Living in France: How to Convert Your American Vehicle Insurance History

A close up of a hand

[Sponsored article] When moving overseas, you have to start organizing everything from scratch, and it can become overwhelming, to say the least. Registering with schools, dentists, doctors is bad enough! But when it comes to filing paperwork, things can start to get tricky. Factor in different country requirements, the French love of details, plus the difficulties involved in doing all this in a foreign language and you have the perfect storm!

Fabien from Fabfrenchinsurance, a car insurance broker in France, gives you advice –on insurance.

Insurance is a complex subject; policy details can be difficult to grasp at the best of times and with the complications mentioned above added into the mix, it’s not surprising that insurance coverage is one of the top three things that expatriates in France say causes them the most bother.

What’s not accepted in France?

All too often people assume that the information that is required in their home country to obtain insurance coverage will suffice. Unfortunately, this is rarely true and there is absolutely no point in supplying French insurers with documents that they simply won’t accept. Typical examples of documents that will not be accepted as proof of the previous coverage include a renewal letter or a quote or a renewal quote. This may sound insurmountable. But have no fear: once you understand exactly what French insurers require, you can supply them with just that and everything will fall into place.

What do French insurers expect?

Before you can take out a policy, all French insurers will need to see a comprehensive breakdown of your insurance history. In France they call this “un relevé d’informations” and it is personal to each insured driver. It is a legal document which covers the last three to five years (depending on the insurance company) and contains details of any incidents pertaining to the policy, claims made, vehicle characteristics and evidence of the “no claims bonus equivalent” –the “bonus-malus” or “CRM.” This document covers all the main points required by your new insurers ––namely, proof that there were no breaks in insurance, a precise list of any claims and proof of the no claims discount – NCD. They will also require a list of named drivers. French car insurance covers the vehicle rather than the driver; however, the insurers will still want to know who the main drivers are in case of any claim being made. This is also a benefit for the named drivers when it comes to taking out a policy later as they will already have insurance history.

The insurance history required must cover the previous three years and if you changed insurers during this period, a certificate showing the start and end date(s) of the various policies will be required from all of the insurers concerned. British insurance companies often provide this on the ‘proof of no claims’ discount certificate that can be supplied after the policy is cancelled. But in other countries, this might be something else like, for example, a state’s driver’s record in the U.S. for example.

The insurers will also want to see an unbroken period of insurance, with no gaps. Obtaining insurance coverage is still possible even with some breaks. But any period of over three months of interruption of coverage during the previous three years is likely to result in a hefty hike in the premiums. So, gaps are best avoided if possible!

As far as French insurers are concerned, seeing six years NCD on a quote or renewal notice is no guarantee that a claim wasn’t made during this time! They will require either a table providing details of all claims made or a statement that explicitly states that “no claims were made during the period of coverage.”


And, finally, some good news! As mentioned above, being a named driver on a policy helps when insuring your own vehicle, as you don’t need to have been a previous policy holder to obtain a discount. Happy motoring!


Shop around for a deal that is right for you in terms of coverage and cost. Using a car insurance broker who can choose policies from a whole range of insurance companies is a good idea. They will be able to clearly explain the options available, coverage levels provided and so on. This will save you both time and money. And, of course, stress!

Sponsored articles do not belong to the editorial team at Frenchly. They are provided or written at the request of the advertiser, who determines the content. 

A close up of a sign


Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Read more

Frenchly newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Frenchly Newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly stuff.