for tourists or visitors.

How much does it cost to go to hospital in France? ›

Regardless of treatment and surgery costs, you'll also be charged a non-reimbursable rate of €18 ($19.85) per day for bed occupancy; in a psychiatric hospital, you must pay €13.50 ($14.89) per day.

Do US citizens need insurance in Europe? ›

Does Europe require travel insurance? Travelers entering the EU from the U.S. and other visa-free countries are not required to have travel insurance. However, travelers from countries with visa requirements for the Schengen area must have insurance coverage.

What is proof of health insurance in France? ›

Your French health insurance card (“carte Vitale”)

Your "carte Vitale" is your health insurance card and is proof of your entitlement to health care coverage in France.

Does US car insurance work in France? ›

Does my home country's car insurance cover me in France? No, your car insurance policy from your home country does not cover you in France. You must purchase a French car insurance policy (minimum third-party liability).

What documents do I need to travel to France by car? ›

To drive in France, you will also need proof of insurance, proof of ownership of your car (V5C) and your passport. You will need to display a UK sticker on the rear of your car. GB stickers have been discontinued.

What documents do you need when Travelling to France by car? ›

You do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) for driving in France, but you do for some EU countries.
  • An up-to-date passport for each occupant of the vehicle.
  • An Animal Health Certificate from your Vet for any pets you have with you.
  • A valid visa if your stay will take you over 90 days in any 180-day period.

Can you drive in France without insurance? ›

Basic rules for driving in France

You'll need to prove that you have insurance cover (you don't need a European 'green card') and you must carry with you documents that show the identity of the car, which in the UK means your red V5C 'logbook' from the DVLA.

Do you need COVID insurance for France? ›

So if you plan to visit France (and/or any other of the 27 countries currently in the Schengen zone) — depending on your nationality and country of origin, you might need a Schengen visa. And to be granted a Schengen Visa, it is mandatory that you have the proper travel insurance.

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