Insure my English car in France without changing registration

49 Replies



Is there any insurance company that will insure my English registered car in France?  Help, please,

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spike-915713 1378056898

French insurance companies will insure English reg. vehicles but usually only for 6 months. You must by law , if resident in France re register your vehicle within 6 months. I believe you must start the reg. process within 1 month of becoming resident.

Iver lostit 1378059946

Most of the larger companies will insure you on UK plates, and if at each renewal you say you are going to put on French plates this year you can do as lots of other English do when they move to France. 


CarolineS 1378060157

If you want an english insurance company, I can recommend Stuart Collins and co. They specialise in insurance for poeple spending alot of time abroad.  They've insured both my cars that I've brought out here. The last policy was with AXA who amended their policy to say I could drive the car outside the UK for more than three months. I used my french address for the policy. It was originally for a year and they refunded the difference once I had changed the plates to french ones and insured the car with a french company. The cost was about the same as I am paying now.  or tel 00441792 655562

and no, I don't work for them or have any link to them.

Nautuque-606978 1378061819

Sorry Iver

It's wrong and also illegal.

French insurance companies are clamping down on the practice.

ErnieY-521367 1378062393

Strictly speaking you are required to register within one month of the date you became French resident or imported the car, 6 months is the maximum period a car may be kept and used in another country without being registered there regardless of residency, this is an EU rule not just French.

I believe you will find that most larger companies now will NOT insure you indefinitely but will give you up to two months cover to allow you ample time to register.

If you live here why do you want to continue using it on UK plates ?

Iver lostit 1378113932

Hello All

If you state your car as SORN in the UK you then insure and drive in France you don't have to pay the road tax in UK either  you save even more money like this.



spike-915713 1378115178


Hilary-616934 1378118983

Good Morning


We insure our car with Andrew Copeland of London Tel: 020 8656 2544.  They are the only company we have found that will insure a UK registered car in France for 12 months.  They are quite reasonably priced.  You can only take the car back to the UK for four weeks a year and before you enter the UK you have to have prebooked a MOT if you need one.  We have our car CTd in france as we don't take it back very often.

Hope this helps


spike-915713 1378122473


spike-915713 1378123244

Let me explain.

The LAW is quite clear . A vehicle must be legal in the country of registration.

ie UK plates, = UK mot plus UK RFL plus insurance

French plates = French CT plus insurance

There is only one exception and that is if you are in possesion of the statement that you are in the process of reregistering in France.

Also if you are resident in France you must by LAW register your vehicle in France and start proceedings within 1 month and complete within 6 months.

You cannot drive a vehicle on SORN anywhere.

Phil McCracken-604480 1378124685

It's this old chestnut again. I've seen the same cars going around with UK plates for over six years and they seem to be getting away with it. I've seen them with CT stickers on and some showing insurance. I think the fact that don't attract attention or the Gendarmes don't know any better means they get away with it. I have heard though that if an accident occurs, then the insurance won't pay out even though they are happy to take your money.

solaves 1378125243

Spike ---- I agree 100% with what you say

I also do not understand why when law abiding UK citizens come to live abroad they seem to lose all their morals and blatantly try to flaut the laws of the land.

The other favorite is "I do not need to change my UK driving license when I become French resident"

Although a current UK driving license shows your ability to drive it is still illegal, as the registered address of the person on the license is incorrect.

Many of my ex-pat friends just seem to ignore this fact and yet again dig a deep hole in the sand and bury their heads - hoping "it will never happen to me"

Back to the original question, why does Labiba want the car to remain on english plates??


ErnieY-521367 1378132889

"Although a current UK driving license shows your ability to drive it is still illegal"

Nooooooooooooooo, please not that nonsense yet again !!!

The address is a complete and utter red herring and the only one digging a hole on this one is you Syd !

FACT: Your can drive anywhere in the EU on a UK licence for as long as it remains in date.

For for an old style paper licence that is to age 70 or for a photocard ten years from it's date of issue or to age 70, which ever comes soomer. A photocard will expire on your 70th birthday anyway regardless of when it was issued.

Even then a simple expired licence does NOT negate your right to drive - and it does not invaldate your insurance either !


solaves 1378136661


So what you are saying is that IT IS LEGAL to have a false or incorrect address on your driving license???

I do not think so!



I am not for one minute saying that your competancy, ability or even "entitlement" to drive is removed by having an incorrectly addressed license

Tinker-612171 1378137421

seems like the address point is pretty irrelevant - yes it may be an offence, possibly subject to a fine, in the UK but if you are one of those 'ex-pat friends...resident in France', that wouldn't apply here.

there's no requirement to change your French licence when you move either so hardly burying your head, just not bothering with something that isn't a major issue, just yet.


josid-603572 1378140479

Sadly to say, one of the reasons that there are so many UK cars on the road in France is that the driver is not insured   -  full stop!

I just hope that in the case of an accident, no-one is badly injured, then the s**t would really hit the fan.

Phil McCracken-604480 1378140849

I think you are correct 'josid' and if these UK licence holders drive around the UK - they would be breaking the law with not having a correct address on their licence. They may even get into more trouble for not having a French licence as they have no UK address.
Surely someone has come unstuck by all this or are they too ashamed to own up?

Phil McCracken-604480 1378141228

As for the SORN thing - when the UK and French get together on the speeding offences etc. and you are SORN - well you better avoid speeding, parking offences and road side checks. Maybe your insurance won't be too quick to take your cash if they are assisting you to break the law.

MisterAngry 1378142117

Just phoned Hillarys insurer in London not quite as you say,The quote was much higher than my French insurance, £400 higher and his words we only insure low value small cars under 3k .  And on return to UK for your 28 days UK MOT and ROAD TAX is needed, Don’t forget there is licence plate recognition system  in the docks, so don’t be surprised if you get a pull outside the dock.

Tinker-612171 1378142629

"so many UK cars on the road in France is that the driver is not insured"

at least that that's well integrated with French modern society:

according to recent estimates there are upto 750,000 Cars driven in France without insurance

josid-603572 1378143320

That doesn't make it acceptable though!

Many French registered cars owned by UK residents with French holiday homes feel that they don't want to pay for a years insurance for the few weeks or so that they spend in France. 

Any uninsured driver is a criminal and deserves a prison sentance if they cause injury or death on the road. 

God forbid if this happened to any of my loved one's! 


Iver lostit 1378146412

I don't understand what all the fuss is about I know personally several people who sorn their cars, drive on UK licence with no UK address and have done so for over 8 yrs with no problem. And are insured by AXA  and another by Generali !!!


spike-915713 1378146856

Then they are criminals. It is illegal , full stop.

solaves 1378148363

As an unfortunate lady on this forum found to her cost on her house insurance when she had a fire

These insurance companies will take your money on the assumption that the car is fully legal until one day when you have an accident, then like all insurance companies they will wiggle and squirm trying to find any excuse not to pay out. All insurance companies in europe are allowed access to the DVLA records and will use that information to nullify your claim

Ivor you may reply and say your car is old and worthless but what about the Rolls Royce you may hit or even worse, a person, persons or a bus shelter full of kids. Do you have the funds available to mitigate any claim?

By the tone of some of the posters on here who I do not think will ever listen, I say - may you never have the need for the car insurance you are wasting your money on



josid-603572 1378149225

Rather than put the vehicle on a SORN, Is it not just as easy to compete the 'notification of permanent export' part of the V5 registration certificate? Surely the point of the exercise is  to make sure that the UK road tax is not payable. Or am I being niaive?

josid-603572 1378149422

Exactly my point !

Well said Syd


Iver lostit 1378149573

Hello Solaves

At no point did I say that I agreed with what these people do.

Also I am fully legal ie. French insurance, French LHD vehicle, French licence.

I whole heartedly disagree with what they do.



Iver lostit 1378150011


If you export at some point you must then import ie. You have to put on French plates or the vehicle will be in limbo therefore uninsurable!!



Nautuque-606978 1378150226

If you look on the DVLA website it will tell you  exactly what a SORN is.

It's a Statutory Off Road Notification. Which means for those who have diffulty understanding that the vehicle is off the road. Not trundling  around in some other country.

It has to be renewed each year and the vehicle must remain in the UK. If it removed from the UK on a perminant basis it must be declared as exported.

There was a know it all Brit who we know who had is vehicle on a SORN. Drove round for years until he had an accident. Thankfully no one was injured and his French insurance company paid out on his third party claim but his rather expensive car was written off. He now drives an old Twingo.

A lesson perhaps

josid-603572 1378150878

It seems he got off light then!

It seems to me that If you want to bring a car to France, you UK tax it for a year at the most, which gives plenty of time to French register it.


Nautuque-606978 1378150999

Strangely the OP has not told us why he want's to keep his vehicle on UK plates

MisterAngry 1378151838

 I think we all now who they are  cars ,vans trucks,  no chance of  any mot / ct or insurance just hope they don’t  crash into  you. enough

Iver lostit 1378154161

I think they should do here as they do in the UK . Stop the offenders and CRUSH their vehicle.



ErnieY-521367 1378165775

This thread seems to have expanded to cover virtually the entire gamut of half truths and misconceptions about UK licences and insurance etc. so allow me to put the record straight.

Driving licence - it is perfectly permissible to drive in France on a UK licence regardless of whether it bears your current French address or not.

A DVLA quote on the EU directive on licences :

"Drivers who take up residence in another EC/EEA country no longer have to exchange their driving licence, but may continue to drive using their own national licence for as long as is remains valid.

National licences may only carry an address from the country which issued that licence. We are therefore unable to re-issue your British licence with a foreign address. It is accepted that drivers who move to another part of the EC/EEA could be holding driving licences showing an incorrect address. This is permissible under the terms of the EC Directive on Driving Licences."

It's perhaps interesting to note that in France there is no requirement whatsoever to notify a change of address on your licence !

So Syd, you are technically correct that it is an offence to not have your current address on your licence, theoretically punishable by a fine of up to £1000, the crucial point though is that it only applies to those resident in UK, as per the above.

Insurance - Once granted car insurance cannot be summarily cancelled even if fraudulently obtained.

To cancel cover the insurance company must send a recorded delivery letter to the last address notified to them by the insured advising them of their intent and giving them at least 7 days notice and specifying the precise date and time that cancellation will take effect.

What may happen following an incident is that the insurer will honour 3rd party claims - they are obliged by law to do that - but may refuse any claim by the insured person and may also go on to seek to recover their 3rd party losses from them.

Unless you receive such a letter then at no point are you uninsured for minimum 3rd party claims as required by law.

This is all according to EU directives not national legislation.

No MOT/CT = no insurance - Another popular myth. If a car without a current MOT/CT were found to be in unroadworthy condition, and it were proven that that caused or significantly contributed to an accident, the insurer would be within their rights to limit pay outs to 3rd parties and again possibly seek redress from the insured. This could equally apply even with a valid MOT/CT if the vehicle were unroadworthy and an accident was caused by bald tyres for instance.

 If the lack of an MOT/CT did invalidate your insurance then logically every driver caught without one would automatically also face charges of no insurance which of course they do not.

I'm sure we all know people tooling about in France in UK regged cars with or without MOT/CT and moody insurance but they are all illegal in one way or another and simply getting away with it.

Personally I don't care to live my life on that basis and don't get as worked up about it as I once did, it seems to be something of  a rite of passage into living here !

small666 1378217335

I find this very interesting.  Were these guys crooks in the UK or has moving to france altered their sense of what is right.  Am I right in thinking if someone young (and or not british) was caught without insurance mot etc in the UK they would all be up in arms demanding prison, exportation etc.  Human nature is odd sometimes.

CarolineS 1378219921

Good grief, yet another posting that has gone wildly off track. The original posting simply asked if there was anyone that would insure their english plated car.  The anwser is yes. The people concerned may not need to re-register their car in France. For example, if like my neighbour they are here for most of the summer, but live permanently in the UK or they spend much of the time driving abroad. 

We all know people that are "getting away with it" re driving englisg plated cars, but so what, good luck to them. One day they may be caught. 

Get a grip people and stop being so quick to judge others. 

spike-915713 1378220176

The OP wrote ''English registered car in France? ''

you write

''if like my neighbour they are here for most of the summer, but live permanently in the UK''

then it would be insured in UK.

josid-603572 1378249880

No-one suggested imprisonment or exportation for merely having no MOT/CT or insurance, but it's certainly a different matter if an accident caused by an uninsured driver ends in a death, or serious injury. This would be the same whether in France, UK or any other country. Surely it would be better to find these irresponsible idiots before they can do any damage.

At least  the UK is attempting  to do something to clamp down on the problem  finding the culprits and crushing the vehicle concerned. Surely with all the bureaucracy here in France, they must have a computer database to check this information on .This certainly would catch out some of the moody insurance documents flying around!

Phil McCracken-604480 1378294130

So if you don't have to change your licence, how can you comply with the need to take an annual eye test to drive a minibus or pull a trailer/caravan? You also risk a £1,000 fine if you drive in the UK on an old licence with an old address. As others have said do the whole thing with insurance, cars and licences and you won't need to break the law in either country. The process is not difficult and saves any hassles at road checks. The only reason not to do it is to try and avoid speeding fines and/or to keep that personal registration plate (I've seen some) that nobody else understands, but at what cost?

Phil McCracken-604480 1378294251

I'd love the vehicle crushing job.

solaves 1378296052

It is funny that Labiba has not been back on this thread since the original post??

Do you think that Labiba is a troll trying to get us all "hot under the collar"

All a big wind up?


PS let me know when the car crushing job is advertised, I would go back to work free of charge!

NickPoll-608744 1378340029

It's legal to keep a UK license when living in France. All these people who doubt it should do their homework, as they haven't so far. You are allowed to use your last known UK address. Full Stop, as one of the uninformed says.

NeilR-606378 1378487235

They're are so many half truths and myths on this post that I would have thought it impossible.

The UK licence is an EC licence and as such is valid throughout Europe, indeed the world.  The DVLA do not have a system in place to change the address to a non-UK one.
So you may continue to use it even though the address is incorrect.  If you are stopped in the UK you have to explain that you are an ex-pat and there is no facility to
change the address.  Your licence is still fully valid.

The British road fund duty is to 'fund British roads' if the car is not in the UK there is no requirement to fund these, as you're not using them.  So having no 'Tax Disk' is not an offence while out of the UK.
It becomes an offence the second you get off the ferry in a UK port, tax it before you get back.  A French CT has no validity on a British registered car in the UK.  So if you take a non taxed non MoT'd car into the UK book an MoT before you get back, that can be booked anywhere in the UK but you must drive there to get the MoT done immediately, you must have proof of the appointment.   Be aware that you cannot get of a boat in Dover to go to an MoT garage in York and spend the night in Plymouth on the way, your route must be direct.

If driving on French Insurance make sure you are covered in the UK as some companies restrict the areas the insurance may be used, (this also applies to French registered cars check the areas covered before you go).
The Dvla told me you will not be able to tax a British registered car with French insurance.

You can bring a car into a European country for a maximum of 6 months before it must be registered in the country you have taken it to, be it France/Ireland/Spain etc.

It is also technically illegal for a resident of any one country to drive a car registered in another, i.e. if you are a French resident you cannot legally drive an English registered car.  (Special exceptions are made for hire cars as under the hire contract you are traceable).
So the Brits who have second homes here with French cars are (under international law) driving illegally, a blind eye is the norm from the authorities though.

The question from the originator of this post still remains though - Why does he want to do it?  However if he/she is going to have the car here for more than 6 months it doesn't matter as it should be re-registered anyway.


oilystairs 1378490136

Why not re-register a UK car in France?- because it costs up to €500 to change the headlights and then the costs of the carte grise on top of that............

NeilR-606378 1378492133

The cost is irrelelevant.  em>It's the law.


josid-603572 1378504803

If  it's he cost of re-registering the vehicle that is the problem, the answer is simple - Sell it before you come here and then buy a French car!

ErnieY-521367 1378522333

It is also technically illegal for a resident of any one country to drive a car registered in another, i.e. if you are a French resident you cannot legally drive an English registered car.

It's also not permitted a French resident to loan or sell a foreign registered car in France so technically speaking the vast majority of adverts for UK regged cars on this site and others are suborning an illegal act !

The only time a French resident can legally drive a foreign registered car is after they have obtained their quittus fiscale for it from their local Hotel des Impots because the issuing of that document immediately places it under French jurisdiction, it is in effect a permit to drive it  in France pending the rest of the registration process.

For that reason also the vehicle may not be taken out of the country, lent or sold, until it is fully French registered and displaying it's French plates.

roger11-958683 1625066941

I have just looked at this discussion after a search on this topic. I note that this discussion was eight years ago but maybe things have changed.

I have a UK registered car. I am a french resident ( pay taxes here and in the UK) but spend perhaps 5 months a year in the UK at our UK home. I searched endlessly for a company who would insure my car and gave an honest account of the situation to all. One broker in the UK  could provide the insurance I needed. It apparently is an Axa European policy, quite a lot more expensive than Saga, but I am assured that it is quite legal and valid. Because I had so many rejections before, and have little respect for Axa, I had the broker confirm in writing that the policy was legal and valid with myself as a french resident and the car registered in the UK.

Has anybody else had any similar experiences?

bandy 1625400488

Other than a few procedural changes due to the UK not being in the EU, and the French authorities becoming more strict, nothing has changed - as a resident you are still required to promptly change your car to French registration on arrival, just as outlined above. Your question about insurance is really a red herring - the cover may well be ‘legal and valid’, but the car isn't and French insurance is obligatory for a French registered car. Your best bet is to ditch the unnecessary and costly UK cover and get French insurance. They will happily cover you whilst you re-register the car, which you have no choice legally over.

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