Travelling to France? Compare and select the right travel insurance for your French getaway.
From the rich culture and history of Paris, to the stunning landscape of the French Riviera, France makes for an incredible holiday experience. Before you leave Australia to see the world class museum's and architecture for yourself, make sure you have a travel insurance policy.
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Find out more about Travel Insurance for France
There are risks that visitors need to be aware of when travelling in France. These are hazards common to many European countries and include:
- Increase in terrorist threats. Terrorism has become an escalating concern across the globe and France has not escaped its reach. There have been several incidents in recent years, including the murder of cartoonists in Paris in the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the recent Paris attack.
- Civil unrest from protests and demonstrations. Protests and demonstrations are common in France and can turn violent at times. Tourists should avoid such gatherings, particularly at night and in outlying Paris suburbs.
- Petty crime/pickpockets. Petty crime is widespread in France, particularly in larger cities where tourists are often the targets. Be vigilant on public transport, don’t leave belongings or hire vehicles unattended and only use ATMs in controlled areas such as banks and shopping centres.
There are risks such as these in every country to varying degrees and they serve to highlight why it is so important to have travel insurance when holidaying overseas.Back to top
There are a huge range of activities to pursue in France, from bicycle riding by the Seine to skiing in the French Alps. They include:
- Tramping – walking holidays are extremely popular in France and there are many tour operators offering packages.
- Climbing – France is home to the majestic Pyrenees and mountain climbing can be all year round, although some of the higher routes remain snowbound until late in the year.
- Cycling – France has some 60,000 kilometres of cycle paths and many tour operators specialise in French cycling holidays.
- Skiing and snowboarding – the best skiing is in the Alps and downhill, cross-country and snowboarding are all catered for. You can learn more about travel insurance for the snow here.
- Water sports – the Mediterranean offers a range of water sports including sailing, fishing, diving and jet skiing.
- Motorcycling – this is a popular pastime in France, but due to the somewhat chaotic traffic conditions, tourists need to be extra vigilant.
- Adventure sports – these include hang gliding and paragliding, popular in the Pyrenees and caving in the Alps, Pyrenees and Massif Central.
Some of these activities are regarded as being higher risk than others, particularly motorcycling and adventure sports, so it would pay to take out extra cover for those activities not automatically covered by your travel insurance.Back to top
Cycling is a popular means of transport in Paris, which has around 650 kilometres of dedicated cycle routes. Because of the number of cyclists on the roads and the famously erratic driving habits of Parisian motorists, cycling in Paris can be a dangerous pastime.
Between 2007 and 2012, 12 cyclists have died and more than 660 have been injured, which is a relatively low number, but should make you cautious nonetheless. Cycling around the Arc de Triomphe for instance can be particularly perilous, with traffic coming at you from all directions and no one apparently willing to concede right of way.
Do you have travel insurance cover?
So if you plan to cycle in Paris, make sure it’s covered by your travel insurance and read the PDS carefully to see what the conditions are. And if the cover doesn’t seem comprehensive enough, you might want to consider taking out extra cover … just in case.Back to top
What other European countries are usually covered for travel insurance?
European travel insurance cover
When travelling to France, it is likely that you will visit it's neighbouring countries and it is important to know exactly which countries are included. Always double-check with your insurance provider, but generally European countries covered by travel insurance include:
- the Azores
- the Balearic islands (Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Canary islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Gomera, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma)
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Ireland
- FYR Macedonia
- San Marino
- Republic of Montenegro
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
The French hospital system
If you are unlucky enough to become ill or injured in France, you will be glad you took out travel insurance with overseas medical cover. France has no Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with Australia and the average cost per day in a French public hospital is around $517.53.
General claims procedure
Ideally, you want your hospital bills to be paid directly by your insurer and some hospitals require such upfront payment. So when making a claim, you will need to contact your insurer and request upfront payment of your medical bills and submit a claim form, along with any necessary supporting documentation (i.e. medical bills, police reports etc).
Always read your policy carefully
This piece of advice is crucial, as your eligibility to claim will largely depend on certain conditions in the fine print of your policy.
Julia's excess surprise
Julia had worked long hours in hospitality to fund her 6 month Euro-trip on a budget. Just before she left, Julia bought a basic travel insurance plan from Virgin. After nearly 6 months of exploring the continent, Julie decided to spend her final week and what was left of her budget, in the southern part of France, Nice. On a lazy afternoon spent at the beach, Julia cut her feet badly on broken glass. With blood rushing out of her feet, she was rushed to Hospital Saint-Roch. The costs of the ambulance, stitching and other hospital costs totalled over $5,000. When Julia attempted to claim she was quoted a $500 excess charge, sending her into a severe panic as she had withdrawn from her emergency funds to pay for her final week's accommodation. Luckily, Julia was able to nominate her Dad to pay for the excess and return home smoothly, with the hospital bill taken care of.
If an emergency situation arises while you are holidaying in France, there are several ways you can get help:
- Call friends and family. Especially if you need urgent cash.
- Call the insurer’s 24/7 emergency hotline. Most insurers offer overseas support.
- French police. Use national emergency line 112, if it is related to a crime.
- Australian Embassy. Locations and contact details can be found below.