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Compare travel insurance for France

Us Brits have a complicated fascination with all things French. Maybe it’s because we’re so close – less than 21 miles in places. But a sense of familiarity is no excuse to skip travel insurance. Here’s why you’ll need it for your trip across the channel, and how to get the right deal.

Us Brits have a complicated fascination with all things French. Maybe it’s because we’re so close – less than 21 miles in places. But a sense of familiarity is no excuse to skip travel insurance. Here’s why you’ll need it for your trip across the channel, and how to get the right deal.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
22 DECEMBER 2022
6 min read
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Do I need travel insurance for France? 

OK, so, to be honest, it’s not compulsory. But travel insurance for France offers cover if you have an accident or fall ill while you’re away, or lose your luggage or have your passport stolen, for example.

And while nobody exactly plans for a holiday crammed with problems, travel insurance gives you peace of mind if something does go wrong.

How much does travel insurance for France cost? 

The cost of your individual policy depends on your equally individual circumstances. That includes your age, medical history and even your holiday plans. If you’re going skiing or mountain climbing, for example, you’ll probably need to pay a bit more.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What will France travel insurance cover? 

Here’s what to look for when you compare France travel insurance: 

Medical care

Your policy should cover the cost of any medical treatment if you have an accident or fall seriously ill. It should also cover the cost of medical repatriation to the UK if you need it, which could otherwise carry a massive bill.

Holiday cancellation

If there’s a valid reason you can’t go on your trip – such as illness – cancellation cover means you’ll be able to claim back your costs. Make sure you’ve got enough cover not to leave you out of pocket – add up the cost of flights, ferry or train tickets and hotels, as well as any pre-booked activities. Look out for curtailment cover too, which would have your back if similar reasons mean you have to abandon your holiday mid trip.

Flight cancellation

Some travel insurance policies will cover you if your flight is cancelled, but you may find there are conditions attached. If you’re delayed, always keep all paperwork, a record of events and anything else that could come in handy if you need to claim.

Ferry cancellation

If you’re travelling by ferry from Dover to Calais, look out for cover for ferries. If your ferry trip is cancelled or delayed due to adverse weather conditions, mechanical breakdown or strike action, you may be covered. 

Train cancellation

If you’re travelling to Paris on the Eurostar, check cover for delayed or cancelled trains. This could also include cover for mechanical breakdown or strike action. 

Damage, loss or theft of your luggage

If you had to replace the contents of your suitcase, the cost would quickly add up once you factor in your tech, jewellery, toiletries and clothes. Make sure your policy has enough baggage cover to reimburse you if you need to replace it all.

Coronavirus cover

When you get a travel insurance quote with us, it’s easy to compare levels of COVID-19 cover. Just use the ‘more details’ option on the quote results page. 

Top tip

Most of us are pretty rubbish at accurately assessing the value of our possessions for the sake of insurance. So, when it comes to totting how much it would cost to replace your stuff if it was lost, damaged or stolen, go through everything you expect take away with you, category by category, adding up as you go along. Tech, clothes, accessories, that kind of thing. Then you know you’re about right if anything comes a cropper.

What won’t my French travel insurance cover? 

There are a few things to watch out for that your travel insurance probably won’t cover, including: 

  • Pre-existing medical conditions that you haven’t told your insurance provider about. You’ll need to declare any pre-existing conditions, and the provider will decide whether to offer you cover and on what basis. Don’t be economical with the truth to lower the price though - it isn’t worth it.
  • Natural disasters - You’d have to be pretty unlucky to experience an event like an earthquake during your trip to France, but climate change means other events like flooding and wildfires are happening with increasing frequency. They’re still very unusual, and it’s even less likely that you’d get caught up in one. Depending on your level of cover, you may not be covered against natural disasters.
  • Terrorism - France has been the focus of terrorist attacks in the past, though again, these are rare events. Take a look at our information on terrorism and travel insurance to find out more.
  • Drugs or alcohol - If something happens and you’re found to be under the influence of drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol, it’s unlikely that your policy will cover you.

What else should I consider when I choose my travel insurance? 

Think about how you’re planning to spend your trip. Depending on what you’re doing, you may need to add extra cover for: 

Winter sports

If you’re set to join thousands of other Brits hitting the Alps for a spot of skiing or snowboarding during your trip, be aware that most insurance companies consider these sports high-risk activities. A standard travel insurance policy won’t usually cover them, so you’ll have to bolt on an extra layer of protection in the form of winter sports cover.

Extreme sports

What about a bit of bungee jumping or rock climbing while you’re in France? Sounds fun. Just make sure you have additional cover for extreme sport insurance.

Water sports

Then there are the sea-level activities. If you’d like to try surfing or paddle-boarding while you’re in France, you should check the policy wording and find out if it's included as standard. If not, you'll need to add water sports cover to your travel insurance policy.

Do I need a visa for France?

If you’re a British citizen, you can stay in France without a visa for up to three months. If you’re there for any longer, you’ll need to apply for a visa at the French Embassy. 

Don’t forget to check that your passport has at least three months to run after the date you intend to leave France. 

More details about the entry requirements for France can be found on the GOV.UK website, including rules on COVID-19 vaccines and testing.

Any other tips for travel to France? 

Fortunately, there isn’t too much to worry about when visiting one of our closest neighbours, but here’s a few things to know.

  • Currency: the euro. Check in with your bank and find out about any ATM and overseas card charges before you go.
  • Language: French, naturellement. English is widely spoken in big cities but if you speak some French, your effort will be appreciated. Dust off those school-aged skills and give it a go.
  • Vaccines: if you’re up to date with your jabs, you should be okay.
  • Tipping: restaurants and bars include a 15% service charge, so there’s no need to leave more. But if your service was especially good, tips are very welcome.
  • Train travel: train tickets in France are usually cheapest when they first go on sale, around three months before the departure date. It’s one of the fastest, easiest and lowest carbon ways to get to the Continent too.

Where can I compare travel insurance quotes?

Funny you should ask! Just tell us what you need and we’ll compare a wide range of travel insurance providers to make sure you get the right level of cover for your trip. Bon voyage!

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need travel insurance if I’m driving to France?

Yes, no matter how you’re getting there, it’s well worth considering getting travel insurance for your trip to France. That’s because travel insurance covers far more than the journey there and back. It also covers healthcare and medical expenses, your belongings and accommodation.

If you’re taking your own car to France, you'll also need the right car insurance. All UK car insurance policies provide you with third party cover for driving in Europe, but may limit how long you’re covered for – 90 days in a year, for example. See more on European driving insurance.

You may also want to consider breakdown cover. Check your policy details and make sure it includes roadside assistance. There are other features you might want to consider too. For example, do you want your vehicle brought back to the UK if it can't be repaired?

Drivers in France need to abide by other rules too, like a displayed UK sticker, and carrying a fluorescent jacket and warning triangle in case of breakdown.

Do I need travel insurance for a day trip to France?

When you compare travel insurance with Compare the Market, you must select at least a one night stay to find a policy. If you're looking for insurance for a day trip, you may need to look for a specialist provider.

Do I still need travel insurance if I have an EHIC/GHIC?

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), gives you access to state-provided medical treatment in France, should you need it. But in an emergency, you could be transferred to a private hospital, which your EHIC or GHIC won’t cover. It also won’t cover you if you need to be repatriated home. 

Now Britain has left the European Union, you can no longer apply for an EHIC card, but if you already have one, it’s still valid until it expires. 

The UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC, which should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC offers the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.

Obviously, a GHIC or EHIC doesn’t give you any of the other, non-medical cover that a travel insurance policy does, like cancellation or possession cover.

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