What type of insurance do au pairs need in France?

How can host families ensure that their au pairs are provided with the best possible insurance coverage? We wished to find out more and interviewed Ms Christine Barrat-Sentagne, expert on insurances and director of Travel Zen in Paris.

Interview with an expert on insurances in France
"It is important to have your au pair covered for any situation which may occur." On this page, Ms Christine Barrat-Sentagne answers our questions on insurance in France.

Icon Un sujet - vos questionsIs it compulsory for au pairs working in France to register with Social Security (Sécurité sociale)?

Yes. In France, host families must register their au pairs with the URSSAF and Sécurité sociale. In doing so, certain difficulties may arise and it can take some time before host families receive Social Security Numbers for their au pairs. During this period (before receiving the Social Security Number), the host family is fully liable for the au pair's medical expenses, if they have not taken out private insurance. Furthermore, even after receiving the Social Security Number, the Sécurité sociale only covers part of the cost of medical expenses. Thus, host families need to bear the remaining costs. It is therefore recommended that insurance with a private insurance company be taken out for the au pair in addition to the Sécurité sociale. This will offer coverage from the first euro spent, with no cost-sharing or qualifying periods involved.

Icon Un sujet - vos questions Who should pay for the au pair's insurance?

Host families pay for the au pair insurance. They pay the contributions to the Sécurité sociale and the cost of private insurance for their au pairs. However, it is also possible that both contracting parties agree to share the costs.

Icon Un sujet - vos questionsDoes the French health insurance (Sécurité sociale) provide sufficient coverage for au pairs in case of illness?

French health insurance (Sécurité sociale) covers up to 70 per cent of the total of all medical expenses for doctor's visits. The proportion of drug expenses covered, varies according to the type of medicine. Au pairs also need to observe the provisions of the French health care system requiring them to select their attending general practitioner and contact him first, in the event of illness. Otherwise, the reimbursement will be lower. Thus, under Sécurité sociale, au pairs do not receive full medical insurance coverage, and host families are liable for those costs not covered. By taking out an additional insurance policy at a private insurance company, they can claim reimbursement for these additional costs borne by themselves from the first euro spent and, as another benefit, their au pairs are not compelled to adhere to the provisions of the French health care system, regarding choice of general practitioner.

If an au pair is no longer able to carry out his or her tasks due to illness or maternity, a new problem arises, and the au pair needs to be repatriated. The cost of repatriation is not covered by the Sécurité sociale. Private insurance cover, on the other hand, includes the cost of repatriation. Thus, the au pair is able to return to his or her own country, on account of his or her state of health.

Icon Un sujet - vos questions Do au pairs need any other types of insurance?

  • It is highly recommended that au pairs have personal liability insurance in case of any physical or material damage, which may be caused intentionally or unintentionally. Host families should extend their own personal liability insurance to their au pairs or take out an individual insurance policy for them.
  • Should you expect your au pair to drive your car during the au pair stay, you should ask your car insurance provider well in advance, to include your au pair in your insurance contract. Furthermore, you need to discuss with your au pair who will bear any uninsured costs in case of an accident caused by the au pair.
  • Most private au pair insurance providers cover the cost of an early departure of an au pair in the event of a death in the au pair's family. This allows your au pair to attend the funeral and resume his or her stay with you.
  • It could also prove useful to have the personal belongings of your au pair covered for his or her travel and entire duration of stay at your home. As the au pair will be living together with you or in a room provided by you, it is a good idea to take out a housholder's insurance policy to have the au pair's personal belongings covered throughout his or her stay. Please find out if you can extend your own householder's insurance to cover your au pair or if you need to take out an individual insurance policy.
  • Ultimately and depending on the type of sporting activities the au pairs prefer, it is important to ensure that they are well covered while practising winter and extreme sports. This includes injury (health), as well as personal liability insurance.

Icon Un sujet - vos questions I am hosting an au pair from the EU: what are the formalities to be completed?

Whether the au pairs are from an EU or a non-EU country, host families need to register them with their local URSSAF to pay the necessary contributions to have them covered by the French Social Security (Sécurité sociale).

Icon Un sujet - vos questions Are there any particular considerations for au pairs from outside the EU?

Dependent upon their country of origin or residence, it is possible that au pairs need to provide an insurance certificate in order to obtain their visa. To have an insurance certificate issued, host families can ask their private insurance providers to draft an insurance contract with an open date. As soon as they find out the exact date of arrival of their au pairs, the families need to inform their insurance companies to have them enter the correct date and send them the final documents.

Icon Un sujet - vos questions How far in advance should host families arrange au pair insurance?

It is best to allow sufficient time to arrange a policy. However, most private insurance policies can be taken out just before the au pairs leave their countries. If families do not take care of the necessary paperwork prior to their au pairs' arrival, they can also benefit from various offers made by the insurance companies upon their au pairs' arrival in France. It is also possible to take out the policy well in advance and have it updated, as soon as the host families know the exact dates concerning the au pair stay. Should the visa application be rejected, some insurance companies cancel the policy upon receipt of the corresponding official proof of visa denial or transfer it to the new au pair of the particular family.

Icon Un sujet - vos questions  What if families wish to take their au pairs on a holiday?

Some families may decide to take their au pairs along with them on their holiday abroad. In this context, it is important to double-check with the private insurance companies, as to whether the insurance contract provides sufficient coverage for the au pair whilst abroad. Should families not have taken out a private insurance policy, it is essential that they sign a travel insurance policy for their short-term stay outside of France.

Icon Un sujet - vos questions What is the typical cost of au pair insurance?

The amount you pay depends on your au pair's country of origin, as well as the duration of stay. On average, you need to pay 25 € per month for au pairs from the EU and 40 € per month for au pairs from outside the EU. Some insurance companies offer the possibility to renew your insurance policy.

Icon Un sujet - vos questions Do you have any further suggestions?

Do not under-insure au pairs. It is very important to have them covered from the time of their departure until their arrival back home. Au pairs will wish to make the most of their stay abroad and discover France or Europe. In doing so, they should benefit from full insurance coverage for all types of activities and situations.

The following page will provide you with everything you need to know about the au pair stay in France and in particular information about insurance for au pairs and host families. We have also dedicated one topic to specific questions concerning the au pair stay in France.

Do you have any further questions on insurances in France? In this case, simply contact Travel Zen directly: email: contact@travel-zen.com.

We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.

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