Drivers in France ‘should get Covid insurance refunds’

Car drivers in France should get money back on their car insurance - worth €2.2 billion - to account for the major drop in vehicle usage during Covid-19 confinement, consumer group UFC-Que Choisir has said.

28 April 2020
Car usage has dropped significantly during confinement, with traffic accidents down an estimated 91%, says UFC-Que Choisir
By Connexion journalist

The association said that many people in France had used their cars far less than normal during confinement - except for the occasional outing to buy food. This has led to fewer drivers on the road, and as a result, far fewer traffic accidents, the association said.

Insurance companies should therefore reimburse policy holders to account for this change, it said.

The association is calling on companies to retrospectively reimburse customers for the period since confinement began on March 17. This would amount to €2.2 billion, according to their calculations - the equivalent of €50 per car, and €29 per motorbike.

The group also calculated that road traffic accidents causing serious injury had dropped by 91% in the past six weeks of confinement.

Matthieu Robin, from UFC-Que Choisir, told news service FranceInfo: “Today, consumers are really facing a budget crisis, and as part of this, it is necessary to review the cost of insurance policies.”

The call comes as some car drivers are reporting that their insurance premiums have actually increased this year, despite the current drop in accidents.

Thibaut Frézal, an insured driver in Ile-de-France whose bill increased by €200 this year, said: They told me, ‘Well, you live in the Ile-de-France department, where there are many vehicle thefts at the moment, so we are forced to raise the prices for insurance policies’”.

Some insurance companies - including Matmut and la MAIF (Mutuelle d'Assurance des Instituteurs de France) - have already offered some reimbursements for drivers who have been unable to use their cars.

La MAIF has offered some policyholders a €30 payback per vehicle, or asked them if they would like to donate the same amount (at no extra cost to them) to associations working with healthcare staff.

Eligible policyholders should have received a letter explaining the terms.

So far, insurance group La Fédération Française des Assureurs has not responded to the UFC-Que Choisir campaign.

Stay informed:
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

Get news, views and information from France