As it is coming to the summer, I decided to do an article on camping car. Let’s face it, what can be better than strolling around the French countryside or the rest of Europe stopping and travelling where you want!!  So, what is the difference between Camping car and car insurance??

  1. Who is insured and where: This is the same as car insurance. In France, it is the camping car that is insured so everybody can drive it as long as they have a valid driving licence and have authorization to drive it. But note that if someone else drives your camping car and crashes , it is YOUR no claim discount that is affected and not theirs. On some policies, there is an additional excess on top of the one you already have if it was not a named driver that crashed the car (with Allianz, 750 euro on top of your normal one).

It is a legal obligation to have a motor vehicle insured even if you don’t use it. If someone steals it and kills someone with it, you are responsible, so you must insure it for at least public liability.

Camping car insurance also automatically covers trailers up to a certain weight (750kg with Allianz). Caravans and trailers above 750kg must have their own number plates and insurances (and registration paperwork).

Finally, your camping car insurance in France does not cover you to drive someone else’s car in the UK! Your camping car however is insured everywhere in Europe and beyond. The list of countries is on the back of your green proof of insurance.

And we don’t need to know when you are going abroad! So please stop telling us!

  1. No Claim discount/Bonus malus: In France, you need to have 13 years without a claim to be entitled 50% discount. 50% is the maximum discount. If you had 50% bonus for more than 3 years, you keep your maximum discount after an accident that is your fault (a little thank you for being so good for so long!).

 We accept no claim certificates from the UK. We also have protected bonus. You need to have been at 50% for 3 years and it is transferred if you change your insurance company.

  1. Excess /Franchise: Like most insurances, you can choose to have or not have an excess (affects your premium). If the accident is not your fault and the culprit (third party) is identified, you have no excess to pay. If your car is stolen, you have an excess. The excess can be different depending on the claim (always check your contract).
  2. Fully comprehensive/Third party: Fully comprehensive is the same as in the UK, you and the camping car are insured whether it is your fault or not. Third party means that your camping car is not covered for an accident (only public liability) if it is your fault, and it has different levels of cover. Some include glass breakage, theft and fire, some don’t. Check your contract.
  3. Glass breakage / Bris de glace: The excess is less for glass breakage, and it covers windscreens, windows and headlights but does NOT include wing mirrors and backlights.
  4. Breakdown cover/ Assistance 0km ou 25km: You can have breakdown cover (recovery up to 180€) from 0km (your front door-home start) or from 25km, meaning if you break down at only 5km from your house, it is not covered (with Allianz). For the recovery, the camping car is taken to the closest garage (not always the one you want). If the repair takes less than 2 days, the insurance pays the hotel, otherwise, the insurance pays to take you home or where you were going with your camping car. The insurance then pays for you to pick up your camping car (only one person) once it is repaired.
  5. Replacement vehicle: You can have this option added to your contract. With Allianz, it’s about 6 euro more per month. There is a limit on the length of time for the replacement and it depends if it is breakdown, theft or accident. For camping car, the replacement vehicle will not be a camping car but a category C car which is like a 3008 Peugeot.
  6. Content: Content for camping car insurance is obviously important as you will have much more than what you have in car!! (Cutlery, clothes, toasters, etc!!). Therefore, it is automatically included. With Allianz, for a 50 000 euro camping car, content is 15 000 euro, down to 5 000 for theft without theft of the camping car itself. Equipment( like an awning) is also covered but it is included in the value of the camping car.
  7. Claims /Sinistres: In case of an accident, make sure that you fill in an agreed statement of facts on motor vehicle accident (Constat in French). Make sure you always have one in the car and don’t sign it if you disagree with it. I strongly advise that you prefill it with your personal details and insurance details so that it is easier when you have an accident (usually people are a bit stressed and panicky!). Also, always fill one in even if the other person involved tells you if they want to do this amicably or have no insurance. DO NOT TRUST PEOPLE!! And take pictures. We all have mobile phones that have a camera.

There is an emergency helpline (they speak English) for breakdown, accident, etc. but also make sure you have the number on you even if you are not using your car as it includes repatriation. The number is written on your green paperwork proof of insurance. Note that the breakdown fee will not be reimbursed if you do not phone them (unless it was organized by emergency services due to an accident). Neither will the replacement car be allowed (if you took out the option) if you don’t follow proper procedure (Just phone them before you do anything).

Compensation for death or injury is decided by the French code of law and the amount is calculated in accordance with the level of importance of injuries or grief. E.g.: the death of a father of 5 children will be better compensated than the one of a 100 years old without any family.

Note that you will not get compensation for death or injury or for the car/camping car if you took the vehicle without permission of the owner or if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol before the accident. And you will have to pay for the compensation and damages you have caused to others! So, do not drink and drive! Basically, the insurance does not work!!

  1. UK number plates: Under European law, you have 1 month to change your number plate to French plate. With Allianz, we do insure on UK plates but you have to follow the law and change your number plate to French plate within the 1 Months. But we are very lenient (let us face it, it is impossible to do it within one Month with this new Ants system!!). However, note that if you go back to the UK in a camping car on UK plate with French insurance, you will get fined as not having insurance as our system is not recognized in the UK by the Automatic recognition plate system.
  2. Premiums: It is calculated taking lots of different facts into account: The model of the camping but especially its value, price of replacement bits, horse power, the date it was first on the road, nationwide statistic of theft, what option you chose (third party, fully comprehensive, replacement car, excess, etc.). You can reduce the premium if you do less than 9000, 7000 or 4000km per year.

If, like my lovely English husband, you think French drivers are dreadful (OK I drive too close to the camping car in front but it is only because they are too slow!!), then make sure you are properly insured and check your option on your contract.

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