Insuring your car
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It is often quite difficult to find the right insurance company and one needs therefore to gather enough informations to be able to choose the most appropriate insurance cover.
One will need to identify which needs should be covered by defining current and future financial status:
if work is the only source of income and one has only one car being also used for professional purposes, the insurance policy should provide a complete risks cover, offer a replacement vehicle if the car breaks down and refund the car's initial purchase price in cas of total loss (theft, destruction, etc)
if the vehicle is quite old, has no real resale value and is kept only as a backup car in case the other more valuable car breaks down, then one should opt for a basic protection insurance coverage (loss damage or mileage based)
every year, one should review each car's real insurance coverage needs well before one needs to renew the insurance policy
You should assess the various types of insurance coverage in line with your requirements:
"tiers" or "tierce collision" basic insurance is the minimum legal level of insurance required in France for any owner of a vehicle; this only covers damage caused to an identified third party and does not cover the policy holder's car for any damage incurred
"all risks" insurance covers damages to both the identified third party and the policy holder (subject to a possible waiver) whether or not the policy holder is responsible for the accident; however be aware that risks such as fire, theft, broken windows, etc., require separate additional coverage
"mileage-based" insurance, providing "tiers" or "all risks" coverage, means that the policy holder must not exceed a yearly low preset mileage in order to get a more attractive price
"collector" insurance usually provides only "tiers" coverage and is strictly reserved for classic cars over 30 years old
"driver" insurance covers the policy holder against any personal injury sustained while driving the insured car
Note that insurance coverage cost depends on 3 factors: the driver's previous driving record, the vehicle's make and model as well as what and where is the vehicle being used for (professional, collector vehicle, town, countryside, etc.). A young driver will benefit from using his or her parents car's insurance coverage (do inform your insurance about it) as this young driver's good track record will become quite useful whenever that young driver will buy a car, given that an accident-free driving record is the best way to reduce the cost of an insurance policy. Moreover, the vehicle's make and model along with its engine capacity are important factors. Each make and model undergoes a risk classification determined by its safety record, reparability in the event of an accident, replacement value and level of anti-theft protection. If you are not sure about which make and model of car to buy, this ranking (request it from your insurance) may help you to make a better choice. Besides these three factors, various other elements may lower your insurance bill. For "all risks" coverage at the lowest possible cost, you may decide that the policy will only compensate the policy holder for claims in excess of 1,000 euros. Similarly, if you have a fine credit card or a good home insurance policy, you should check that car breakdown towing assistance costs are not already covered. Finally, if you pay your insurance payments monthly, you can negotiate direct debit payments with no additional fees or extra charges.
Before getting any price quotation, check to see if you fall into one of these priviledged categories such as, for example, civil servants and their mutual insurance company, women drivers (who usually are quite safe drivers) and prestige car fans. In the worst case scenario, if you are not a great driver, you can always get a quote from the SOS Malus insurance company.
As soon you are ready to search for a good price, request for quotations in order to get the best deal but do not forget beforehand to check the french insurers' main contracts classification rating. Your first enquiries should be made to your regular insurance and to your car dealer as they usually offer professional and quality services because they want to secure your customer loyalty. Don't forget to consult your bank which may offer good policies at reasonable prices. Then, you should get quotes from insurance prices comparison websites such as Empruntis and also Kelassur and Netassurances. Make sure to request offers from insurances online websites, the main ones being Direct Assurance (a subsidiary of Axa), Eurofil (a subsidiary of Abeille Assurances) and Nexx (a MAAF subsidiary).