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It’s not hard to be seduced by the beauty of France. But, whether you’re travelling to popular destinations like Paris, Lyon, Nice or anywhere in between, here’s why taking out a travel insurance policy may be a wise move.

Do I need travel insurance for France?

The real question is whether you can afford not to have travel insurance. Getting travel insurance is vital when going aboard, whether to France, Europe or elsewhere. Mishaps, injuries and accidents can happen anytime and anywhere, and travel insurance is designed to help financially protect you against these unexpected occurrences.

An important consideration is that while France has a good healthcare system, it doesn’t have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia. As a result, receiving necessary medical treatment in the event of an injury or illness can see you pay thousands out of pocket if you don’t have the right cover in place.

Travel insurance policies can provide peace of mind and financially protect you against medical emergencies, theft, travel delays and more.

View Of Aiguines Village And Renaissance-style Chateau Overlooking Lac de Sainte Croix Lake-Alpes de Haute Provence, France

What should my travel insurance policy for France include?

You may have the choice between a few different levels of travel cover to choose between. The level of cover that’s best for you will depend on your specific circumstances and needs, but you’ll typically have the choice between a single-trip and an annual multi-trip policy.

No matter what policy best suits your needs, a comprehensive travel insurance policy may provide benefits for:

If you plan on visiting the French Alps, be aware that skiing and snowboarding aren’t covered under a regular policy. For on-piste cover, you’ll need to purchase a snow sports optional extra to add to your policy.

Inclusions may vary between travel insurance providers, so carefully read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for limits of cover, policy terms, conditions and exclusions.

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Travel insurance for France: Exclusions and what to watch out for

Travel insurance often has exclusions you should be aware of before purchasing any policy. These can differ between policies and providers, but generally, travel insurance doesn’t cover:

  • Travelling to countries or regions that have government-issued ‘Do Not Travel’ warnings (listed on Smartraveller).
  • Negligence leading to loss or damage of personal belongings and valuables (e.g. forgetting your luggage outside your hotel).
  • Trip cancellations due to changing your mind or being unprepared (e.g. forgetting to renew your passport).
  • Extreme or high-risk sports and activities (unless you purchased additional cover for adventure sports or skiing).
  • Claims for incidents where you were intoxicated from taking drugs or alcohol.
  • Claims resulting from incidents where you acted illegally, recklessly or dangerously.
  • Claims resulting from incidents of war, terrorism or civil unrest.
  • Loss or injuries from pre-existing conditions that weren’t disclosed to your insurer or that were excluded from coverage.

Things to be aware of in France

Terrorism and civil unrest

As a result of previous terrorist attacks, French authorities are on high alert for any suspicious activities, so you’re likely to encounter tight security around public places and at border points. It’s important to note that acts of terrorism are generally excluded from travel insurance cover.

France also has a history of protests and violent demonstrations. Your insurer won’t cover costs relating to these incidents, so avoid protests whenever possible and check local media to stay up to date with ongoing issues. We recommend you check the Smartraveller website before you travel to France to ensure no active travel warnings are in place.

Scams and thieves

Popular tourist attractions and high-traffic public transport are common hunting grounds for petty criminals who are known to snatch bags and pickpocket when people are distracted.

Be sure to keep your money and passport separated from one another and not carry all your cash and credit cards in one place. Potential thieves tend to thrive in crowded tourist spaces, so remember to maintain vigilance over your possessions.

Cycling and driving

Are you planning to hit the road in France? You’ll need a valid Australian driver’s licence and International Driving Permit (IDP).

If you’re considering cycling or driving a scooter around instead, consider adding motorbike and scooter cover to your policy. Without this add-on, you might not be covered for medical costs if you get into an accident. Your travel insurance may also deny any claims if you disregard safety standards, like riding without a helmet, for example.

tourist in Paris France

Top travel tips for France

Check for travel warnings and updates

The Australian Government provides free advice, alerts and up-to-date information to help keep Australians safe overseas. Before you leave on your trip, be mindful of any warnings or updates for your destination by regularly checking Smartraveller so you’re prepared to make necessary changes to your trip and aren’t caught out when you arrive.

Check your passport and visa requirements

If you’re travelling to France as an Australian citizen, you should make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the period of your intended stay.

Australians don’t need a visa to enter France for visits of up to 90 days (unless travelling for reasons other than tourism). This is because Australia has an agreement with France and several other countries in the Schengen area.1

Plan your itinerary

There are many popular tourist destinations in France. With so much to see and do, planning an itinerary can help you determine where you need to visit and what cover you need for any activities. Popular destinations include:

  • Paris, home to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees
  • Marseille, a seaport city along the Mediterranean coastline
  • Bordeaux, the wine capital of France

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Top insurance tips for France from our travel expert, Stephen Zeller

  • Choose cover that suits your holiday needs. Consider a policy that includes cover for medical expenses, cancellation fees, luggage and rental vehicle excess. Adventure sports cover and ski cover may also be available as optional extras.
  • Always declare any pre-existing medical conditions as part of your travel insurance. Your insurer may assess your medical conditions and extra premium may apply to approved conditions. No cover will apply to unapproved or excluded conditions.
  • Make copies of all your important travel documents (e.g. passport, ID cards) and leave them with someone at home in case you lose them overseas.

Compare travel insurance

Looking for a travel insurance plan to help protect you on your French adventure? Use our free comparison tool to compare travel insurance quotes based on your preferred level of cover, policy benefits and excess payable if you claim to find travel cover that fits your needs and budget. Best of all, it only takes minutes to find great value. Bon voyage!

Visiting more than one country? Find more information on the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy or check out our destination hub.


1 Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Smartraveller. France. Last updated March 2023. Accessed May 2023.

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