Unlimited third-party liability insurance is mandatory for all automobiles entering France, whether the owner accompanies the vehicle or not. As proof of insurance, the owner must present an international motor insurance card showing that the vehicle is insured while in France. Normally cars registered in other European countries can circulate freely in France; check with your local insurance company before you leave to make sure you are covered. If necessary a temporary insurance policy, valid for eight to 30 days, is available from the vehicle insurance department of the French Customs Office (La Douane; www.douane.gouv.fr) at the point of entry (border-crossing or seaport).
Third-party liability insurance is provided by car-rental companies, but things such as collision-damage waivers (CDW, or assurance tout risqué) vary greatly from company to company. When comparing rates, the most important thing to check is the franchise (excess/deductible), which is usually around €350 for a small car. Your credit card may cover CDW if you use it to pay for the car rental.
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