INSURANCE is big business in France with many companies keen to attract new customers and extend existing policies.
The market is becoming increasingly competitive as supermarkets and UK insurers begin to put the squeeze on the long-established French firms.
It is a legal requirement to insure a vehicle, your home, yourself for civil liability and school children.
Motor insurance is very similar to that in the UK with premiums dependent on the level of cover required, past claims history and the vehicle being covered.
Insurance to cover school children is often handled by the school itself and is usually provided for an academic year and at a reasonable rate.
Property insurance is a vital part of the purchasing process and the notaire handling the sale will ask if the house is covered, at least for third party liability.
Very often it is possible to just transfer the existing policy into your own name but if you think that your circumstance are very different to that of the seller then you should look at a new policy.
As with any insurance policy it is advisable to take a good look through the small print which if it is all in French can be a challenge.
That is why many UK insurers and banks now offer cover, which will come under the French legal system but be in English.
Going on from third party liability insurance it is likely many people will look to buy buildings insurance which will usually cover damage due to fire, water or storms.
Often it is possible to incorporate theft and contents insurance but it is vital that you are clear what security measures you must take yourself.
If your property is likely to be used for holiday lets then a specific policy should be looked into, if your house is left unattended for a month or two a regular insurance policy may not be suitable.
You must make it clear to the insurance firm that the property is being let because if you have not and you make a claim then your cover could be void.
It is possible to buy a multi-risk household insurance policy (assurance multirisques habitation), which includes civil, third party, buildings and contents insurance.
Should you need to make a claim then it is important that you have as much supporting paperwork as possible.
Make sure that you have a photocopy of everything you send, so that even if you have to provide the original you know what you have written.
And send everything by recorded delivery within a few days of the incident or if an insurance office is close by visit it personally.