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).
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.
Because you can't insure against all eventualities, you can at least tool up with some modern technology to help you face unexpected crises. Install the Red Cross First Aid app on your mobile - in either French or in English - and have access to first-rate first aid advice!
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.
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.
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.
If you are in business as an auto-entrepreneur, then from January 2016 you are required to have professional insurance. Each time you issue a quote (devis) or a bill (facture) you will need to mention your policy’s reference number.
This form of insurance comes in many guises, but can include:
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.
There’s been a lot in the press recently about the new requirement for smoke detectors/alarms to be fitted in residential property (whether owned or rented – the owner’s obligation in both cases). So we thought we’d help clarify some of the conflicting reports about this.
Of the five basic covers often found in a house insurance policy (fire, water damage, theft, glass and civil liability), the cover for theft is the most likely to cause dissatisfaction and frustration.