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Insurance clarified for self-employed workers in France

Cover can be for everything from civil responsibility to cyber attacks – and now it has all been detailed in a legal manual

The law relating to insurance for self-employed workers is outlined in the Code des assurances. Pic: Miljan Zivkovic / Shutterstock

Micro-entrepreneur independent workers have earned a place in the Code des assurances, a 2,754-page book you can buy at French bookshops for around €90, or online as a PDF file for around €10.

The book sets out the law relating to insurance in France and is the framework for legal disputes around the subject.

More paperwork

Micro-entrepreneur (commonly referred to as auto-entrepreneur) status was created in 2008 and has gone through numerous modifications since.

Read more: A guide to micro-entrepreneurs in France

It did not take long to earn a place in the heart of the insurance industry. 

Even though a key motive of micro-entrepreneurship was to free people from the significant paperwork that surrounds French business, insurers quickly realised they could insist professional activities were insured separately from personal ones.

Compulsory insurance

From the start, certain industries open to micro-entrepreneurs were still subject to compulsory insurance.

Builders especially must have specific insurance in France covering their work for 10 years after it is completed.

Other regulated sectors requiring insurance include self-employed doctors and nurses, lawyers, accountants and estate agents.

In each of these cases, the insurance is often linked to the licence to practise granted by controlling bodies.

Further down the list, car mechanics and car sales people, transporters of goods and people, travel agents and event organisers also need specific civil responsibility insurance.

Tailored multi-risk policies

Insurance companies have also created a series of multi-risk policies which, in addition to civil responsibility, cover subjects such as insurance for professional property, fire, flood and electrical damage to professional equipment, protection against cyber attacks and legal protection.

These are often tailored to suit particular professions – insurance against food going bad in a refrigerator, for example, is useful for a micro-entrepreneur event organiser but less so for an accountant.

Peace for mind for former salaried workers

Salaried workers are well protected in France – an example is that a car accident while driving to work is classified as a work accident – and some insurance policies were developed so that people moving from the salaried sector to micro-entrepreneurship felt they were not too exposed to risk.

Included in this category is insurance for the chef d’entreprise (even if the firm concerned is a one-person one) if they have to take unexpected time off work.

Car and health insurance

Most car insurance is for personal use in France. If a car is used mainly for work purposes, it must be insured as such – at slightly higher rates.

Some mutuelle health insurance policies are also offered for micro-entrepreneurs, starting at around €25 a month for very basic cover.

For a more comprehensive policy, expect to pay twice or three times the amount.

Life cover

Finally, a whole package of prudential insurance is proposed to micro-entrepreneurs, including incapacity insurance for situations such as broken limbs and death insurance. 

In the UK, the latter is known as life insurance, but in France the term assurance-vie is used for a regulated insurance-linked savings scheme.

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