Travel Insurance for France
For many, France is one of those countries you never really need to leave. It quite literally has anything a holiday-maker/restless adventurer/hopeless romantic could ever want. From alpine mountain ranges and mediterranean coastlines to rustic wine regions and sophisticated cities, France has it all.
Here's how proper travel insurance for France can ensure you get the most out of your trip to this beautiful country.
Do I need travel insurance for France?
This is a valid question, as for europeans travelling within the EU, the existence of the EHIC card can cause some to question the value of taking out a dedicated travel insurance policy. There are however a number of reasons why it's best to take out proper travel insurance to France.
The EHIC card isn't some super talisman...
What many travellers fail to realise is that the value of the EHIC card can vary greatly from country to country. In France for instance, the EHIC card only entitles you to emergency medical care at a reduced cost - meaning you could still find yourself having to foot a large bill.
Travel insurance covers more than just medical care
A proper travel insurance policy should cover all the bases. What happens if you lose your luggage in transit to France? What about if you drop your phone in the English channel on the ferry crossing? How about if you lose your passport of misplace a large sum of cash? In all of these situations, having a reliable travel insurance policy can quite literally save the day.
Most travel insurance policies will offer lost luggage, personal money and passport protection as standard, with the option of adding gadget cover to a basic plan. At Holiday Extras' travel insurance to France offers these benefits and many more at no extra cost whatsoever. In fact you can even make use of our 24/7 personal assistance helpline if you ever find yourself in a serious jam.
up to £5,000 per person for cancellation fees
£1 million - £5 million towards medical cover
£1,500 baggage cover
24/7 Emergency assistance
Higher risk activities
If you're hitting the french alps for some skiing, or taking part in some other higher risk activity, then proper travel insurance is a must. Taking skiing as an example, the potential emergency medical costs that can result from an accident on the slopes can be astronomical. In situations like these, an EHIC card in France is really not enough. Having reliable travel insurance cover could save you a ton of money.
If you have some higher risk activities planned for your trip to France, it's important to choose a policy that will cover you for these. Check out the winter sports add-on for more information on how you can get covered for skiing, snowboarding and most other winter sports. If you'll be taking part in some other sports activities considered higher risk, then read up on the extreme sports travel insurance page, for more information on cover.
Booking your travel insurance to France
Now that you know why travel insurance is so important, you're probably wondering how you might book the best travel insurance for France. Here are the basic steps for finding and booking the best travel insurance policy for your trip to France.
Step 1) Read the reviews! - Before you even think about busting out your bank card and snapping up the cheapest travel insurance to France you can find, take time to find out what previous customers have to say about the insurer. Were they helpful? Did they process the claim efficiently? Do they even exist as a legitimate company?!
All of these questions are vital to ask and find answers to before buying a travel insurance policy. Otherwise, you run the risk of a nasty surprise should you need to make a claim.
If you're curious, check out Holiday Extras travel insurance reviews, to find out what our customers had to say about us
Step 2) Decide whether it's an Annual or a Single trip policy you want - If you know you'll be back in France again and are planning to make more than two trips in the year, then it would be most cost effective to take out an annual multi-trip policy. Make sure to specify whether you want European wide or international cover when you buy, for obvious reasons. If you're not likely to be making more than one trip in the year, then it may be better to simply take out a single trip policy, specifying the start and end date.
Step 3) Pre-existing medical conditions? - If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you'll need to declare these before buying the policy. With Holiday Extras, this easily done through our online screening process which takes only a couple of minutes to complete.
Step 4) Choose your level of cover - Most insurers will offer different grades of cover to suit the needs of the traveller. At Holiday Extras these are defines as Basic, Standard and Premium. All our levels of cover offer top level protection and assistance, the only variant is the exact amount for which you are covered under the policies. The premium level policy also comes with some added features you may find useful. It's best to check out the benefits of each level of cover and decide exactly what you'll need.
Step 5) Make the payment, then kick back and look forward to your holiday! - Once you've found a policy that meets your needs and you're happy with, just just make the payment online, then sit back, relax and know that you're holiday is in good hands.
France travel tips
Things that might annoy you about France
The French love to smoke (a lot) - For those non-smoking travellers from the UK, it may come as a shock just how much the French like to smoke, especially Parisians. While smoking isn't permitted indoors, you'll find a lot of people smoking outdoors: in parks, outside restaurants, in the streets during lunch break. This will be especially noticeable in urban areas like Paris and Lyon.
Snooty Servers? - In general, you'll find French people to be very warm, friendly and helpful. For some reason though, this does not extend to the service industry. Unlike in Britain and America where some patrons assume an inexplicable dictatorship over the waiting staff, in France, the waiter is in every way you're equal. You'll need to show common courtesy and good manners, but even then - expect to be treated like a nuisance in some establishments! Public transport staff can also be rather unhelpful, and won't give special treatment to those with limited mobility or families with young children.
Aggressive pick-pockets and beggars - This is definitely not as big a problem as it used to be, but there is still the need to be careful especially at busy, tourist ridden metro stops in Paris, like the Gare du Nord and the Gare de est. There have been instances where pick-pockets have followed tourists onto trains to later rob them.
The strikes - These do occur in the larger cities, affecting public transport and other services. Luckily, it's easy to keep up-to-date with the latest developments online.
Watch where you walk... - The French do love their dogs, and at least for other English and American visitors, it may be a shock just how many 'little presents' litter the streets. Be careful, especially when it rains...
The queues - France is one of the most popular countries for tourism in the world, so don't be surprised at the mile long queues outside major tourist attraction like the Eiffel tower and the Palace of Versailles. A way to get around this is by buying timed tickets when available, visiting some of the less famous museums and sites on weekends, and the more famous ones on weekdays.
Things you'll love about France
The dining culture - Heralded as the culinary capital of the world, eating well is part of the French national identity. A typical day might look something like this: croissants and coffee in the morning, freshly baked baguettes and french cheese for brunch, a full 3-course meal from the menu du jour for lunch, and for diner another 3-course meal with cheese and wine.
The pastries - Croissants, eclairs, macaroons, Mille-feuille, Tarte tatin - the list of native french delights goes on. With an estimated near 2,000 bakeries in Paris alone, there's ample opportunity to sample the pastry culture that has the world raving.
Wandering in Paris - Paris is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, so if you plan to visit France, make some time to explore this stunning place. By far the best way to experience the city is to go by foot, wandering the many back-alleys, side streets and secluded courtyards that give the city it's charm and character.
The shopping - From majestic department stores, to quirky pop-up boutiques, nowhere can quite match the french when it comes to a stylish and unique shopping experience. Historic department stores like the Bon Marche and the Bazaar de L'Hotel De Ville attract millions of visitors each year, not just for the chic designer brands available, but for the ambience and heritage of the buildings. Annual sales held during January and at the end of June offer unbelievable bargains, so if you plan to do some serious shopping in France, these are the best months to go.
Getting around - Especially in Paris, pubic transport is readily available and easy to use. By far the best mode of transport in the big cities is the metro service. It's clean, efficient, easy to use and very affordable. What's more, in Paris the metro lines spider-web the whole city, so you're never likely to be more than 600meters from a metro station.
The perfect start to a tour of Europe - Bordering Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, France is the perfect place to start a grand tour of Europe. What's more, the country's extensive rail network which radiates out from Paris, makes rail travel a comfortable, efficient and sustainable way of seeing France and the rest of Europe. What's more, most of the country's rail network is run by the SNFC which is valid under the legendary interrail pass. If you're planning a tour of Europe using the interrail pass, check out our interrail travel insurance page for more tips on getting proper insurance.
The diversity - Where else can you find mediterranean beaches, alpine ski resorts, tranquil woodlands and sophisticated cities? It's small wonder that France is the no.1 most visited country on the planet!