Can I get compensation for a car accident in France?

Your questions, answered: what compensation is there if an uninsured driver bumps me?

20 July 2020
Your questions, answered: is compensation available if an uninsured driver bumps me in France? Pictured, a vintage car in Lyon, France.Your questions, answered: is compensation available if an uninsured driver bumps me in France? Pictured, a vintage car in Lyon, France.
By Liv Rowland

Question

Is any compensation possible if someone without valid car insurance bumps into your vehicle? S.W.

Answer

In this situation, you should first check to see if your own insurance can help – this will be the case if you have an assurance tous risques (fully comprehensive) policy. The insurer will pay out but minus any franchise (excess) amount that is applicable in the policy. If you are only insured au tiers (third party), your insurer will not pay out but you can apply to the Fonds de garantie des assurances obligatoires de dommages (FGAO). In this case, either you or your insurer can apply to the FGAO by lettre recommandée avec avis de reception (recorded delivery letter with receipt slip).

Note that many car insurance policies, as well as home insurance policies, include cover to help with the formalities of legal claims, called garantie protection juridique or garantie défense-recours which place an obligation on insurers to carry out this formality for you. The right address to send it to depends on the department where the accident occurred. Check the map at this link: tinyurl.com/y9w49ob7. The application form is here: tinyurl.com/ya3nykat.

Driving in France: grants for drivers wanting to buy new cars to replace old ones have been increased by the government in an €8billion package to help the French car industry survive the effects of Covid-19. Read the full story here.

Note that this fund can also help in situations where someone bumped into your vehicle but left without identifying themselves or if you did not see the car that collided with yours. It is not applicable where you were at fault or a car insured in your name was being driven by the party at fault.

You need to describe the circumstances, including the reasons why the third party was at fault and the fact that they were uninsured, including any photos or documents proving the facts. The FGAO should make a compensation offer three to eight months after receiving the dossier.

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