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Sara, I'm sure you're feeling pretty beleaguered by now but hope that at least you have taken on board the fact that what your insurer is letting you do is to break the law.  He won't get fined - he'll just take your money and rub his hands.

I just wanted to ask you why, since you are happy with this company's service and feel they are on your side, do they insist that you to have illegally registered cars?  Wouldn't they keep you on as a client if you complied with the law and re-registered the cars?   Then you'd have it all ways.  You'd be legal and have the insurer you want.

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[quote user="greyman"]Sara, it would be helpful if you put your location in your profile. Disaster seems to follow you and I'd like to know where to avoid [:D]

[/quote]

I think Sara deserves better than , hurtful comments

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Interestingly on our recent claim where my car was written off by an "A" plate driver I spoke & corresponded directly with the head office of one of the biggest French loss adjusters based in Paris. As the French "A" plate driver & his insurer fully accepted liability for the accident the loss adjuster concerned, acting on behalf of the other party's insurers, made direct contact with the insurers in London to formalise the claim on this basis. The loss adjuster was made aware of my address in France & that I was resident at this address rather than my address in the U.K.

The loss adjuster voiced no objection or surprise over my insurance arrangements taking into account my particular residency arrangements. All the loss adjuster required was a full copy of the insurance policy, showing my French address, & the original & valid MOT certificate. The car was inspected by the expert at a local garage & was found to be perfectly roadworthy. The loss adjuster subsequently sold our U.K. registered car for salvage to a local breakers in France and proceeded to finalise the claim.

So all I can say is that nothing was hidden or misrepresented to the other party's insurer or the French loss adjuster who settled the claim.

I hear what people are saying re. the obligation to register a vehicle in the E.U. state of one's residency. However does this represent an absolute legal requirement?

Also I would restate the contention that E.U. law supercedes local French law. In specific areas as stipulated & set down in E.U. law. That is how I understand the system works with members states of the E.U.

So I think what we are talking about here is probably a grey area under E.U. law which remains open to interpretation. Quoting from French government sites and/or E.U. websites might not be presenting the full story one might suggest.

I fully accept that there has been no test case, to my knowledge at least, on this issue and that this type of thing may be open to interpretation by lawyers. The interpretation I suppose could go either way. However, I can only reiterate that as I understand the situation the Lloyd's underwriters involved have taken legal advice on the matter.

My own take on this is that in the event of this becomming a problem it would be the U.K. insurers who would have to justify their position. Also I would imagine that the insurance product itself would have already shown problems over the period (10 years I think) that it has been in operation. To my knowledge there have not been any problems reported & it continues to be available.

I suppose, given all the circumstances, this one boils down to a personal perspective & a personal choice.

I am going to try to find out a bit more about this issue & will report back if I do glean anything more definitive.

sara
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And if you are not registered with the DVLA and don't have a log book then you cannot buy a road tax disk and then the insurance is invalid for both reasons.

I don't understand this either Sara. Unless your husband is a UK resident then how can you do this? And he cannot be as he lives in France with you. If like mine, but the other way round, he is still getting his salary in the UK, then like us, he will have to pay his stoppages and tax in the country where it is paid, but that would not act as an exemption from french and UK law. EU law, well for somethings but each country has it's own laws too.

Sounds like your accident was not your fault, how it would have been if it had been, well I really would like to know.

 

 

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Why anyone would want to keep a right hand drive car and live in France beats me!

What is the problem - If you want to overtake anything other than a VSP or a tractor in safety you either break the speed limit or spend far too much time on the wrong side of the road.

Both the 306 - now 280,000 miles up and the X type - only 45,000 miles were at least €8,000 less after allowing import costs than a similar French registered car.
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For all the talk about EU law versus French law I noticed that on the EU website linked to earlier it stated that you needed to register your car in your country of residence within your first 6 months there so it seems that the EU expect you to register your car where you live.

SCL I can understand why people bring a right-hand drive car with them to France. After the expense of moving, housebuying etc why spend money unnecessarily

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I choose to drive a RHd car in France because for me it is much cheaper, at the time it would have cost me another €10000 to replace the car with an identical LHD one, yet I only paid £3500 for it, as they say in the states, you do the math!

For the same reason, cost, I decided eventually to register and insure the car in France when the road fund license expired, the cost of the carte grise was the same as renewing the road tax but it has been amortised over 5 years now and hopefully will continue for 5 more, effectively after one year I am saving the cost of a road fund license every year, the Contrôle technique being every 2 years is effectively half price and I could not get insurance and European breakdown cover from an english insurer for £120, probably the breakdown cover alone would cost that.

However if things swing the other way I would definitely have a UK registered and insured car, apart from the incalculable benefit of being free from speed cameras, pay and display car parks etc, the interpretation of EU law by forum lawyers would not concern me in the slightest, being insured would, however I know full well that once an insurance is issued the company will indemnify third parties no matter what laws the driver is claimed to have broken by forum lawyers, right up to the day they cancel the policy by recorded delivery, the bottom line for me would be "what is the worst that could happen?" and the answer to that is an amende of €135, doesnt exactly make one a mass murderer does it? and I agree that Sarah does not deserve some of the comments that have been thrown at her, I admire the way that she has either risen above it or refuses to be dragged down to the level of some of the postings against her.

And let's not also forget that there are plenty of UK vehicles that you dont stand a chance of registering in France, if ever I bring my Caterham Blackbird over it will have to stay UK registered and insured, I have a 72 Lotus Elan over here that should not present a problem with registering as une voiture de collection but luckily it is totally original and unmolested, that is to say standard, if you have a 70's Escort or Mini with wide wheels and flared arches which the majority that survive do then you have no chance.

I have a UK trailer and a French rigi-pliante caravane which came from the UK, they both should have a carte grise over here, the trailer will be practically impossible and for the caravan it just aint worth the hassle and cost, the worst that will happen will be an amende of €90 in the unlikely event that someone other than forum lawyers should give a damn.

 

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[quote user="Rabbie"]For all the talk about EU law versus French law I noticed that on the EU website linked to earlier it stated that you needed to register your car in your country of residence within your first 6 months there so it seems that the EU expect you to register your car where you live.[/quote]

No, it doesn't. Or rather, not necessarily. As mentioned earlier, the document:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/com_en.pdf

covers the situation - the particular part being Section II A which says:

" Determining whether Member States are entitled to tax cars.

As

Community law stands at present, Member States have wide discretion

over maintaining or introducing taxes on cars. The decision as to which

cars are liable for national tax is generally linked to vehicle

registration. In a communication of 15 May 1996, the Commission observed

that an individual cannot be allowed to register his vehicle in the

Member State of his choice as this would mean that all vehicles would

be registered in the Member State with the lowest tax rates. At the

time the Commission confirmed the principle that every individual must

register his vehicle in the Member State in which he is normally

resident.

In most cases it is easy to determine the normal place

of residence. Article 7 of Directive 83/182/EC10 sets out precise rules

for determining normal residence in situations where the persons

concerned are temporarily living and driving in a Member State other

than their own. However, as the Commission points out, Court case law

holds that the quantitative criterion to which this particular Article refers

(having to live more than 185 days per year in a given place) cannot be

taken as the main criterion if there are other factors which alter the

situation. Nevertheless the Commission considers defensible the

argument whereby, if a resident of one Member State keeps a car which is

used fairly regularly at a place in another Member State where he has

his second residence, that car should be registered in the second Member

State.
This approach is also justified in other contexts, e.g. for the purposes of vehicle testing."

The original document gives references to back up each of the points above. Basically, it is saying that, as SD has noted, France is entitled to enforce laws in respect of registration, taxation etc of motor vehicles for which either the keeper is resident in France or which are based in France.

Regards

Pickles

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[quote user="chancer"]I know full well that once an insurance is issued the company will

indemnify third parties no matter what laws the driver is claimed to

have broken by forum lawyers, right up to the day they cancel the policy

by recorded delivery, the bottom line for me would be "what is the

worst that could happen?" and the answer to that is an amende of €135... (etc, etc)[/quote]

No, that isn't the worst that could happen.

The worst that could happen is that your insurance company (1) pays the third party, as it is required to do, (2) discovers that you are not in compliance with the policy conditions, and (3) sues you to recover the amount it paid out.

Yes, it can.

As they say, ignorance is bliss. 

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[quote user="Pickles"][quote user="Rabbie"]For all the talk about EU law versus French law I noticed that on the EU website linked to earlier it stated that you needed to register your car in your country of residence within your first 6 months there so it seems that the EU expect you to register your car where you live.[/quote]

No, it doesn't. Or rather, not necessarily. As mentioned earlier, the document:
http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/com_en.pdf
covers the situation - the particular part being Section II A which says:
" Determining whether Member States are entitled to tax cars.
As Community law stands at present, Member States have wide discretion over maintaining or introducing taxes on cars. The decision as to which cars are liable for national tax is generally linked to vehicle registration. In a communication of 15 May 1996, the Commission observed that an individual cannot be allowed to register his vehicle in the Member State of his choice as this would mean that all vehicles would be registered in the Member State with the lowest tax rates. At the time the Commission confirmed the principle that every individual must register his vehicle in the Member State in which he is normally resident.

In most cases it is easy to determine the normal place of residence. Article 7 of Directive 83/182/EC10 sets out precise rules for determining normal residence in situations where the persons concerned are temporarily living and driving in a Member State other than their own. However, as the Commission points out, Court case law holds that the quantitative criterion to which this particular Article refers (having to live more than 185 days per year in a given place) cannot be taken as the main criterion if there are other factors which alter the situation. Nevertheless the Commission considers defensible the argument whereby, if a resident of one Member State keeps a car which is used fairly regularly at a place in another Member State where he has his second residence, that car should be registered in the second Member State. This approach is also justified in other contexts, e.g. for the purposes of vehicle testing."

The original document gives references to back up each of the points above. Basically, it is saying that, as SD has noted, France is entitled to enforce laws in respect of registration, taxation etc of motor vehicles for which either the keeper is resident in France or which are based in France.

Regards
Pickles
[/quote]Pardon me for breathing. I was making the point that there was no justification in EU law for keeping a UK registered car in France in stead of registering in France where there no special circimstances. 
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[quote user="Rabbie"][quote user="Pickles"][quote user="Rabbie"]For all the talk about EU law versus French law I noticed that on the EU website linked to earlier it stated that you needed to register your car in your country of residence within your first 6 months there so it seems that the EU expect you to register your car where you live.[/quote]

Rant rant rant rant.

[/quote]Pardon me for breathing. I was making the point that there was no justification in EU law for keeping a UK registered car in France in stead of registering in France where there no special circimstances. [/quote]

Sorry, I misinterpreted your post. You may continue breathing as you were.[:$]

Regards

Pickles

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[quote user="Sara"]I hear what people are saying re. the obligation to register a vehicle in the E.U. state of one's residency. However does this represent an absolute legal requirement?[/quote]

Yes, it does, with the proviso about cars based at holiday homes.

[quote user="Sara"]Also I would restate the contention that E.U. law supercedes local French law. In specific areas as stipulated & set down in E.U. law.[/quote]

EU law has to be enacted into the laws of the country, and it has been, as far as it is required, in this case.

[quote user="Sara"]So I think what we are talking about here is probably a grey area under E.U. law which remains open to interpretation.[/quote]

No, I'm afraid it isn't. It is quite clear. I would dearly love it not to be the case, because it could work to my advantage. As SD noted, and as the EU documentation notes, it is a matter for French law as to what registration and taxation requirements are imposed on vehicles that fall under its jurisdiction - and those of French residents do.

[quote user="Sara"]Quoting from French government sites and/or E.U. websites might not be presenting the full story one might suggest.[/quote]

I'm afraid that it IS the full story. I wish it were not. But it is. The generalised EU requirement for no impediments to free movement does not prevent countries from imposing reasonable rules.

[quote user="Sara"]I fully accept that there has been no test case, to my knowledge at least, on this issue[/quote]

In the UK at least, there have been cases of foreign-registered cars being seized because the drivers were (or were believed to be by the police!) UK-resident. In France, I did come across a couple of cases reported via French driving forums when I last bothered to look at this, but let's just say that although the law is quite clear, the gendarmes do not appear to be terribly concerned about enforcing it.

[quote user="Sara"]However, I can only reiterate that as I understand the situation the Lloyd's underwriters involved have taken legal advice on the matter. My own take on this is that in the event of this becomming a problem it

would be the U.K. insurers who would have to justify their position.[/quote]

The underwriters are not required to make you conform to a foreign country's vehicle registration rules.

[quote user="Sara"]Also I would imagine that the insurance product itself would have already shown problems over the period (10 years I think) that it has been in operation. To my knowledge there have not been any problems reported & it continues to be available.[/quote]

The insurance product requires the vehicle to be outside the UK for 9 months per year. This is perfectly possible to do without requiring a change to a local registration if the vehicle spends less than 6 months in France and the remainder of the time elsewhere - eg Spain or Italy

[quote user="Sara"] I suppose, given all the circumstances, this one boils down to a personal perspective & a personal choice.

I am going to try to find out a bit more about this issue & will report back if I do glean anything more definitive.[/quote]

I would suggest that you start with the legislation that we have already pointed out to you.

Look, I think we all know of UK-registered vehicles that are quite obviously based in France  - some indeed with no VRT, MoT and quite possibly no insurance - which have operated in France for a long time with apparent impunity. Just because the law does not appear to be being enforced does not necessarily mean that it WON'T be enforced in a particular case. If you are willing to take a risk on that - and so far nothing untoward has happened to you in this respect (and long may that continue) - then that is your decision. But in your position, I would not assume that I was fully legitimate in this regard, and I would not advise anyone else to go down the same route (though there are many who have done so). If your cars are fairly standard, then the cost of putting them on the French register is not that high, and then thereafter there is no UK VRT to pay, and CTs are only every 2 years. The payback on the changes to meet the French requirements would be very quick.

Regards

Pickles

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[quote user="allanb"][quote user="chancer"](etc, etc)[/quote]

No, that isn't the worst that could happen.

The worst that could happen is that your insurance company (1) pays the third party, as it is required to do, (2) discovers that you are not in compliance with the policy conditions, and (3) sues you to recover the amount it paid out.

Yes, it can.

As they say, ignorance is bliss. 
[/quote]

That will be why I am blissfull old Chancer then [:)]

Ever tried getting blood out of a stone?

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Sara has now been referred to the relevant pieces of both EU and French legislation.  She's heard all the sides of the argument (and if you care to look, Sara, you can watch replays on scores of threads on the same subject on the Driving board/bored).  Now I reckon she is adult and sensible enough to make her own decision.

As Chancer says, it is unlikely that an illegally registered car (as opposed to an uninsured one) would be a problematic one to be hit by, but it certainly could be a problem for the policy holder as many insurance companies will do anything to get their money back from them if they spot an opportunity.  Thus my point earlier when I emphasised just how large these claims can be (if mine gets to a million euros by the time I drop dead - because they'll be paying for home help until then - it won't be much of a surprise) and it's surely in cases like these where the insurers would be more likely to try to get a non-compliant customer to contribute.  Their obligation is to protect the injured but their motivation is to make money and to keep the premiums as low as possible for their other customers so if they can do that simply by penalising customers who break the law then why wouldn't they?

But it's Sara's choice, not ours. 

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[quote user="Sara"]Thank you for your further responses everyone.

I am going to take this matter up with my U.K. insurers & seek further clarification from them on all aspects raised.

sara[/quote]

Why do you keep going on about your UK insurers? They probably know little about French law and it is not their job to ensure that you comply with it.

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Please post their reply, Sara, it will be interesting. I think lot of us would like for it to be proved legal though it's hard to see how it can be.

Also somebody asked how you manage to keep a car registered with DVLC when your permanent address is in France, that would be interesting to know as well?

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A less flippant reply than my last one taking up Cooperlola's point regarding insurers reclaiming their monies from the policyholder, I am not sure that this actually happens in practice, the non compliance would have to be material (probably not the right word but i'm losing my English) to the cause of the accident for them to have any basis in law for a backclaim (bad English again).

Where a car is registered or the driver domiciled cannot be a contributory factor (thats the phrase!) in an accident and I cannot imagine an insurer using that as a basis to sue the insured or even less winning.

I reckon that they rely more on scare tactics and bouche à l'oreille to persuade people to toe their line and forum lawyers  are excellent for them in that respect.

I have known of people that have had their insurance cancelled by recorded delivery after a fault accident where a non compliance has been found but never the insurers clawing back what they have paid out to third parties, I have however heard anecdotal rumours of drunk drivers in France having to pay for the rest of their lives for their victims, but this has always been from some know-it-all baratineur, i dont know if it has any basis in fact, probably uninsured drivers rather than insurers refusing to pay out or suing the policyholder.

When you think about it probably the biggest risk finacially to the insurers is from drunken drivers yet they never sue them to reclaim what they have paid out to a tiers, nor do any of our insurances say the the policy will be null and void if you drive whilst over the alcohol limit.

I guess that we all agree that insurers will do their utmost to refuse the claim for the insured's vehicle or property, most of us have probably experienced this to some degree, maybe they would lose if we took them to court but they seem to have long pockets and in the cases where i have taken them to court they have been happy to spend far more money on their own legal costs/experts etc than the amount which I was claiming against them, and each time they settled out of court just before the hearing, with this in mind to me it is not worth paying for any more than 3rd party only cover if you consider that your situation regarding residence or vehicle registration could be questionable.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Picking up on Sara's problems:

Yes but.....It's not a French issue: You could have exactly the same problem anywhere in the world. with the other party denying liability.

My tip, for driving anywhere in the world, is to ALWAYS have a camera in the car, even if it's only one of those funny little disposable ones. A picture speaks a thousand words, and I have found on a couple of occasions that a photo produced at an opportune moment has led to swift settlement of a claim. I'm surprised as Sara took photos that there's any dispute!

But to be more specific, both Sara and the driver of the yellow vehicle on the 'wrong side of the road' should have filled in a 'Constat' there and then, and one then has the opportunity of seeing if porkies are being told and therefore summoning the Gendarmerie if need be.
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Never assume a road accident here involving vehicles will be a straightforward conclusion. A lot depends on the actual circumstances of the accident too, not just the insurance question and no one should ever confess to being at fault and never ever sign a constat unless both parties do because the one who signs is the liable party. We had a good example of how different outcomes are reached earlier this year when OH was en route to his work,driving along one of our village roads which has two nasty bends in sucession. You can't go fast, no more than 50kph at best due to the deep fosses and high depth of the tarmac which,if you do come off will not only damage your tyres and trims but cause problems getting back on again. Anyway OH is about 20m from the first bad bend when a Peugeot van comes round on his side of the road facing him and at speed with no intention of getting back on their side of the road. OH realised he had no room to get by the van if he stayed on his correct side ofthe road and hit the brakes which caused him to slide a good 15m and veer across the central solid line thus taking the front of his Berlingo completely off and damaging the driver's front side of the Peugeot. Both drivers were fine but still taken to hospital for the day for observation and then released and for some reason the gendarmes who were called out along with the pompiers plus two of their ambulances, came from the main town some 12 miles away and not the three miles from the next village. The other driver could have stopped or even got into a layby but she was 74 and could hardly see over the steering wheel.She refused to sign a constat and both parties were summoned to the gendarmerie to give their stories.The gendarme dealing with the case was very anti-british and kept going on about the brits and how most did not bother to learn french etc. Anyway we were harangued by the old girl for a couple of days who kept ringing to change her story and wanted to go through the constat again which they all did but she again refused to sign it and again ringing us next morning to change her story again but too late,we had given our constat to the insurers who took over.It was a write off but we got more than we expected because we furnished recent invoices for servicing etc. HOWEVER several weeks later we got a letter from the insurers saying they may prosecute my OH because he crossed the central line and hit the other vehicle which in all fairness he had no choice and no idea the van would react like that plus some years ago he ended up in a deep fosse and got hurt.If it does go to court we shall call for her to have a medical and eye exam as she may well be unfit to drive, have cataracts so she cannot see the side of the road etc. We were also told by her neighbours that she has had other accidents and is a trouble maker too. So far we have heard nothing but we are well covered with juridique etc BUT it does go to show how you can never underestimate a conclusion to an accident when you were the innocent party and it was not of your original doing. The insurers pointed out that this claim would not increase the new vehicle insurance and it didn't which is something and we have a new and better works vehicle now out of the whole mess.
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[quote user="Val_2"]You can't go fast, no more than 50kph at best .......hit the brakes which caused him to slide a good 15m [/quote]

According to this a 15m slide (never mind a 'good' one) equates to a speed of between 33 & 35mph or 53-56kph so I'm sorry but something does not ring quite true in the description of the event.

http://www.e-z.net/~ts/speedch.htm

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