Formerly, unless there was a change in your personal circumstances (such as sale of the vehicle or house) it was necessary to wait until the anniversary date of the policy and give two months prior notice to terminate.
If you did not terminate then, provided the insurance company had given you with due notice, the insurance policy was automatically renewed.
Following a legislative proposal by parliamentarians in the governing party, the government accepted the need to end the practice, as a result of which the change in the law was adopted over the summer.
The new arrangements apply from 1st December 2020 when for all policies that are in place on this date, and for all new policies, it will become possible to terminate a policy at any time, provided you have held it for at least a year.
It will apply to all complementary health contracts, whether provided by a private insurer or a 'mutuelle'.
The termination takes effect one month after the insurer has received notification from you.
No charge or penalty can be imposed, although you will be asked to pay the portion of the premium corresponding to the period when the risk continued to be covered.
If you have paid your premium annually, the insurance company will have to refund you the part of the premium in proportion to the time you were covered.
Thus, if you have paid the full year's premium and you terminate after 6 months, the termination will be effective 1 month later (6+1 = 7 months), and the insurer must refund you 5 months' premium.
The insurer has 30 days to make the refund, failing which they are liable to interest rate charges on the outstanding sum.
You can terminate the policy by any means, but it is best done by recorded delivery letter. Where it is an on-line contract all you need do is send an e-mail, to which the insurer is required to respond, although you will need to monitor to ensure there is no delay.
Insurers are required by the law to state clearly your termination rights (droits de resiliation), both in the policy and in the annual renewal notice.
UFC-Que Choisir, a French consumer association, estimates that it represents a gain in purchasing power of €1.2 billion for policyholders.
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