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Travel insurance for holidays in France

Cheaper France travel insurance? Mais Oui!

We love France. It's just a hop skip and a jump away, yet it's so completely different from the UK. Perhaps that's why we like travelling there so much – it's close to home but far enough away to offer something else.

Whatever reason for going, it's still vital to make sure you are well prepared. So here are a few travel tips that will make your trip to France go smoothly. The first one, of course, is to remember to get a good France travel insurance policy from World First. Whether you're soaking up the sun in the Cote d'Azur or dabbling in the delicious wines of Bordeaux, we'll give you the peace of mind you need for a worry-free trip. Bon voyage!

We offer a choice of policies that will give you all the benefits and cover you'll need for your trip to France – whether it's for a long weekend, a one-off family holiday, an extended trip or even a backpacking tour.

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Your quick guide to travelling in France

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Transport: Driving

If you're taking your car or van to France, you need to be aware of a few legal requirements (some are pretty quirky). For instance, did you know that some sat-nav systems are illegal? Or that you are now required by law to carry two breathalysers? If you don't have them you risk being fined. The new law came into place in July 2012 and there are random checks of vehicles entering the country.

Here's a quick guide to the driving dos and don'ts.

Your UK driving licence is valid in France. But take the paper counterpart as well as your car insurance certificate too. The minimum legal driving age is 18 and the drink driving limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (30mg less than the UK).

As for your vehicle, you have a few adjustments to make. Firstly, you'll need a GB sticker for the back as well as headlamp converters (stickers you put on your headlights when driving on the right to prevent dazzling other drivers). You are also legally required to keep a warning triangle and reflective jacket in your car for use if you encounter car problems. The jacket is no good in the boot as French legislation requires you to wear it upon exiting your vehicle in the event of a breakdown. Getting caught without the items could result in a €90 fine.

The French Police issue severe speeding penalties too. They even have the power to confiscate your car and licence, right there on the spot. So be sure to keep to the speed limits (50kph in towns, 80-100kph on open roads and 110-130kph on motorways). And if you have a sat-nav system that warns you of upcoming speed cameras, beware. They're illegal in France, whether in use or not. If you're caught in possession of one you could be fined. Your system and/or vehicle could even be confiscated.

Healthcare: Medical costs

Of course, it's highly unlikely that you will need medical treatment while you are visiting France. But if you do, it's important to know how the health system works and how you can reclaim your medical costs. Here's an introduction.

Firstly, if you haven't got one already, get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It's free from the NHS website and entitles you to the same level of subsidised medical care as French citizens receive. But remember, that does NOT mean your treatment will be free. Let's take a closer look at what the EHIC covers.

If you are treated as an in-patient in an approved hospital (state hospital or recognised private clinic) and show your EHIC card, around 70-80% of the cost of your treatment will be paid for you. However, you will be billed for the balance as well as a fixed daily hospital charge of around €16. Funding for other medical care – such as a trip to the Doctors or the purchase of prescription medicines – works on a pay first, claim later basis. Prescribed medicines are between 35% and 65% subsidised by your EHIC, while the cost of ambulances and out-patient procedures is not covered in any part.

So how do you recover your costs on your EHIC? And what about the rest?

Financial reimbursement that you are entitled through your EHIC should be claimed from the local CPAM office (Caisse Primaire D‘Assurance Maladie) in France. You will need to provide the form that you were given at the time of treatment (it's name: feuille de soins), copies of relevant receipts and prescriptions, a copy of your EHIC, your address and your bank details. Confirmation of your refund will be sent to your home address. All other costs must be paid by you, unless you take out a travel insurance policy with good medical cover.

Our France travel insurance will cover you for up to £10 million worth of medical costs that aren't automatically covered by your EHIC. We'll cover the balance of hospital and medication costs and reimburse you for any ambulance fees that you were charged for in France. So there's no need to worry about using your savings to pay for treatment if something unexpected happens.

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Staying safe: Winter sports

France is home to some fantastic facilities for skiing and snowboarding. If you're heading for the white stuff, be sure to observe the notices and warnings about avalanches. You can stay on top of the latest updates using the Meteo Alarm website.

And remember to take a look at our winter sports travel insurance too. It gives you all the cover you need – even if you get your kicks by going off-piste. Benefits include up to £10 million medical cover, insurance for the loss or damage of your equipment and cover the cost of your ski pass if you fall ill or have an accident that keeps you off the slopes.

Put simply, we'll be there for any slip ups.

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Laws and customs: Don't hide your face

It's illegal to conceal your face in public in France, even if it's part of your religious or cultural beliefs. There's a maximum fine of €150 for anyone who's caught out.

Electricity: Powering your holiday

Sometimes it's nice to escape technology on holiday. But if you're bringing a charger for your mobile phone or digital camera, the electricity voltage in France is 220 Volts and 50Hz on AC. You should be able to pick up a conversion kit in the UK before you leave without too much hassle.

France: Know Before You Go

For up to the minute travel news that doesn't make the headlines, check out the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office's website. Their Know Before You Go site has information on all risks to all travellers in more than 255 countries and territories around the world.

See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.

Follow the FCDO on twitter HERE.

Of course, if you have any questions about our France travel insurance, please contact World First Travel Insurance.

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