Spike in expats moving to France with rise in car insurance demand

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New data has shown a huge 65 percent rise in motorists taking out a French car insurance for expats policy when comparing figures from April to mid-October 2021 with figures from this year. As financial turmoil and rising inflation continue to cause UK citizens to feel the pinch, it appears plenty of people seem to be turning dreams of finding an escape route into a reality.

Expat car insurance allows Britons who settle abroad to take their UK-registered vehicle with them. 

It can be used to explore the area that’s now home and also pop back to the UK for visits.

Analysis by immigration experts Reiss Edwards showed the level of Google searches for “move abroad” from the UK in April 2022 were the highest in internet history. 

Peter Cook, a manager at Sterling, said the cost of living crisis in the UK appears to be driving more people to relocate to France.

He added: “Moving to France has always been an attractive proposition for many in the UK.

“But we’ve never had this volume of business, or enquiries, about people looking to cross the Channel. 

“It can’t just be a coincidence that the spike has kicked in since April.”

France may be battling its own issues with spiralling energy costs, but the Government has been widely praised across Europe for immediately capping price rises at four percent.

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However, that is expected to increase to a 15 percent rise in early 2023.

Drivers in France have been under pressure in recent weeks after major disruption to its petrol stations.

Throughout October, strikes at oil refineries were taking place, resulting in thousands of fuel stations running out of petrol and diesel.

At one point, more than a quarter of all petrol stations had run out of one fuel type completely.

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On October 10, of the more than 11,100 fuel stations in France, 2,183 were completely out of fuel and 1,160 had run out of one type of fuel.

Because of this, British drivers were being urged to fill up their tanks before leaving the UK and head across the Channel.

Expats in France may also have an easier time navigating the roads than in other European countries, in particular Spain.

The British authorities are still locked in negotiations with Spanish officials to clarify the recognition of UK-issued driving licences. 

Since May, Britons living in Spain have been banned from using their UK driving licences on Spanish roads, much to the dismay of expats.

In the most recent update, Hugh Elliott, the ambassador of the UK to Spain, explained that he had met with a group set up to help advance the interests of those affected by the situation.

He said he wanted to “hear first hand” how much the inability to drive is really impacting those who have been affected.

Mr Elliott added that if no significant progress is made in the negotiations soon, he will request again that interim measures resume to enable expats to drive.

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