Covid-19 car insurance refund in France: What to write
A script of exactly what to write to request a reduction in your car insurance payments due to the Covid-19 crisis has been published by a French consumer association. We explain and provide an English translation.
UFC-Que Choisir has said that drivers who have used their cars or motorbikes significantly less than normal during confinement are entitled to a reduction in their car insurance payments. It calculated that nationwide, insurers owed €2.2 billion to the French public - the equivalent of €50 per car, and €29 per motorbike.
The group said that confinement conditions have led to far fewer drivers on the roads, and calculated that road traffic accidents causing serious injury had dropped by 91% in the first six weeks of confinement, compared to the same time last year.
Drop in payments
A drop in your insurance payment amount is linked to a drop in risk due to less driving time, which you can prove if you have seen a drop in your kilometrage since confinement began, when compared to a normal month.
UFC-Que Choisir said: “The insured party has a right to a drop in the premium amount in the case of a drop in risk over the course of the contract. If the insurer does not agree, the insured party can break from the contract.”
Now, the association has issued advice for policy-holders who wish to write to their insurers to ask for a reduction, and provided a letter template that can be altered to match your needs.
You can copy the letter out directly (see below, with an English translation), or download the template from the UFC-Choisir website here.
Ensure that you mention your surname, name, and full address; as well as the name of your insurance company, and fill in the parts mentioned in square brackets [like this], with the correct information.
Comparison insurance firm Assurland responded to UFC-Que Choisir’s campaign, saying that it may be difficult for insurance companies to satisfy all of their customers, as “the impact of the pandemic is still not clear today”.
Olivier Moustacakis, co-founder of Assurland, told car website Autoplus that while car insurers may be saving money, other insurers - such as in the health sector - were losing out.
He said: “[Even though] the drop in car accidents (to the tune of 75%) has generated a monthly saving of €750 million for car and motorbike insurers...the pandemic has also caused a spike in costs and significant loss of revenue for collective and individual health insurance”.
Some companies, such as Matmut, AMV and la MAIF (Mutuelle d'Assurance des Instituteurs de France) have already made changes.
AMV has offered one free month to its customers, including for policies on motorbikes, scooters, quad bikes, cars, and caravans.
Matmut has frozen its prices until the end of 2021, and said that it would reduce premiums by €75 for job-seekers, and by 50% for frontline workers fighting the pandemic, including nurses and doctors.
La MAIF has refunded each customer €30 per vehicle, or offered them the option to donate this to associations working with healthcare staff, including to help Paris hospital foundation la Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris - Hôpitaux de France; research centre l'Institut Pasteur, and the non-profit Secours Populaire.
What if my insurer does not agree?
UFC-Choisir has said that many people have contacted them to say that their insurer has responded negatively to their request.
In this case, the association recommends that you contact their customer service department, and tell them that you will be forced to seek an alternative insurer and find a more competitive deal if they are not able to help. This will be especially powerful if you are a long-time customer with a good history of payments.
A number of online comparison sites exist in France to help you find a better deal, including Hyperassur.com, Lesfurets.com, and Lelynx.fr.
Legally - since the Loi Hamon was introduced in 2015 - you are permitted to change insurer after only one year, and all the switchover details and arrangements must be done by the new company for you.
Full letter template (in French)
Objet : Modification du contrat d'assurance automobile - Demande de diminution de prime suite à la diminution du risque
J'ai souscrit auprès de votre société un contrat d'assurance n°[numéro de la police d'assurance] en date du [date] et je souhaite par cette présente, envoyée en recommandé avec accusé de réception, modifier ce contrat.
En effet, les règles de confinement du gouvernement pour lutter contre la pandémie de Covid-19 ont restreint mes déplacements en véhicule [préciser en quoi ces mesures ont fait diminuer vos déplacements - indiquer par exemple "en raison des mesures de télétravail mises en œuvre par mon employeur"], le risque couvert par mon contrat a diminué. Or, selon l'article dédié du code des assurances, "l'assuré a droit en cas de diminution du risque en cours de contrat à une diminution du montant de la prime".
Je vous demande de bien vouloir me proposer une réduction du montant de ma prime correspondant à cette diminution du risque couvert afin que je puisse vous marquer mon accord pour une modification du contrat.
Vous remerciant, je vous prie de croire, Madame, Monsieur, à l'expression de mes sentiments distingués.
English translation (English translation by Connexion)
Subject: Amendment to automobile insurance contract - Request for premium reduction following the decrease in risk
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have taken out an insurance contract with your company under policy no. [policy number] dated [date] and I hereby wish to amend this contract by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.
As the government's Covid-19 pandemic confinement rules have restricted my vehicle travel [specify how these measures have reduced your travel - e.g., "due to my employer's working-from-home measures"], the risk covered by my contract has decreased.
However, according to the relevant article of the Insurance Code, "the insured party is entitled to a reduction in the amount of the premium if the risk is reduced during the term of the contract".
I would ask you to agree to a reduction in the amount of my premium corresponding to this reduction in the risk covered, so that I can agree to an amendment of the contract.
Thank you. Yours sincerely,
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France