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How to cancel French house insurance

Before you choose an insurance policy from a company in France, you should be aware that the practice of cancelling French insurance can be complex compared to the process we are used to in the UK. Unlike the UK, in France you can’t simply let a insurance policy lapse or cancel at the last minute with a phone call.

french flagInsurance in France automatically renews, so if you are thinking of changing to a UK insurer because of a lower premium, more comprehensive cover or simply because you want the policy in English – ensure you cancel your French policy first.

If you don’t follow the correct insurance cancellation procedure you will be liable to pay the full years premium, even if you have taken out an alternative policy.

Cancelling French insurance: automatic renewals and the Loi Chatel

You can cancel French insurance as per the minimum notice requirements in your contract, usually 2 or 3 months before renewal. All correspondence concerning cancellations should be done by registered letter (Lettre Recommandée AR).

Alternatively

You are now covered by the Loi Chatel, which removes the onus of cancellation from the policyholder and places it on the insurance company to invite you to accept renewal terms and outline your cancellation rights.

At least one month before your policy renewal date the insurer must advise you in writing that it will be automatically renewed, the renewal terms and your rights of cancellation. Again, all your correspondence concerning cancellations should be done by registered letter.

If the insurer’s renewal letter is received 15 days before or after the renewal date, you have 20 days from the posting date to cancel the policy. You should keep the post marked envelope as proof of receipt date.

If the renewal is sent after the policy start date or if it isn’t received at all, you have the right to cancel the contract at any time thereafter.

insurance documentRemember the onus is on you to prove you cancelled the policy or it will be automatically renewed and you will be liable to pay for the length of the contract.

For further clarification on how to cancel insurance in France click here

French insurance cancellation letters

You can find some sample letters which can be used to cancel your insurance on the completefrance.com forum.

What to do if you are in dispute with your French insurance company

Dealing with some French insurers can be problematic due to language barriers and different procedures than we are used to in the UK. If you take out your insurance in the UK, you have the benefit of the insurance ombudsman and the FSA if you have complaints. In France it’s not as easy.

Your first step is to contact the mediator that works within the company, details may be in the policy document. If this is unsuccessful, then you can try:

Médiateau de la Féderation Francaise des Sociétés d’Assurance. Telephone 00 33 (0)1 45 23 40 71; email le.mediateau@mediation-assurance.org

Autorité de Contrôle des Assurances et des Mutuelles
Attn : Dépt. du Droit du Contrat et des Relations avec les Assurés
61 rue Taitbout, 75436 – PARIS Cédex 09

Thanks to the Loi Chatel, cancelling French house insurance is now less problematic, which means you are free to change to a policy that suits you. Finally, before you choose a policy ask the insurer what the cancellation procedure is.

For French holiday home insurance click here.

8 Comments

  • Juju |

    I cancelled my French insurance for contents on our house in France before the final due date and took out another half the price. I didn’t know about the difficulties. I always paid by cheque. If I refuse to pay and ignore the letters coming to our English address what will happen?

    • Philip |

      Only the insurer can answer that. Can your new insurer offer any advice on resolving the issue? The good new is that new legislation is being introduced making it easier for consumers to change their insurer. See http://www.french-property.com/news/money_france/car_house_insurance_premiums/

      • Juju |

        Thank you for the useful information. It all seems such an alien procedure to a Brit who change their insurance regularly in order to get a better deal.

  • Laura |

    We were sent a renewal notice on the 2nd March for our house insurance it was due for renewal on the 1st April. We received the letter a week later we emailed to say we did not wish to continue and got another policy. The renewal did not state we had to write to them to cancel just a quote. We received no response to our email that we needed to write to them. We bought another policy and now we have a demand for the full amount. We have quoted loi chatel and loi Hamon. Can we cancel the policy as they didn’t notify us of our rights? They are pushing for payment in full.

    • Philip |

      Try to resolve the issue with your insurer, the resources above should help. Ensure all correspondence is sent recorded delivery and in writing. What is the insurers complaints procedure? There is also the insurance ombudsman in France who may advise http://www.service-public.fr/langue/english/ If insurers make it so difficult to cancel a policy, it begs the question how would they respond to a claim? The ombudsman and being able to simply lapse a policy is just one of the benefits of a UK insurer.

      • Laura |

        Yes thanks for the reply. We have sent another email asking why the premium is more than double that we paid for an alternative and why our rights and cancellation procedure were not outlined in the renewal notice. I believe this is a requirement. We have also asked why our cancellation email was ignored. We quoted loi Hamon which was passed early last year bringing the law in line with the UK protecting consumers but unfortunateley as they pointed out it isn’t operational until later in the year.

        • Louise Sovig |

          I sold my mobile home on the 29 Sept and wrote to the insurance company informing them that I wouldn’t be renewing the insurance due on 15 October but that the new owner wanted to take it over. I gave full details of the new owner who also contacted the insurance company to confirm this. So, I was surprised and not happy to receive a final demand for the the full year’s premium plus 10 euros for late payment. I do not think that there was any information on the renewal quote regarding any cancellation timescales either. I have been insured with the same company since 2000 and although I have asked on several occasions, I have never been sent the policy details. I am inclined to simply ignore it but wonder what powers they actually have to recover this money? I can’t believe they can simply mug you for money you shouldn’t owe. I could hardly cancel the policy in advance of the final signing which could have fallen through at the 11th hour?

  • Martin Paul |

    We sold our house in Vendee, France in May. Thinking the “notaire” would notify the house insurance co we merely let the policy lapse but subsequently received a demand for payment from them. We have now sent them the “attestation de vente” proof of sale but they are now perusing us via debt collectors. Do we have to pay and does anyone know what would happen if we simply ignored them?

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