Major problems with top up health insurer

We have been trying to change insurers for 2 years and our present one has refused to cancel, last year because they said we were under a group scheme and therefore the Loi Chatel that gives you 20 days to cancel after your renewal notice didn't apply.

This year, we sent off the cancellation letter supplied by our new insurer, giving them over the 2 months required by law to cancel. They refused, saying that we did not put an actual date when we wished to terminate the contract, even though this was a standard letter stating that the cancellation was to take effect at the end of the current period of cover. Then we tried to cancel stating that the new rates were too expensive. Again they refused, saying that we did not reply to the letter with the new rates, within the given period, and the letter had been sent on 21/11/13. The letter was dated 21/11/13, but the envelope dated 6/12/13. Our new insurer say that they are holding us to ransom. Anyone any ideas or experiences of how we can resolve this? Can we cancel our direct debit? Would threatening them with legal action do any good, even though we couldn't afford to go to court?

Any advice very gratefully received, as we are tearing our hair out over this.

Many thank in advance


Thanks Teresa for that. I managed to cancel the direct debit yesterday at the local Banque Postale. The lady there just filled out the relevant form, I signed it and she sent it directly to head office by internal mail.

Thanks again and I hope you have a good Christmas and New Year.


Gordon, ages ago when we first moved to France we had a problem with a rogue Auto-Entrepeneur site - while it was out own fault for being trusting they kept taking 15 euro each month from our account via a direct debit- and we couldn't find the company to stop them - all letters and emails were bounced back - it was actually a fabulous scam.

our bank were lovely. we explained all to them, went to the gendarmes and explained all to them - filled in many and various forms, got the official stamps - sent them to our bank, and they stopped the DD, the bank refunded ALL the DD's we'd made since the scam started.

it can be done - I think the most important thing is to DO YOUR PAPERWORK IN TRIPLICATE... copy EVERYTHING, keep EVERYTHING, always send any letters by RECORDED, SIGNED FOR post...

x teresa

Thanks Ian

yes, but I beleive there is an annual charge?

The Assurance Juridique is also usable, even better because the Assurance arrange the best (in their opinion) place for your problem. It also covers a lot more problems....They come often with your Car Insurance, built into the policy - ASK!

"Loi chatel applies from the date on the envelope"

Absolutely correct, this is another thing you get used to in France. Any official letter you should always staple the envelope to the letter so you don't loose it.

So this time send a copy of the letter, their reply stating it has run out of time and a copy of the envelope as proof of date. Do this (as always) by registered post.

Hi Doreen

Thanks a lot for that. If you send me a friend request, I will pm you the name of the company concerned, as I don't want to publicize openly at the moment because of the dispute.


I don't think it's a good idea because there may be legal difficulties, or you may end up paying for any new one and for the old one. Many banks also make a charge to cancel direct debits - ask yours.

Thanks everyone for your helpful replies. I'll look into all the info. In the meantime, can I cancel the direct debit to prevent them taking money out of my account? Thanks in advance.


Loi chatel applies from the date on the envelope. You need to send a copy of this with you cancellation request and a copy of the original renewal document stating that THEY have broken the law by not sending the renewal 20 days before it was due. They cannot by law refuse this on this basis and you need to firm and tell them so. It must be sent by registered letter as well. See this site and quote from it if necessary ie head your letter up Article L136-1 de la loi Chatel

Also see here

There's also info on this on the Useful Links page. And this link too should be helpful

You can always take it up with the 'Médiateur de la République' if you have all the papers and you are convinced you have right on your side.

Google it, (it can actually be done on-line) but don't forget it can take quite some time, so maybe a letter to your current Insurer with a copy of your letter to the Médiateur may make them think again.

The acceptance of the decision of the Médiateur is mandatory on all parties concerned.

Details of UFC Que Choisir are on the Useful Links page under Consumer Organisations.

I don't really have any experience of this but I wonder if you have some insurance to fight this?

I pay around 5€ per month into something called assurance juridique (via my bank) which I think is to help fight just this sort of thing.

good luck