White Van man and Insurance

David, if you are so convinced that you are perfectly legal why are you so angry that Melllisa & I are expressing concern?

This is the advice given by the UK Government.


Importing your UK-registered vehicle from the UK to France

If you spend longer than six months of the year in France with your UK-registered car, French law states that you must register your vehicle with the French authorities. For information on how to do this, please contact your local prefecture.

Further information can be found on the official French administration website.

UK-registered vehicles being driven in France must comply with all UK requirements for road tax, MOT, and third party insurance covering the full time period the vehicle is used in France, up to the six-month limit.

I'm sure that you must have UK tax & a UK MOT to go along with your UK insurance even if you have stretched the 6 month visit time limit somewhat!

David, Mellisa has every right to be concerned about this subject!

Whether you like it or not, you are breaking the law! You would not be covered in the event of an accident. Your van meets neither the UK law or French law so you have been lucky not to have been convicted of the offence. I have to admire the fact that you are prepared to admit that for ten years you have taken a chance with the welfare of other road users simply because you have not bothered to import your van!

If you have your UK logbook you can ask the manufacturer of your van for a European C of C, provided it was made after 1997 & is not an LDV or grey import & if it is a UK van there is no import duty to pay & you do not require anything from customs, just a quitas fiscal from the Tresor Public.

I just hate these half assed idiots who think the law is for everyone else & have no social concience!

It is an interesting question. I have seen a white transit van get increasingly tattier for the last five years. It appears to contain all manner of plastering and decorating materials and tools. When they are working at somebody's place the doors are often left open for all to see what is in it. I had never consciously seen the driver or anybody else until recently. When I did, I knew the face. So I asked two builders working near us who are legitimate. They told me who he is, where he lives and so on. The man and his son have worked 'black' since they arrived here seven or eight years ago, give no guarantees, receipts or whatsoever and cannot be bothered about the registration of the van. Apparently their work is quite good though. They simply work only for non-French customers for cash to avoid being in the system. So, their MOT is invalid so they cannot legitimately take it back to the UK and no CT here, thus if they are ever caught and taken apart they are in expensive trouble. They probably know but take their chances.

Somebody we know, she is an SFN member so may well have read about this issue in the past, was driving on UK plates and parking on the local main road. Local gendarmes picked up on the fact that her car was here at least three years on UK plates so knocked on the door. She was nicely given two weeks to do something about it, she did. She lives under 500m from the local CT place, her work gets her near the departmental 'capital' and so she was able to do it all in the time required. She has not had another visit, so we might assume the new plates have been noted and all is fine.

White vans are more conspicuous than that woman's car, so I wonder why the authorities put up with it? I believe, from what I have read about the cross border agreement on motoring offences that is just started up, that things will change. It will be interesting to see how many of these people evade by driving back to the UK for their annual holiday. However it is the presence of the others that will also become apparent with the exchanges of ownership data that are part of the same package.

Paul, If you now live back in the UK you also have one month to register your van there. If you do not then yes, you ARE illegal.

The law is very simple & clear. If you are a French resident, ie, you live in France, your vehicle MUST be registered here, be tested here & be insured by a French insurance company. If you import a vehicle you have ONE MONTH to register it, not six months, though most insurance companies will allow more time. Whether the gendarmes would extend the same courtesy is another matter.

For a UK registered vehicle to be legally used in Europe it must be registered to a UK resident, have UK road tax, a UK MOT & be insured by a company who is a member of the Motor Insurers Bureau, an organisation for UK insurance companies. The only exception is when it is insured by a French company for the purposes of importation.

There are many UK vehicles here whose owners think that the law can be bent to suit & when they find an insurance agent who will insure their car beyond the 6 month maximum some companies allow, still think that they are covered. Indeed some have had accidents after this period & have been paid out but usually this is because nobody was injured & the "expert" is not required to report on how long the vehicle has been in France.

Some agents will take your money & give you a vignette & just HOPE that you are never involved in a serious accident.

I was told by an AXA agent that they could insure a UK car for an indefinite amount of time, something my local AXA agent was unable to do, yet they all work for the same company. When asked how they were able to do this I was told that they had a "special mandate" from AXA. Head office, when asked, stated that no such mandate existed, well, it would be unfair on all the other agents, let alone being against French AND European law! That agent has now deleted that promise from their web site.

Just wait until you are involved in a serious accident with one - they use the same road you do - then you find out that their insurance is not valid & you have to pay for your own medical treatment, etc, would it still be none of your business?

They are obviously resident in france. The insurers are giving out insurance on faith - you will change plates? Of course! No one follows through then when they have an accident they are not insured! End of!

I am going to the UK next week to buy a white van for my oh, it will be a uk van but will bereregistered

within 3 months, its not difficult,

Some French insurers don't always follow up on the change of plates requirement and just re-issue insurance certificates year on year.

Why do you care?

;o)) exactly...

A bit rich to assume that these white van artisans are not are not legal.I have just relocated back to the UK with my French registered white van and am still insured in France to work and drive in the uk.Have you asked any of these people if they are insured...No,thought not!!

As far as I am aware Ross if you have an address in the UK the business can be registered to then it is quite legal. I am "considering" doing just this. Yes, I believe the six month rule may well apply but again as far as I am aware it would be for them (the authorities) to prove it?

It's all a little like....if you don't ask the question, you won't get the answer you don't like.....etc

Hello everybody - I am intrigued with this also, particularly about the bit about Brits in France and even the French are registering their businesses in the UK Robert. I was under the impression that if you are resident in France then you pay their taxes! can anybody shed more light on this?

Apparently...they could be quite legitimately be registered in the UK...and trade from there?

As I said...it's none of my business...unless of course I were to hire them? I may ask all sorts of questions then. A lot of the french are now registering their businesses in the UK. I for one don't blame them.

Until they are involved in an accident on the road, by the way its the customers responsibility to ensure the tradesmen are registered.

It's none of my business......"live and let live" it is how I exist.

They're milkmen.....!

you can insure a van here on uk plates, i did, they gave me 6 months to change to french plates, which i did.