Windscreen insurance stickers are set to disappear in France from April next year, the government has confirmed, with proof of insurance becoming digitised instead.
From April 1, it will no longer be required for drivers to display the green insurance sticker on their windscreen, said Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on December 7. A decree to this effect is set to be published in the Journal Officiel imminently.
Bonne nouvelle pour les automobilistes ! Nous supprimons la vignette verte à placer sur le pare-brise.— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) December 7, 2023
Fini les amendes parce que ce n’est pas affiché sur le pare-brise.
Fini la paperasserie trop longue.
Fini l’impression de cette vignette qui a un coût écologique important de… pic.twitter.com/mEVQzwFBA8
This means that from this date, drivers will no longer face the usual €35 fine for not displaying the sticker. Drivers will - of course - still require valid insurance, and proof of this will be held digitally.
How will the new insurance checks work?
Instead of looking for a sticker, or asking for physical proof of insurance, police will need to check number plates against the Fichier des Véhicules Assurés (FVA, 'insured vehicle file').
This launched in 2019, and shows all valid insurance policies for vehicles across France.
Insurance companies will issue customers with a ‘mémo assuré’ for them to use in the first few days after they buy a new insurance policy. This ca be a credit card-sized document to be kept in the vehicle - or a digitised version - and will constitute proof of insurance before the policy updates on the FVA. It is estimated that this will take a maximum of 72 hours.
This can also be used in case drivers need to exchange details or if policy holders want an easy way to check their policy details (to give breakdown services, for example).
‘Common sense modernisation’
One of the aims of the change is to simplify the system and reduce the level of fraud, said the minister.
“This new system will be reliable, whereas before with the paper system, a driver could easily falsify an insurance sticker,” said the Interministerial Delegate for Road Safety, Marie Gautier-Melleray.
The switch to digital will also reduce paperwork, and save on the environmental cost of paper and printing, said Mr Le Maire. He wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that stopping the printing of stickers will save 1,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
“This is a common sense measure that constitutes an important step in the simplification and modernisation of our insurance system,” he said.
The professional federation of insurers, France Assureurs, has welcomed the measure and told AFP that it would “contribute to the simplification of drivers’ lives”.
The ‘papillon vert’ green sticker system dates back to 1986. Since then, drivers who have not been able to provide physical proof of their insurance have risked a fine of €35, even if their vehicle is covered.
Driving without insurance risks a fine of up to €3,750 in France. In 2022, more than 200,000 motorists were fined for driving without valid vehicle insurance, said Ms Gautier-Melleray.