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Insurance assurance is vital to ease stress

I recently went on a break to the Isle d’Oléron. The hotel had no parking, so I parked in a nearby public car park.

The following morning I discovered someone had climbed on the bonnet and jumped on the roof causing a serious dent.

I reported it to police and my insurance agent said repairs would be effected and a cour­tesy car provided. The garage was 40km from home and I drove over and exchanged cars.

Seven days later, I drove to the garage to find no work had been done and a piece of paper was waved at me stating that a company called Automobile Expertises had inspected my car and declared it a write-off.

They said it was unsafe to drive and wanted to impound it. The insurer offered a modest price for the car.

If I had tried to have the car repaired elsewhere, the carte grise would be withdrawn. Frantic calls to my insurance agent meant I was given my car keys on the proviso the carte grise and insurance would be cancelled in days.

A car is essential as I live in the country and hold official positions with two British ex-service charities, so it was a race to find a second-hand car.

Fortune at last shone. I found a replacement, got immediate insurance and the friendly garage allowed me to present an undated cheque until my funds had cleared my bank.

I have lived in France for more than 10 years and this is probably the most stressful challenge I have encountered. So, get independent quotes before going to insurers.

Needless to say, my local body‑shop was closed for annual holidays.

David Young, Vienne

Resident or second-home owner in France?
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