Do you know how to cancel insurance in France?

We have had our house in France for seven years and have dutifully paid the insurance every year without question even though every year it has exponentially risen ... however, this year we believe it has got too expensive and have cast around for an alternative quote.

I am now told by my insurance company that according to the law in France I have to give them two months notice by REGISTERED LETTER before I can cancel. Does anyone know if this is true and if so, why? Surely it's up to me who I choose to insure my property?

Would appreciate your comments.

In my experience Leeanne AXA are dreadful. But I think it all depends on the agent you have.

I actually wrote quite a long response to this but the blogging software ate it. maybe it will resurface.


Shirley, Because an insurance policy is a legal document it has to be in French in France and it has to be the French version that is signed.

However, I could recommend an excellent insurance and reinsurance brokerage, who are cover-holders for Lloyds of London, who will supply documents in English for information purposes only. The actual contracts have to be in French, as I explained above. They also speak English and I have found them to be very good and honest and straightforward. I don't think they are the cheapest, but in this world you do tend to get what you pay for. I have been insured through them for over 15 years, had three claims which were paid out promptly without argument. I think you could say they have an 'old fashioned' outlook to how things should be done, in detail and properly, which I like.

Hello Shirley, well I suggest you take out a subscription to the bilingual helpline. That way you will have a fully bilingual and experienced interpreter/translator, advisor and problem solver at you fingertips 7 days a week. You will be able to instantly contact the helpline by telephone, by email and even with Skype by appointment. Just click on the advert tile on the right of this page to get started. If you want to chat about it before you join you can phone the Infoline number you will find at the bottom of every page on the site. Look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for that Catharine.

I know it has been of considerable help to many people. I just wish more people would use it before they get into a mess rather than as a last resort after the mess has happened. Still, it makes for an interesting and sometimes challenging life with a telephone welded to my ear 24/7!

Just checked out your site Tim (via the advert on the right!) - what a brilliant, simple and useful idea! I wish I'd been able to access something like this when I first came to France. And I may well yet use your services....!

Hello Bryan,

Thant is not quite correct. First read the small print in the contract headed something like 'Résiliation'. This will tell you what you agreed to when you signed the contract. It should also mention at which point an increase in premium, year on year, also allows you to cancel the contract. The Loi Chatel applies to car insurance as well, so just take some advice from someone that knows. Good luck.

if it anything like car insurance you have to give 3 months notice

John, small important point,

it is not illegal to have no house insurance in France if you are the owner. It is strongly recommended to have a minimum third party ( assurance tiers) insurance to cover damage or injury to visitors and trespassers.

If you are renting then it is obligatory under the loi de Quillot of 1982 to have insurance to cover damage you may do to landlords property and chattels. Voilà.

Ok Tina thanks for that. So your problem here is:

1. You have no proof of the posting date of the renewal letter - only a 'guess' at the 15th November.

2. In this case the insurance company can insist on going by the date on the letter and since this gives you 20 days from then to cancel under the Loi Chatel, this brought you to the 25th November - which has gone.

3. If you were right about the date stamp on the envelope - date stamp and not the date it was delivered, then you would add 20 days to the 15th November and arrive at the 5th of December - which has also passed!

So not so good really.

My advice, if you have not already done so, is call their bluff, send a cancelation letter under the Loi Chatel and see what happens, always knowing that for this year you are on shifting sands. The only other thing you could do is get someone like me to talk to the insurance company and twist their arm, but not before you have:

a) Sent the cancellation letter in proper form and RAR, and
b) Received a written refusal from the company with their reasons for refusing your cancellation.

Sorry I can't be any more positive or helpful than that in your case.

Lesson for everyone who reads this KEEP THE ENVELOPES!!

Best of luck, Tim

You're right Tim, I'm not understanding. I think so much has been said in this thread now that I'm more confused than ever!!! Right, the dates are:

1. 5th November

2. Can't remember exactly (yes, yes I know I should have kept it but at the time I was so disillusioned I wasn't going to bother to fight this year) but it was about 10 days later so about 15th November

3. 21st December

In previous years when I've tried to cancel early they have told me I MUST wait until they have sent the renewal letter, then when I've waited they've told me I must give 2 months notice. Which brings me back to my original comment - my reps deliberately send the renewal with less than 2 months to the renewal date to ensure I cannot cancel! didnt tell me you arranged your insurance face to face...say no more, the charm offensive obviously worked!

Its just my natural good looks and boyish charm Carol

well John by the law of averages, someone has to be having a competent service, I think you may be the one with a great service.....our experiences, mainly, apart from our first claim for flood damage, has been terrible.

Well thats the total oposite what happened to myself i contacted Credit Agricole who told me about the 21 days the girl asked for the envelope the renewal came in to be sure of the date to be scanned and e mailed to her i excepted their insurance quote which was with Pacifica and 100€ less than AXA only contact i had with any parties after that was to telephone AXA for proof of my NCB which i recieved and posted to Credt Agricole all the documents from Pacifica were received less than a week later no jumping through hoops or registered letters two weeks later the car had a broken windscreen contacted Pacifica who rang up the local body shop made an appointment then rang me back to give me the details

Nope Steve, profanities are banned - sorry. Swear words would be OK though!

Can I just get this clear?

1.You already had a policy which came up for renewal on the 20th November (my birthday!) this year 2012.

2.You received the renewal notice by post, with the envelope dated 29th November 2012 and,

3.The renewal letter dated the 20th November.

4. Does the renewal letter have, probably in small print somewhere near the bottom and difficult to find have a paragraph which says:

"Votre contrat est renouvelé chaque année automatiquement, par tacite reconduction. Si vous souhaitez ne pas le reconduire, vous disposez, quelles que soient les dispositions de votre contrat, d’un délai de vingt jours suivant l’envoi du présent avis d’échéance, le cachet de La Poste faisant foi. Votre demande doit nous être adressée par lettre recommandée."

And finally,

is that an accurate summary of the facts in your case?

Tina, you are not quite understanding the situation. It is YOU who has to give an absolute minimum of 2 months notice by registered post if you wish to cancel. Not your insurance company that has to give you 2 months notice.

You state your renewal is dated the 5th November for a contract that expires/comes up for renewal on the 21st December. Is that the date printed on the renewal letter or the date printed by the post office (La Poste) on the envelope containing the renewal letter? It is THE ENVELOPE that counts.

So, what are the various dates?

1.Date on the renewal 'demand' letter?

2. Date on the envelope containing the renewal demand ?,

and finally

3.Date of expiry/tacit renewal of the existing contract?.

Let me know please. Tim

Thanks for this clarification Tim.

It just goes to show how bad my insurance reps are - the renewal is dated 5th November when the contract renews on 21st December. That doesn't allow 2 months regardless of when it was posted! Not only did they hold onto it for a week before posting it, but they weren't even savvy enough to backdate it to conform!!!