Why car insurance prices are likely to keep rising in France

Premiums are increasing every year, but experts have tips on how to reduce the cost

Car insurance premiums are increasing in France but there are some things you can do to keep costs down
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Car insurance prices are likely to keep increasing in France, experts have predicted, with the average cost being €676 per year for the first trimester of 2024.

Insurance policy comparator Assurland has found that this has risen from an average of €651 in 2023, and €630 in 2022. This is a rise of 7.3% in the past two years.

Rates are set to continue rising, the site said. This is due to several reasons, including: 

  • The cost of repairs. This rose by 8% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023, show figures from the Association Sécurité et réparation automobiles (SRA)

  • The cost of spare parts. These have risen by 10.9% in the same time

  • An increase in car theft. This increased by 11% in 2023.

  • Climate change and extreme weather. Increasingly frequent hailstorms are resulting in greater damage to windscreens and bodywork.

  • More complex, larger cars. The increased technology required in new cars and the popularity of SUVs and larger, more expensive, vehicles is pushing up costs.

  • More electric cars. Electric cars and those with more technology tend to require more attention than ‘regular’ combustion vehicles. Similarly, electric cars tend to have aluminium bodywork, which is much lighter than steel, but costs three to four times more to repair.

  • Tax changes in 2024. It now costs more to insure an electric vehicle. New electric vehicles previously benefited from a 100% tax exemption on insurance agreements, this has been reduced to 75% for 2024.

Read also: What should you expect to pay for car insurance in France? 

Insurance company policies

The overall rising costs are leading some insurance companies to become more stringent but more flexible with their policies.

"We now ask policyholders to provide a photo of their damaged windscreen if they wish to have it repaired elsewhere than in one of our approved centres,” said Henry de Courtois, managing director of Direct Assurance, to Le Monde

"Around 10% of the customers then decide not to have their windscreen repaired, probably because no claim has actually been made.”

Direct Assurance now also offers cash compensation rather than repair for minor bodywork damage (scratches, dents, etc.). 

This means that the policyholder can choose to have the damage repaired in a garage, and Direct Assurance will pay the cost or, if they prefer, they can receive compensation via bank transfer, without having the damage repaired. 

"In this case, the policyholder receives the money directly, which gives him or her considerable purchasing power. On our side, it represents a saving, because the compensation paid is around 25% less than the cost of repairs by a professional,” said Mr de Courtois.

Read also: End of car insurance stickers in France: what happens in an accident? 
Read also: Insurance change for drivers: Can I see if car on new French database? 

How to reduce your premiums

The experts offered these tips for drivers on how to reduce their bill:

  • Compare premiums. Take advantage of insurance companies’ desire to attract new customers with attractive rates in the first year.

  • Change often if a new, better, deal is available. This does not necessarily need to be every year, but it can be every few years.

  • Check regularly that your policy is adapted to your vehicle, and any changes due to age, etc.

  • Update your policy regularly to include your increased no-claims bonus if you have this.

  • Check if you are paying for more mileage than you need. Some insurers offer ‘petit rouleur (low mileage)’ policies for drivers who only drive 4,000-8,000 km a year.

  • Check if you can insure different vehicles under the same household policy. This can reduce costs. 

  • Pay your premium in advance rather than by monthly direct debit, as this is typically cheaper overall.

Read also: Six tips to reduce the cost of your car insurance in France

You can also check if you need the most comprehensive policy. Comprehensive insurance costs an average of €677 a year, compared to €607 for third-party liability only and €635 for the intermediate option (third-party liability, glass breakage, theft, fire), show figures from Assurland. 

“For a car between 7 and 10 years old, the intermediate option is sufficient,” says Mr Moustacakis at Assurland.