Travel Insurance for France

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14 Mar 2024

Buy travel insurance to France


France has a lot to offer, from the glamour of Paris to the world-famous food, its stunning scenery and its sun-kissed beaches. But to help your trip to France go smoothly, it’s worth looking at travel insurance for France as part of your planning.


Do I need Travel Insurance for France?


It’s not a legal requirement for visiting France, but travel insurance can provide peace of mind and protection for when things don’t quite go to plan.

As a Brit visiting France, you won’t automatically be able to use the French healthcare system in the same way an EU citizen can, and you’ll be charged for your medical expenses. Travel insurance can help make sure the costs are covered in medical emergencies.

Having travel insurance will protect you in a variety of other ways, including if:

  • Your trip is cancelled or cut short
  • Your stay is prolonged for any reason – such as your flight is cancelled and you need to stay extra days
  • You need to be brought back to the UK before your trip has ended (called being repatriated)
  • Your luggage, or other personal possessions, are lost or stolen


Do I need a Visa for France?


If you’re a British citizen, you can stay in France without a visa for up to 90 days during one trip in a 180-day period.

If you need to stay in France for longer than 90 days, you’ll need to request a visa from the French Embassy.

Be aware that if you’ve visited another Schengen Area country within 180 days of travelling to France, that stay may be counted towards your 90-day limit. If you have any questions about your trip, it’s best to check with the French Embassy.

If you’re planning on visiting France for less than 90 days, you won’t need a visa but you will have to make sure that:

  • Your passport was issued less than 10 years before the date you enter France
  • Your passport will be valid for at least six months after the day you travel to France

At the French border, you may also be asked to:

  • Show proof of where you’ll be staying, such as a hotel booking
  • Show a return or onward ticket
  • Prove you have enough money for your stay


Travel Insurance Policy Types for France


You have a range of options for travel insurance when visiting France, with different cover levels to choose from:



  • Annual travel insurance: a yearly European travel insurance policy will cover you for multiple trips to France as well as other EU destinations.


  • Family and couples travel insurance: if you’re travelling as a couple or a family, you may be able to get a better deal with couples and family insurance.


  • Gadget cover: your standard travel insurance policy may not cover gadgets like smartphones, tablets and cameras. Additional gadget insurance will make sure these items are properly covered.


  • Sports travel insurance: you may need a specific policy that covers sports if you’re planning on an active holiday in France. You’ll need this if you’re going skiing, snowboarding, climbing, cycling or playing tennis or golf.


What will France Travel Insurance cover?


Travel insurance policies will vary, but as standard, most European travel insurance will cover:


  • Most of the costs of medical care
  • The cost of being brought back to the UK for medical reasons (repatriation)
  • Holiday cancellation
  • Your holiday being prolonged
  • Flight cancellation or delays
  • Ferry cancellation or delays if you’re travelling from France by ferry
  • Train cancellation or delays if you’re travelling to France by Eurostar
  • Damage, loss, or theft of your luggage or other property
  • Coronavirus cover in case your plans are disrupted by lockdowns or other events
  • Personal liability – legal or other costs incurred if you're responsible for causing damage or injury to other people


What’s not covered by travel insurance for France?


Most standard European travel insurance policies will not cover:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions that you haven’t told your insurance provider about – you must tell your provider about any medical conditions you have. You may have to buy specialist travel insurance for people with certain medical conditions
  • Drugs or alcohol intoxication – if you have or cause an accident whilst under the influence of drugs or excessive alcohol, you likely won’t be covered
  • Natural disasters
  • Terrorism
  • Sports considered risky, like winter sports, mountain climbing and diving


How much is travel insurance for France?


The cost of your travel insurance policy will depend on your age, medical history and your holiday plans. Any optional extras you add including cover for specific activities, like mountain climbing or skiing will also affect the cost.


Skiing in France


France is an excellent – and popular – destination for winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding. If you’re heading over to the French Alps, the Jura Mountains, or the French Pyrenees to hit the slopes, you’ll need to make sure you’re properly covered.

Most insurance providers view winter sports as high-risk activities, and they often won’t be covered by standard travel insurance. You may have to buy a specific skiing or winter sports policy or add these activities to your standard travel insurance policy.


Healthcare in France


French healthcare is exceptionally good. But, as a British tourist in France, you won’t have the same access to the French health system that French citizens do (they pay compulsory health insurance in order to use it)[1].

This is why it’s worth considering travel insurance before you enter France, because if you need medical care and you don’t have insurance, you’d have to pay the full cost yourself.


Can I use a GHIC or an EHIC or in France?

As a UK citizen, you can apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) before you travel. It’ll give you access to emergency or other necessary healthcare in any EU country, either for free or at a lower cost. If you still have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can use it in place of a GHIC until it expires.

Do I still need travel insurance for France if I have a GHIC?

You should still think about travel insurance if you have a GHIC to be fully covered against medical expenses.

Whilst a GHIC will cover some medical emergencies, it won’t cover everything. If you require medical care in France, even with a GHIC, you could still be left with a big bill.

Travelling with prescription medication

If you run out of or lose your prescription medication in France, you’ll need to get a new prescription from a local French doctor to be able to get a refill from a local pharmacy. It’s a good idea to bring your prescriptions with you, and also a doctor’s note that explains why you’re taking the medication. This can help with getting an emergency refill as well as getting through border control when you’re travelling to France.


Driving in France


If you plan to drive in France, either by taking your own car or by hiring one, you’ll need to make sure you have the following with you in the car:

  • Your full UK driving licence
  • Your passport
  • Your insurance documents – your UK car insurance may cover you in EU countries, but check your policy to make sure

If you’re driving your own car in France, you’ll need:

  • Your car’s V5C certificate (vehicle log book)
  • GB stickers on your car (unless it’s equipped with EU number plates)
  • Beam deflectors on your headlights

To comply with French traffic law, you’ll need to have in the boot of your car:


  • Reflective safety jackets
  • Warning triangle
  • Breathalyser
  • Spare headlight bulbs
  • Snow chains if you’ll be driving through winter conditions[2]

You can usually buy these items as a single kit. Try searching for ‘driving in France kit’.

Seat belts

Just as in the UK, the driver and all passengers must wear seat belts. It’s the driver’s responsibility to make sure this is the case. You can be fined €135 for not wearing a seat belt, reduced to €90 if you pay the fine within 15 days[3].

Breaking down in France

If you break down on a motorway or toll road, you can use one of the orange emergency phones by the roadside to request your car be towed away.

If your French isn’t up to scratch, this could be difficult. And if you break down on a road that isn’t a motorway or a toll road, these phones won’t be available. To avoid a potential stressful situation, you could buy European breakdown cover before you leave.

Low emission zones

France has introduced low emission zones across 11 cities. To drive in these zones, you’ll need a windscreen sticker called a Crit'Air vignette, which costs only €4.61 (at the time of writing). If you drive and park in a low emission zone without a Crit'Air vignette sticker, you could be fined up to €135.

Check online to see whether you’ll be driving through a city with a low emission zone. You can apply online for a Crit’Air vignette sticker on the French government website.


Other Tips for Travelling to France


France is a straightforward country to travel to from the UK. Here are a few France holiday tips to help your holiday go without a hitch:


  • Currency: France uses the Euro. It’s a good idea to take some Euros with you so you have currency available before you arrive in the country.


  • Your bank cards: your VISA and Mastercard credit and debit cards should work in France. Check with your bank before you go to make sure this is the case and to understand any overseas charges.


  • Language: While English may be spoken by many locals, especially in tourism hotspots, any efforts you make to speak French will likely be appreciated. Dust off your school French and install a translation app on your phone to help as you go.


  • Vaccines: make sure you’re up to date with your vaccinations, just in case.


  • Tipping: most restaurants and bars will add a 15% service charge to the bill, so you won’t need to leave an extra tip unless you want to[4].



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France Travel Insurance FAQs

What travel insurance do you need for France?

Travel insurance isn’t mandatory for a trip to France, but it’s worth considering. Travel insurance can protect you against a range of potential mishaps, like delays and cancellations, the loss of your belongings and medical bills.


Do Brits need health insurance in France?

Health insurance isn’t a legal requirement for UK citizens visiting France for tourism, but you won’t be able to use the French public healthcare system for free. You’ll have to pay your own medical expenses if you don’t have travel insurance or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)..

Do I need travel insurance for skiing in France?

Accidents can happen when skiing, so it’s important to think about having travel insurance in place to cover any medical costs. The last thing you want if you’re helicoptered off the slopes is to have to cover the costs yourself. Not all European travel insurance policies will cover skiing and snow sports. You may have to opt for dedicated skiing and winter sports travel insurance.


Do I need an EHIC card for France?

You don’t legally need an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) card to visit France, but both an EHIC card (or the more recent GHIC card) and travel insurance can be a good idea to make sure you’re covered for all healthcare eventualities.

What do UK residents need to enter France?

If you’ll be staying in France for less than 90 days, you won’t need a visa. But you will have to make sure that your passport was issued less than 10 years before you enter France and that it’s valid for at least six months after the day you travel.

Do I need to carry my passport in France?

As a tourist, it’s a good idea to carry some form of photo ID with you at all times. Your passport is valuable though, so it’s sensible to leave it somewhere secure such as a safe in your hotel room, and carry another form of ID like your driving licence.

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