Buying a car in france for all family to use - Insurance?


Ryanair fights to Bergerac can be cheap, but hiring a car for our time in france is not. The benefit of the cheap flight is lost.

So we are thinking of buying a cheapish car in france. The idea is that we would use it when we were there, but our family could also drive it when they come over. It would then mean we didnt have to be the chauffeur for all guests.

I am sure we are not the first to down this route. It would appear to be viable because I have been led to believe, that it is the car that is insured rather than the driver. Is that correct? Alomst seems too good to be true.

Possibly there are restrictions on drivers ages? Or on the number of potential drivers?

Could anyone offer advice on the best way to check what is possible and where to get outline costs from, bearing in mind we dont have a car or registration number to base anything on?

Thank you

If booked in advance car hire is as little as 10 euros a day. Briefly it was a lot more but prices seemed to have returned.

Compare prices here:

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Opinions differ as to whether a non-resident can buy a car in France. There are plenty of people on Fossebook who will tell you you can. The law is confusing for some, but the informed consensus is that you can’t.

The short answer is no, not possible.

To register a car here you need to be domiciled (ie fully live) here, and be able to access the ANTS site to complete the registration. And to do this you need to provide your fiscal number and social security number. Unless you are resident you won’t have these.

People do use 3rd parties to get round this, but it is dodgy.

And then you have the problem of people with non EU licences, who are not on the carte grise, driving your car as most insurances will not provide cover.

Hire cars via supermarkets and so on.

(Oh, and there’s no such thing as a cheapish car in France! Well one that is in anyway reliable. Plus the cost of leaving it an an airport car park)

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Hi Jane,

I usually find myself in agreement with your well-researched posts, but not in this case.

I am a French resident with a French registered car, and my (French) insurers have confirmed that my policy covers all drivers who have a valid licence. I explained that these would be UK licences and they confirmed that was not a problem at all. There would be a higher excess to pay if the driver was (for instance) under 25 but other than that, no restrictions based on licence.

And I have never heard of drivers only being allowed if their names are on the carte grise - could you please check your source for this?


I asked before summer as had UK friends visiting and got a no answer (or possibly no unless you pay extra, didn’t check that as wasn’t prepared to pay extra for a couple of days).

So I guess then depends on insurance company. Ours is fine for all over 25 yr old from EU countries only and with the standard cover. It’s just me and OH who get the full comprehensive cover with low franchise.

Polite disagreements are fine! Adds to the depth of knowledge.


I think that previously non-residents could not register cars in France but also know for an absolute fact that my English friends with a holiday home in the village do have such a car. When I raised the matter with them they indignantly (because they have faced this disbelieving questioning before) assured me that all that was asked for was a French address.

Of course this may have swung back again, but I know they are still running that car here to this very day because I have just seen them. :smiley:


Just because it happens doesn’t mean its legal.

Mark Rimmer, who is the expert on these things, says it is 100% not ok.

Can you have more than one name on a carte gris?

You can have insurance for named drivers only - I have one such car where only one other driver is covered. I do not though know, and have not asked, what happens if someone else drives the car…

Our latest car is in both our names as makes it easier if one of us dies (cheery people we are!). OH still addressed as Mr Jones at garage tho’.

And our policy allows other drivers with reduced cover as above.

So how could they have done it if it wasn’t legal? They are not street smart criminals but an elderly couple who visit each year to the max allowed since Brexit and the rest of the time live quietly in their rural retreat in Rutland. Hardly master criminals who could work their way around complex foreign laws.

Nevertheless I’ll ask for more details next time as I will be seeing them soon because they are renting their house to my son and his kids for Christmas.

I am pretty sure a non-resident can buy a car as long as they have an address in France.
See this.
Eplaque is a respected organisation?

All advice from this forum is appreciated, but a little more about the question about HOW to check what is possible would be really helpful.

@JaneJones - our friends in france will pick us up and deliver us back to the airport so no parking costs.

Cheapish is a relative term!


There you go @JaneJones, excatly what my friends said, proof of ID and address, that’s all.

Unfortunately for me, only OH name was on the CG for the family car so the Notaire had to get the children to sign it over to me and that they were not interested in selling it to get their share and then I had to apply for a new carte grise in my name. This happens in french successions with cars etc if the survivor is not on the paperwork!

Thanks @Mat_Davies . It’s about £180 / €200 for seven days in November through ebookers. Still a lot of money, pariculary as we usually stay more than a week.

Only myself and my son are mentioned on my car insurance. It kept the cost down too.

Curiously in the UK, we added more people to our insurance policy and the cost went down also.

There is another thread, where the question of a Foreigner with French second-home wanting to register a car here… was thrashed. either early this year or late last year.

There is/was the Official answer from Fr government folk… saying the French Secondhome Address was where the Car Resides permanently (not the Car-Secondhome Owner)…in which case French Immatriculation is OK…

I’ll try and find the link…


Techniquement, une personne qui a son adresse principale en Grande-Bretagne, en Belgique, aux États-Unis ou dans tout autre pays du monde peut faire la carte grise d’un véhicule en France à l’adresse de sa seconde résidence. Tout simplement parce qu’un [justificatif de domicile] suffit. Le statut de résidence du demandeur n’est pas vérifié. À ce titre, une personne en situation irrégulière est même en mesure de faire légalement une carte grise.

Cependant, est-ce vraiment légal ? Par exemple, on ne peut pas immatriculer un véhicule à l’adresse de sa résidence secondaire. En effet, le Code de la route spécifie que la carte grise doit être faite à l’adresse du domicile du demandeur. Qu’entend-on par domicile ? Selon le Code civil, « le domicile de tout Français, quant à l’exercice de ses droits civils, est au lieu où il a son principal établissement. »

So there is a greyness that can be interpreted either way!

So a French resident can only register a car at their principal address, but a non-resident can get away with it as it’s their only address in France!

So back to eating hats.

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M Zoheir BOUAOUICHE sees no problem with a foreigner who owns a second home in France, registering a car at that French address…

This was confirmed in 2022, so is a totally new take on the old situation… :wink: :wink: