Having an automobile accident is never an easy situation to manage, and even less when it takes place abroad, while traveling with your personal vehicle.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it is best to consult the list of countries covered by your car insurer, located on the back of your insurance certificate (the green document that goes with the famous "green card").
France has indeed entered into agreements, by means of a multilateral guarantee agreement, with all the countries of the European Union plus a few others such as Switzerland, Norway or Iceland for example.
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Check your car insurance policy before leaving
If your place of destination is not mentioned on this list or if it is scratched, you will need to take out specific insurance once there.
If the country appears in the list, nevertheless remain vigilant because you may not benefit from the same coverage in France as abroad.
Your insurer may apply more restrictive guarantees outside the national territory.
However, this information does not appear on the green card but on your insurance contract received upon subscription.
The easiest way is to ask the question directly to your insurer on the internet or by phone.
Depending on the country, the insurer may tell you that certain guarantees are not applicable, for example the costs incurred in the event of the theft of your car or an accident: towing costs, repatriation costs for passengers, or even the vehicle, accommodation costs for the duration of the repairs, payment of a driver to repatriate the vehicle and its occupants, etc.
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Your insurer can also inform you that only the mandatory third-party liability cover applies in your country of destination, even though in France you are insured “all risks”.
If this is the case, you will therefore only be covered abroad for damage that your vehicle could cause to victims, which is legally the minimum compulsory insurance in many countries.
And if you cross several countries?
If your summer trip includes several countries crossed, remember to inquire for each country, as the conditions may vary from one country to another.
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Bring all your documents: green card, contact details of your insurer...
During a trip in the European Economic Area (EEA), the green card and the insurance certificate that goes with it, must be able to be presented in the event of an inspection by the police and a fortiori in the event of an accident.
In other countries, these documents may even be required when crossing the border.
It is also recommended to have with you the name and contact details of your insurer to be able to contact him, as well as an amicable report.
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These common objects are prohibited in some countries
The e-constat auto, the digital version of the paper report, has had legal value recognized in France since 1 December 2014. But it does not work abroad.
In the event of an accident with a foreign vehicle, you will therefore need to use a paper report.
It is customary for everyone to complete it in their own language.
If the opposing driver refuses to sign it, specify it on the report, collect the information on the vehicle and its driver and send it anyway to your insurer, within 5 days.
What legislation applies?
As a general rule, it is the legislation of the country of the place of the accident which applies to determine the responsibilities and the compensation for the damage suffered.