Who is insured, the driver or the car?

Having just sold our car we may be borrowing a friend’s occasionally in the next 3 weeks before emigrating.

I have understood that any qualified driver can drive an insured car. So should I just cancel my insurance?

It depends on the conditions of your mate’s car insurance. Usually in France there will be the main driver and then either:

A) a description of other permitted drivers, like family members. No one else would be insured.
B) as A) above, but also allowing others to drive with the owners permission on same terms and conditions
C) as B) above but with other drivers only covered partially, or with higher franchise or the insurance company needing to be told in advance.

You also need to check as your insurance is unlikely to pay out for you driving someone else’s car. So you might as well cancel it.

Hi Patrick… I reckon you should contact your Insurance Co and tell them your car has been sold and ask what you should do…

When we sold our car, the Ins Co took a copy of the cancelled carte grise and cancelled the policy.

When we bought another car, we took out a new Insurance.

Our policy is for OH and for me to drive… there is a small franchise (penalty) if either of us has an accident.

If anyone else drives it and has a subsequent accident there will be a much larger penalty deducted from any payout which our Insurance company makes. (unless the car has been stolen)

All in all, it is the car which carries the insurance as far as I can tell… but the driver must be in possession of a valid licence (and have the owner’s permission to drive said car)

That’s a kiwi questin if ever I saw one! Just had 5 weeks driving the entire length of both islands (the Mainland, and the North!). There it’s the car, France usually the person but you can nominate drivers. Bonne chance.

That’s not my experience. All the cars I’ve insured in France have been insured for any driver. The only difference was that the last one which was quite powerful stated that the driver had to be over 25 years old.



perhaps you can help us

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We all have experiences… it is because we sold the car that they cancelled the insurance…

Am I missing something, but I don’t see how you can have a motor insurance policy if you don’t actually own a car.

I was replying to Robert Moon saying that in France it was the driver not the car that was insured. :slight_smile:

Hi Patrick, @DustyM was right although even for powerful cars young drivers can never be fully excluded (the public liability is always covered at the very least and quite often they simply increase the excess for young driver - increase like +1500€ excess increase though :wink: ).

The short answer to your question is simple => If your mate is insured in France then you can drive his vehicle and the vehicle will be insured but not you!

A couple precisions though:

  • In case of a claim your mate’s insurance will take the hit (not yours)
  • Depending on your friend’s insurance policy he might have an increased excess as well in case of a claim if that’s not him behind the wheel (something like +150€ usually)
  • When I say you are not covered I mean that if you get badly hurt, your friend’s insurance won’t compensate you for the corporal damage (although you may receive some compensation from other insurances including the other party’s insurance if you were not the one responsible for the claim).
  • @JJones mentionned some use cases I’d like to make sure there is no misunderstanding. When we say “you’re insured” we mean any damages you may cause or caused to the vehicle (if the cover is comprehensive) is almost always insured but corporal damage you may cause to yourself is not necessarily. Case C where you need to warn the insurance company doesn’t exists anymore in France (except for professional garage but that’s another story :wink: ). The only things we see are some modifications of the cover for non named drivers (either an increased excess and/or cover limitations but damages to third parties will always be included for example).
  • You won’t be considered “insured” while driving someone else’s vehicle so if you remain uninsured for a while this might affect your future policies because of that gap in the cover (up to 3 months is usually fine).

So to sum-up and keep it simple =>

  • Damages to others (people or things) will always be covered no matter what.
  • Yes you can cancel your other insurance (as long as you’re no longer in possession of the vehicle, of course)

Let me know if you require more insights :wink:


@fabien quick question. When your car is sold… and you no longer have a car… can you “transfer” the insurance policy to a basic one so that you are still insured to drive a car - without specifying what the car is… (just so that you would be covered if you were needed to drive a car at some unforeseen stage … ) ???

As said recently in a similar thread - I was advised by my insurers to get a friend to add me as a named driver on their policy so as to keep my driving record current.
Since it’s normally the car that’s insured not the driver I don’t see how your plan would work. Your insurance on your own car doesn’t normally cover you to drive anyone else’s…

I’m sure that Fabien will reply with the official position but the answer is basically no. You have to cancel the sold car’s insurance as the car can only be covered by one policy, the new owner’s. If you want to drive a car owned by someone else it will be insured and you will need to check that it is insured for any driver or whether you need to have your name added to the policy.
There is probably/possibly an insurance cover that insures a professional like a garage owner to drive other people’s cars but something like that would hav3 a very expensive premium.

The title of the thread asks… “who is insured, the driver or the car?..”
and as the OP was asking re his own “now sold car” I reckon the answer is that for Him there is not the possiblity of … “or”…

His policy is surely the partnership of Him+car… (which no longer is his property).

But I felt it worth asking @fabien the question…

as not everyone has more than one car… :upside_down_face:

Now you’re really confusing me Stella.
If you had two cars, you would have two policies. If you had four cars you would have four policies.
If you sold one of your cars you would cancel that car’s policy.

Hi Stella, as Dan just said the answer is no and apart from Anna’s idea there aren’t that many options to avoid that gap. As we insure the vehicle (not the person) there is no way to avoid a gap in the insurance if you no longer have a vehicle. Being added to a Friend’s vehicle is no trivial either as it depends on your history (if it’s not crystal clean your addition would change his/her premium) and also on the circumstances as many insurers will deny the addition of an extra named driver absence of any kind of parental link (although some will allow it indeed). To be noted that some insurers would still accept the former NCD even after a long gap BUT this is a commercial gesture not mandatory by law and therefore would heavily limit your options then (but companies like AXA or Allianz can usually do that if the situation seems ‘sound’). Hope that make sense? :wink:

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Exactly, that’s why I made the difference between him and the vehicle if you were to be driving someone else’s vehicle. The vehicle would still be covered (by the owner’s insurance) but him would not be covered (for self inflicted corporal damages - the compensation package) as he is no longer tied to a car insurance policy (although some policies exist to bridge that gap - they are no in relation with the car insurance).

Excellent, this answers the original question unambiguously… … :relaxed: :relaxed:

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I asked our insurers recently if adult son, who lives in London, could drive my car when he is over in June. The answer was that it was the car that was insured and not the person, so of course he could drive it. We are insured with Allianz. So, on that basis, there should be no problem, but I would just get your friend to check, just as I did!