Online Car Insurance in France: What it is and How to Sign Up
Like many people, you might want to ensure your new car or to change the old insurance you have for a better offer. And sometimes, you may even doubt the usefulness of such insurance. Is it wasted money? The answer is no, of course! In order to prevent any risk of damage and to be covered in case of an accident with your vehicle, you need to have the appropriate protection known as car insurance.
Driving a car has become as common as riding a bike. Most people use their own at least 3 or 4 times a week if not every day to go to work. And all are insured as it is strictly forbidden to drive without car insurance in France. As it is a legal obligation there are many different offers and many different car insurance providers. We will help you find out how to choose the car insurance plan that meets your needs. And we will give you a short guideline on how to sign up for a new online insurance contract for your vehicle.
Why it is mandatory to have car insurance in France?
Since mid-1950 French law has become very strict regarding insurances and especially regarding car insurances. Since a 1958 law of 1958, it has become mandatory for all drivers to subscribe to car insurance specific to them in order to drive a vehicle on the roads of the country.
Therefore, each car owner shall at least have an insurance that will cover his or her civil liability in case of an accident with a vehicle that engages or causes any damage to third parties. It is the basic coverage that will guarantee the risk of damages and injuries caused to others’ goods and bodies. Therefore, it is the minimum insurance that is required by law for all car owners.
Such car insurance is mandatory for all car even the ones that are not used on an everyday basis. If you keep your car in a parking lot and intend to use it only once a week, you still have to subscribe to car insurance. Nevertheless, there are different coverage, guarantees and options that can be chosen from.
Online insurance: what is it and what are the advantages?
Online insurance, what is it?
Before the internet took such an important place in our lives, you had to go to insurers agencies, talk to an advisor, explain your situation and receive a quote. And then do it all over again with another insurer in order to compare all the offers. But now, if you do not have time or if you just want to have a quick answer, the easiest way to have a quote for car insurance plans is to find it online. Even if it is still possible, and sometimes useful to go to an agency, the online insurances are more and more easy to use.
Online insurances of all kind are more and more common. They appeared quite late on the market but they are now requested by young people used to digital tools and also by many other clients who want a simple and easy way to subscribe to insurance. Online insurances are mostly for non-professionals and can be of any kind: home insurance, car insurance, motorcycle insurance…).
Basically, the contracts are the same as any other contract offered by any basic insurer, with the same type of coverage, same guarantees and options. The advantage is to subscribe directly from your living room!
If you want to change your car insurance, the first thing to do is to ask for quotes in order to have the entire vision of the market by comparing the offers.
Online insurance: what are the advantages?
The online insurances have emerged with the boom of the internet but also with some specific French laws (such as Hamon's Law) that have made it easier to resign and change your insurance provider.
Now in a few minutes, you can go online, ask for quotes and have a wide vision of the market and the offers you can receive regarding your personal situation.
Here are several advantages of online insurances:
- Some simple and accessible websites designed for everyone’s easy access;
- An easy way to subscribe online or by phone if you want: there is no need to go to an agency or to move from your house;
- A direct subscription: you can be insured after only a few minutes;
- An easy way to complete the required file: you just have to download the required documents;
- The cheapest premium: usually the online insurances can offer cheapest prices than the usual agencies because they save money on their operating expenses.
How to find the best online car insurance?
Ask for car insurance quotes online
- On the website of each insurer
The most common and used option is to ask for quotes online. If you look for car insurance plans online, you will easily find a lot of different insurers and many of them have a wide range of offers to insure your vehicle.
You can go on the website of each insurer you know or find on a search engine and ask for a personalized quote.
With your car insurance green card and your insurance statement that is given to you by your previous insurer, you can fill all the required information regarding:
- Your personal situation
- The car you want to insure
It takes up to 5 minutes to answer all the questions and enter your email. The insurer will then provide you with a quote and an offer in order to insure your car. You will also find all the details of the insurance such as the guarantees and coverage, the options but also the exclusions.
And finally, of course, you will find the premium offered. It is up to you to subscribe and chose this specific insurer but we would advise you first to compare with other quotes.
Indeed, it is quite easy to ask several different insurers for quotes and then compare all of them.
- On insurance comparators
Online, you can also go on some specific websites called insurance comparators. As insurers website, you fill different questions with information about you, your situation, the car you want to insure and the website comparator will provide you with car insurance quotes from their insurance partners.
Ask for quotes by phone
Besides all these online solutions to find the right insurance, you can call different online insurers and ask them for the best quote for your needs. They will ask you questions in order to fill the required information and will directly give you the best offer they have.
You can also directly call comparators and then, you will be provided with different quotes from insurance partners. You will only have to compare the quotes and coverage.
Compare the quotes
Once you have asked and you have received the quotes you wanted, make sure you take a look carefully to the following criteria:
- The premium, as usual, it is the first thing we look to,
- The included guarantees, as it will be the risk you are covered for;
- The options and the price for the options you would like to add.
And do not forget that you should not choose an insurance contract because of a cheap price but because it offers good coverage. And if it is a good deal, it is even better!
How to subscribe to car insurance online
As for your home, before you are covered for the risk that may arise in your car, you need to subscribe to an insurance plan and for that, you have to provide the insurer with several documents and information.
Here is a short abstract of the principal documents and information you should gather for the file that will be required by the online car insurance provider.
The documents and information required
Like all insurers, online car insurances will request some information in order to provide you with an offer that would meet your needs, your car and your specific situation:
- What is the type of vehicle you would like to insure: the mark, the model, the year;
- What are the types of guarantees and options you want to be covered with ;
- What is the use of the car you want to insure: do you have a personal or professional use;
- Who are the persons who will drive the car;
- Whether you have you ever had any previous accident or insurance claims;
- Whether you have you ever received any penalties such as suspension or even cancellation of your driving license.
Besides this information, the car insurer will ask for the following documents that have to be downloaded in order to subscribe to an online car insurance scheme:
- A copy of the registration certificate of the car (called in France “grey card” because it is made on a grey paper): such document is mandatory and is a proof of ownership over the vehicle. It as the name of the owner but also some specific identification information about the vehicle.
- The insurance statement that should have been given to the subscriber by his or her previous insurer and that collects all the information regarding his or her driver history.
- A copy of the valid car license of the subscriber.
All this information and documents will be asked by the online insurers in order to provide you with the requested insurance for the car.
A short reminder, be very careful to be the most honest you can and give only true information even if you know it can sometimes raise your premium… French law punishes any false information or omission by a fine up to 375.000 euros and even imprisonment up to 5 years.
The different types of insurance coverage and options
No matter if you subscribe to car insurance online or not, you will have to choose between different coverage, guarantees and options.
It is always important to look and read carefully the general and particular conditions as some insurers may apply specific exclusions to the coverage they offer.
- Third-party insurance
This coverage is the basic coverage and minimum guarantees you can have when you want to insure your car. As it is an obligation in France to have valid insurance in order to drive a car, the third-party insurance is considered as the basic guarantee that can be provided in order to give the driver a civil liability coverage.
This insurance will cover only the material damages and any injury caused to third parties in case of an accident where the driver is considered as being responsible.
The driver’s personal damages won’t be covered by this specific type of insurance. Therefore, we would advise you to choose this coverage only if you have an old car with low value and if you drive infrequently.
Third-party insurance is the least protective type of car insurance.
Third-party insurance +
Third-party car insurance + offers a wider range of coverage and might be a better option if you want to have more guarantees.
This insurance also covers the risks of theft, the risk of fire or the risk of glass breakage.
It can be the right option for your needs if you are not an everyday driver and if your car is not new.
All-risk car insurance has the widest coverage of all insurance types. It can also be called “multirisk insurance”.
The all-risk insurance guarantees the driver in case of damage or injury to third parties but also in case of personal damages or injuries.
This type of insurance would be the right option for you if you want the largest possible coverage with the best guarantees for your new car or as a young driver.
Some insurers will provide you with an offer called “mileage-based insurance”.
It covers the risks for cars that are not driven more than a certain number of kilometres per year.
It might be the right choice if you know in advance that you won’t use your car very often and can have a global vision of the kilometres you might drive in one year.
Therefore, if you consider yourself as an occasional driver make sure to ask the online insurance providers for such offer.
Besides the commonly known offers described here above, you can also find some option to adjust your car insurance to your specific needs. Between them here are some examples of options that you can ask for to the insurers:
- The theft guarantee that will cover the owner of the insured car in case of theft;
- The glass breakage guarantee that will cover the owner in case of glass breakage of any window of the insured car;
- The “all accidents” guarantees that will cover the risk of damage caused to the insured car;
- The collision guarantee that will cover the risk of damage caused to the insured vehicle by a third party (a vehicle, pedestrian or animal);
- The fire and explosion guarantee that will cover the owner in case of damage caused to the car by a fire or an explosion damaging the vehicle;
- The roadside guarantee that will cover all breakdowns.
Depending on the insurer, you may have other options and guarantees. If you have specific needs, you can ask the insurance provider directly if they can offer you a specific option to meet your situation.
The prices of online car insurancfmes
As described before, you will have the same coverage and the exact same guarantees whether you go for an online insurance plan or an standard insurance plan. One may think that prices should thus be the same, however - as online insurances have less operating cost (no agency, fewer employees…) they usually have best deals and better offers.
Online insurances can also provide you with a good deal as a new client and offer you a good price for the first 3 or 6 months as a preferential rate.
Besides that, online insurances also have special online offers.
What would make the insurance premium vary?
The insurance premium and cost may vary because of differences on one or several of the following elements:
- The brand and model of the vehicle you want to insure. The more expensive the vehicle is, the more expensive the insurance will be as the risk of damage would lead to a risk of higher expenses to repair it;
- The type of insurance you want to have: the more coverage and guarantees you want, the more expensive the insurance will be because of the wider coverage it offers.
- The age and driving experience of the driver: a driver who just had the driving license will pay more than an experimented driver because the risk of an accident may be higher;
- The bonus and malus rate of the principal driver may increase the premium or on the contrary decrease it depending on the driving history of the principal drive;
- The place where the car is kept may make the premium vary a little bit as there is more risk of damage if the car is kept in the street rather than in a private parking lot.
So do not hesitate to ask for quotes for an online car insurance scheme in order to compare all the offers which meet your needs.