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Second home: Can I get insurance for stay on long-term visa in France?

Most UK insurance companies now only seem interested in covering people on tourist trips for up to 90 days

French insurers cannot legally insure UK-registered cars, but exceptions can be made if you are planning to keep it in France and have started the process of switching to French registration Pic: Fizkes / Shutterstock

Reader question: If we visit our second home in France with a long-stay visa, will any car and medical insurance company cover us? Normally we are only covered for 90 days, which can become very expensive. 

From our inquiries, most UK insurance companies now only seem interested in covering people on tourist trips for up to 90 days, with some car policies’ cover lasting only 60 days, so it is important to check. 

One exception we identified is insurance broker Sterling, which offers a special package of basic car insurance for UK-registered cars in France, but it is aimed at situations where the car will stay out of the UK for more than eight months. Prices quoted on its website are “from £325”. 

Meanwhile, some UK insurers will offer an initial three months, then extend for another three months on request. 

French insurers we spoke to said they cannot legally insure UK-registered cars, although Allianz will let you do so if you are planning to keep it in France and have started the process of switching to French registration. 

Read more: Process, costs, carte grise: How to register a car in France

The easiest, if not cheapest, answer for cars might therefore be to buy and insure one in France and leave it at the holiday home. 

Generali France’s Agence Eaton offers top-up health insurance for those in the UK system with an Ehic or Ghic and a long-stay visa. 

However, it could not estimate the price, saying it varies, depending on personal factors. 

Swiss Life France’s Bordeaux agency says it, too, offers health insurance topping up the part of costs not reimbursed under the Ehic/Ghic if UK residents declare they are living in france for a fixed time on a long term visa. 

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- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
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