France: land of romance, is somewhere most of us dream of visiting. We imagine trawling through fine art in the Louvre, trekking to Abbaye du Mont St-Michel, or simply unwinding somewhere with a pasty and a glass of red (a weird combination, but hey – you’re on holiday).
Whether you’re travelling to Paris, Champagne, Nice, or anywhere in between (or beyond) – here’s why taking out a travel insurance policy may be a wise move.
How you should select your travel cover
Picking your cover comes down to a few key steps.
- Assess your needs while on vacation in France
- Determine the value of how much you’re taking with you (e.g. your belongings, how much cash you’re carrying, etc.)
- Get a good idea of your health status.
This will help you determine what level of cover you’ll require: basic, mid-range, or comprehensive cover.
What you may need to claim on
Depending on what the situation calls for, you may need to deal with…
- Stolen belongings. Get in touch with the local police and report the crime, and start gathering proof of ownership (e.g. receipts, photos of you with items, etc.)
- Crashed rental car. Call your car rental company and alert them to your situation.
- Injured or getting sick. Collect any documentation regarding your treatment (hospital reports, notes from doctor, etc.).
- Cancelled flight (or train). Check with the airline that compensation isn’t being offered elsewhere for accommodation/meals. If not, your travel insurer should pick up the slack (if your policy covers this).
Once this is done, you can then get in touch with your travel insurer over email/phone to let them know something has happened. They will be able to advise you on next steps, which may lead to a claim on your insurance.
What should you look out for in France?
Attacks on the populace
As of June 2016, there have been multiple attacks on the Parisian population over the last two years. As a result, French Authorities are on high alert for attacks,2 meaning you’re likely to encounter tight security in public places. This is cause for relief, as you can travel the country safe in the knowledge that local authorities are extremely wary of security risks. As an additional comfort, travel insurance can cover your medical and emergency evacuation expenses.
We’d recommend you check the Smart Traveller website when considering a trip anywhere, to ensure there are no active travel warnings in place for the country you plan on visiting.
Scams & thieves
Tourists getting hoodwinked is (sadly) a practise as old as time, which means you have to be very cautious when you’re visiting popular French cities (e.g. Paris, Marseilles, Nice). As you can imagine, all the most popular sightseeing destinations act as hotspots for petty criminals who are known to snatch bags, pick pockets, and more.
Keep your money and your passport separated from one another, don’t carry all your cash in the one place, and maintain vigilance wherever you go.
Cycling / driving
Your license should be valid for 12 months, but being allowed to drive in France doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to hop in the driver’s seat and hit the gas.
- Remember to drive on the right side of the road.
- Be mindful of the parking rules. In some cases, you park on one side of the road on all the odd days of the week, and the other for the even days of the week.
- Pick a small car to rent, because space is at a premium in some towns.
But what about cycling, or driving a scooter around? It’s a great idea, but just be mindful that your travel insurance may exclude certain activities (perhaps cycling) or deny claims if you don’t follow the policy (e.g. driving without a helmet). You need to check the policy disclosure statement prior to signing up, to make sure you’re happy with the extent of your coverage.
France is a gateway to so much more. Get covered for your travels to other countries.
- Smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/europe/western/Pages/france.aspx, June 21, 2016
N.B. Please refer to or speak with you insurer about limits, sub limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.