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All you need to know about civil liability insurance in France

By Jean
Reading Time: 4 minutes
civil liability insurance france

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Moving to France for your studies is an exciting adventure, but it comes with its own set of responsibilities, including understanding and obtaining civil liability insurance. This guide will help you navigate what civil liability is, why insurance is mandatory, which insurance you should get, and what to look out for before signing a policy.

What is Civil Liability?

Civil liability, or “responsabilité civile,” is a legal obligation to repair any damage you may cause to others, whether it’s physical injury or property damage. In France, this concept is taken seriously to ensure that individuals are accountable for their actions and can compensate those affected by their negligence or mistakes.

Civil liability is defined in the French Civil Code, specifically Articles 1240 to 1244.

  • Article 1240 states: “Any act whatsoever of man that causes damage to another obliges the one by whose fault it occurred to compensate it.”
    This means that anyone who causes harm to another must compensate for the damage.
  • Article 1241 clarifies: “Everyone is liable for the damage they cause not only by their own act, but also by their negligence or imprudence.”
    This extends liability to negligence, meaning individuals are responsible for harm caused by their lack of care.
  • Article 1242 further specifies: “One is liable not only for the damage caused by one’s own act, but also for that which is caused by the act of persons for whom one is responsible, or by things which one has in one’s custody.”
    This includes liability for damages caused by minors, employees, or objects under one’s control.
  • Article 1243 and Article 1244 address specific circumstances, such as damage caused by animals or the collapse of a building, adding further details to the scope of civil liability.

civil liability insurance france

Why is Insurance Mandatory?

In France, civil liability insurance is mandatory because it provides a safety net for both the insured and those who may suffer from their actions. It ensures that victims are compensated without lengthy legal battles, and it protects the insured from potentially crippling financial liabilities. This type of insurance is especially crucial for students, who may not have the financial means to cover large damages out-of-pocket.

What Insurance Should I Get?

Home Insurance

As a student renting accommodation, you will typically need a home insurance policy that includes civil liability coverage. This policy protects you if you accidentally cause damage to your rental property or harm to others within your home.

Here are some of the most well-known insurance companies in France:

  • AXA: A global leader in insurance and asset management, offering home, health, life, and car insurance with comprehensive coverage and excellent customer service.
  • Allianz: A major international provider in France, offering health, home, car, and travel insurance, along with investment and retirement solutions.
  • Groupama: A mutual insurance company providing home, health, car, and agricultural insurance, known for mutual aid and customer proximity.
  • MAIF: A mutual insurer catering to individuals and non-profits, offering home, car, health, and life insurance, with a focus on social responsibility.
  • MAAF: A leading mutual insurance company in France, offering comprehensive home, car, health, and life insurance solutions.

Student Insurance Packages

Many insurance companies out there offer packages tailored specifically for students. These packages often include civil liability coverage alongside other essential protections, such as health insurance, theft insurance, and travel insurance.

We recommend our partner WorldTrips (part of the Envisage Global Insurance Group), as a reliable insurance broker. Their insurance package covers both medical and travel expenses (therefore, you are also covered in the event of loss or theft of luggage) and your civil liability. To sign up for their insurance, visit the following online page:

Once you have signed up for WorldTrips insurance and paid your premium you will receive all details of the policy, terms and conditions via email a few days before your arrival. For more information about the insurance premium and all the details of the coverage, take a look at the brochure here: or write to

Credit Cards and Bank Services

Civil liability coverage can sometimes be included with credit cards and bank services, offering a convenient and cost-effective way to stay protected. Visa and Mastercard often provide civil liability coverage as part of their premium card benefits

civil liability insurance france

What is Usually Covered?

Civil liability insurance typically covers:

  • Damage to Property: If you accidentally damage someone else’s property, your insurance will cover the repair or replacement costs.
  • Bodily Injury: If you cause physical harm to someone, your insurance will cover medical expenses, legal fees, and any compensation awarded.
  • Damage to Rented Accommodation: If you cause damage to your rental property, your insurance will cover the repair costs.

What You Should Pay Attention to?

When choosing your future insurance policy, consider the following:

  • Coverage Limits: Understand the maximum amount the policy will pay out for a claim and ensure it is sufficient for potential damages.
  • Exclusions: Be aware of what is not covered by the policy, such as intentional damage or high-risk activities.
  • Deductibles: Check the out-of-pocket amount you need to pay before the insurance covers the rest. Ensure this amount is affordable for you.
  • Claims Process: Familiarize yourself with how to file a claim and the response time of the insurance company. Look for providers with efficient and straightforward claims handling.
  • Premiums: Ensure the cost of the insurance fits within your budget. Sometimes, paying a bit more for better coverage is worthwhile.
  • Additional Services: Look for any extra services offered, such as emergency assistance or legal support, which could be beneficial.

civil liability insurance france

Civil liability insurance is a crucial aspect of living and studying in France. By understanding what it is, why it’s mandatory, and how to choose the right policy, you can ensure you’re protected against unforeseen accidents and liabilities.

Take the time to research, compare, and choose the best insurance to fit your needs, so you can focus on enjoying your time in France with peace of mind.

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