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Insuring and towing caravans and trailers

Here's a seasonal reminder about the regulations concerning the towing of caravans and trailers, and the use of roof boxes. It's holiday time, so master the small print before you hit the road! Most of these details are covered by French law, but some are mentioned specifically in your auto insurance policy the details of which, as ever, we encourage you to check from time to time (and most certainly at each renewal).

Speeding and radar detectors

It's time to sharpen up on French speed limits - and the possible penalties. Last year's roll-out of thousands of dummy speed cameras, the resurgence of increasing road fatalities, and the arrival of the summer's dash to the beach should prompt us to recall the risks and our obligations.

The Single European Emergency Number 112

Residents of France know that they can call for help by dialling 18 for les sapeurs-pompiers, 15 for le Samu (service d'aide médicale urgente) and 17 for the police. The pompiers are called for help with fires, road accidents, and emergencies, including medical ones.

The Samu is the national ambulance service for providing rapid on-site acute medical care. Calls to both are free. Mostly just French is spoken, but this varies. Their respective call centres will know the caller's location either from their land-line number or from their mobile's GPS.

Summer storms

With summer upon us and the season of storms being here again, it’s worth doing two things: (A) checking your insurance policy’s details for cover for storm damage (not all policies are the same) and (B) keeping in mind the things that you can do to be prepared.

Your local mairie may have a system for notifying residents when particularly violent storms have been announced. Météo France’s website also offers postcode-specific warnings.

Ten percent premium discount when a dashcam is used

On-board video cameras or dashcams (caméras embarquées pour voitures) are increasingly popular. You see them a lot in England. YouTube is awash with lurid footage taken by them in Russia, a country where it's probably wise to use them. They are not often seen in France, but this may change. After all, when did you last visit a car accessory shop that didn't sell dashcams?

To encourage this trend, Prevencia now offers a generous 10% discount on car insurance premiums where the car insured has a dashcam fitted, working and in use.

Asking the police to keep an eye on your house when you go away

Each year the Ministry of the Interior renews its Opération Tranquillité Vacances and this year is no exception. As a householder, you are invited to inform your local gendarmerie of your planned holiday absence so that your property can be added to their rounds. The gendarmes are then supposed to tour around randomly, having a quick look at each of the properties they’ve been informed about. The objective is to deter burglars by their being out and about.

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