Any pointers to medical/vehicle insurance cover for the "gap" up to full residency

As I start with the nitty gritty of becoming permanent I’m trying to fathom the insurance angles, both health and motor. Currently still UK.

For motor insurance a UK policy covers 90 days in the EU standard but residency in France requires 183 days. Are people just living with the minimum only cover (after 90 days) or is there an insurer that offers some help anywhere? Own vehicle of course.

Similarly health medical cover. The EHIC will cover up to what the French would receive but that could still you leave open to the difference (covered by mutuelle in France) in medical costs for the treatment received. Again any insurers known to help here?

Note that all the medical/travel/accident policies I’ve read (and sadly that’s a lot now) all exclude motorised vehicles so no cover when on your sit on mower and exclude manual labour so no cover for DIY.

Has everybody just ignored this and hoped for the best?

No, not at all.

As per French regulations you can only remain in France as a visitor for 3 months, ie 90 days. After 90 days you no longer qualify for visitor status. If you stay beyond that period it’s assumed you intend to take up residence, and you can apply for healthcare and other resident rights. You will need to prove that you are “legally” resident, ie properly exercising your EU treaty rights which means you’re working, or on a pension, or if you’re economically inactive you need to show you have sufficient income not to become a burden on the state.

The criteria for fiscal residence in France are basically that France is the centre of your economic interests and/or your family life. Explained here: - you won’t see 180 days mentioned so forget all about 180 days. Occasionally it might come into the equation in the case of a person who owns homes and spends time in more than one country, that’s all. If you leave the UK and come to France with the intention of living here, 180 days don’t come into it. Once you have left the UK you’re no longer eligible to belong to the NHS; arguably you can continue using your UK EHIC for the three months that you’re entitled to stay here as a visitor but not beyond that, so you need to apply to join the French system or arrange private health insurance. You also need to re-register your car soon very after you arrive, and you must change to French insurance because most if not all UK insurers will not continue to cover you once you are no longer UK resident.

Hope this helps.

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You become a resident of France from the first day you arrive intending to settle. From that point you have one month to register your car in a France and officially cannot rely on your EHIC card for medical cover. The loophole here is only you know which of the many times that you have visited your French house is the one when it actually becomes your home. Arrive, get settled in, get your car registered here and insured with a local agent and arrange your health care. If you are planning to become a self employed worker that too will need sorting out.

That’s why I like this site, people actually KNOW the answer.

Thanks all, I’ve been led astray or misunderstood from somebody I’ve been relying on to get this straight. Back to the drawing board for me.

So I’ve read the 3mth documents and that’s clear-up to 3mths as visitor, after that something else.

I cannot see anywhere that I can start the process of residency immediately, ie get the car French registered, enroll in healthcare system, both before the 3mth expiry of visitor status.

Is that documented or something you’ve done yourself?

We have just done this last month. You should register your car as French within 30 days of your move to France. However it took us a bit longer but I wouldn’t leave it too long after your move, it was a worry every time we went in the car! One thing, our rhd car passed the controle technique with the headlight stickers to divert the beam, I’ve read other people replaced their headlights but it might not be necessary in all cases.

You don’t have to wait 3 months, just bring all your documents to CPAM office to apply for carte vitale, they accepted ours 2 weeks after arriving. Took a bit longer getting documents for car but we started it 7 weeks after arriving and had French plates a week later. For the car my husband had to go in person to the office too even though the Mairie said it’s now an online process. Do the CPAM stuff asap we still haven’t got our number…

You are supposed to register your car within the first month of it being in France. Health cover depends on how you are applying for it. If you are receiving health cover via an S1 or employment you can sort it out straight away. If, as an inactif, you apply through PUMA you can only do so after three months of stable residency. There is not a one size fits all mode. CT regulations do not allow for beam deflectors. If they ‘passed’ the first time it was an error, be prepared for them failing at the next test.

For all insurance requirements @Mike_Harvey we recommend @fabien He is our resident specialist and will be happy to advise.


Exactly, and as David says it’s what the “something else” is that makes a difference. The route to healthcare is different depending on your status - worker, retired or inactif. You end up with the same healthcare but the process to getting your carte vitale is different.

Don’t panic, the system works and it’s not complicated, you just have to follow the set of rules that apply to your situation. I guess you’re not going to be working so basically the question is, are you receiving your UK age pension yet, or not?

As far as registering cars go, you don’t need to be resident to do that. There are second homers who keep French reg cars here. At least you didn’t under the old system, they’ve introduced a new online system so not sure how it works any more.

You know I’ve got so involved with the fiscal rules, S1 no s1, early retirees, French changes that I got completely off track.

Checking again, I believe if you:

  1. are employed or self employed you can start heathcare process immediately
  2. are retired over 65 you can start the healthcare process immediately
  3. are “early” retired under 65 you WAIT for 3 months visitor status to pass then start healthcare process.

The only way for early retirees to start the healthcare process immediately is to become employed/self-employed.

So the people needing to pay real attention to this and likely to fall foul of vehicle insurance (and health possibly) are early retirees who have to wait 90 days as visitor and hence find their UK policies no longer cover them.

Yes you’re correct.
Although this being France, things can vary from one CPAM to another and some retirees on S1s have been asked to prove 3 months residence too.

To be pedantic, an early retiree can’t start the process immediately - if they become employed then they’re no longer an early reitree :wink:

The three months wait only applies to applying to government agencies for the rights and entitlements reserved for residents. It doesn’t apply to registering your car and it doesn’t apply to insurance. You don’t need to be resident to get car insurance here. Obviously the second home owners who have cars here, also have insurance.

The first three months seems to me a bit of a grey area, because although retrospectively the date you took up residence is the date you arrived, in fact until you’ve been here for those three months you are not regarded as resident. For instance if you arrive as an inactif with every intention of staying, and then you discover you hate France and go back home after one or two months, you will never have qualified as resident. Hence why in my interpretation you can use your EHIC for those three months, and I think that if you ask DWP, they will also say you can, though others say you can’t.

It is a grey area, bit like car insurance. You will not be uninsured after the 90 days , just wont have full cover. Some insurance companies offer longer than 90 days comprehensive European cover (Saga), some a lot less. Shop around and dont worry too much about any “gap”. The gendarmes aren’t going to be bothered by the occasional brit who hasn’t jumped through all the hoops within whatever time period.
They are more concerned that you don’t stop for long enough at a stop sign (was told to count to 4 ffs).

Any vehicle should have Insurance Cover at all times… it is easy to arrange… and if you go for the legal minimum, it is not expensive.

Speak with @fabien … he is excellent…


It’s important to make sure there are no gaps in your insurance from the day your car goes onto French plates, because when you apply for insurance they will ask for a copy of the carte grise and possibly the change of ownership form, which gives date of the change of ownership. If you’re applying for insurance after that date, they’ll ask who it’s insured with at present, and if it’s uninsured they’ll likely refuse to insure you. This is because continuous insurance is obligatory in France, and the rule is that if a vehicle is uninsured for a period and then owner takes out insurance again, that insurer is liable for any claims that crawl out of the woodwork in connection with the time when there was no insurance. And for all they know you could have driven into someone’s Rolls Royce during those few days when you weren’t insured. So if you somehow do end up in a situation where you own an uninsured vehicle, there would be lots of hoops to jump through to get an insurer to accept you.

I’m sure Fabien will explain all of this in more detail if necessary.


100% right and accurate, I wouldn’t have explained better :wink:


Just to add to the topic, the main issue is usually when you travel on and off the country. As you’re right to assume the UK will only cover you abroad for 90 days and once the limit has been breached you have to register for an insurance in the designated country you are going to. Problem is that it won’t be easy (meaning cheap) to get insured with British plates. Actually there are only two options, 1/ Insuring the vehicle with a proper French insurance (possibly cheap but the insurer will expect you to provide them with a French carte grise within a couple months at worst) or 2/ Go for a temporary insurance in France which will cost roughly the same as a yearly one but for a far more limited policy / amount of time. Happy to help if you’d like a more in-depth talk => Cheers,


Hi, we started the process as soon as we arrived, applying for health care,registering cars (3 of them, two are classics) insuring cars etc. We were able to take out insurance with AXA on our British registered car (UK plates) then once it was re-registered we just sent them a copy of the Carte Grise.

We used our EDF bill to prove where we lived and took copies of everything (birth/marriage certificate, driving licences, house purchase details everything!!) everywhere we went. It worked.

Good luck

you just need to show your not a burden on the state to become a resident. ie pension or working or just super rich.

When I first arrived we applied straight away but changed our minds after we realised it would stop my medical payments so waited the time out I bounced between here and the uk, As soon as i registered as self employed though I became a resident and its fairly straight forward.

These are great references. Does anybody have his contact details or the name of his company?