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  #1  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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French Guiana insurance help

Hi, looking for some help here.

I'm in Suriname right now and looking to head into French Guiana soon. I was planning on getting insurance when I got to FG, but I met another rider who wasn't allowed out of customs without insurance and he was unable to buy it for less than 1 year in St. Laurent (at around 3,000euro!). He ended up turning back. If looked around in Paramaribo, but no one sells it for bikes going to FG.

Does anyone who traveled through there still have their insurance details (ie contact info and such?).

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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Damn, that's not good. I guess I will have to look for it here in Belem or in Oiapoque.
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  #3  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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I've heard that if you enter from Brazil that they let you go to Cayenne and buy it, it's only when you enter from Suriname where you have the problem since you can buy insurance in Saint Laurent, just not for less than 1 year...

I'd check to see in Belem just in case though.
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Old 15 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRad View Post
I've heard that if you enter from Brazil that they let you go to Cayenne and buy it,
That's what I did (and maybe where you heard this). It was not cheap, but it was not 3000 euros either. No one checked for insurance until I got to the boat to Suriname, at which point it was essential to have it, so maybe that's the only chokepoint. Sorry to say I didn't hang onto any information about where I bought it, but the company was in the telephone book. Remember telephone books? I would think that some combination of email, telephone and express mail ought to be productive. How's your French?

FWIW, there are old trip reports and blogs from various people who made that route in your direction (clockwise)--I remember a group of camper-vans and trucks and one couple on a Harley, but there were a few others as well. Do a Google search and see what you come up with.

Otherwise, maybe think in terms of French Guiana being a part of France. This suggests that what you need is green card EU insurance, about which volumes have been written here on the HUBB. The European couple with a camper truck I met on the boat from Oiapague never even needed to get their passports stamped or pass through customs entering French Guiana, much less buy insurance.

Hope that's helpful, and sure hope it works out.

Mark

Edit to add: I suppose that the worst possible outcome would be to have to leave your bike at customs and take public transport to Cayenne to buy insurance. There are worse fates. People riding BMW's are always having to do stuff like this to replace broken parts (<<<--- subtle joke).
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Old 15 Feb 2011
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,

My french is good, so that will help and make the border easier (the rider I talked to said they were very 'french' when it came to him not speaking french...). Might be able to sweet talk my way to Cayenne...

Funny thing is, I've found two insurance companies here that sell car/truck insurance for FG, but not for bikes. They couldn't explain why- just no bikes.

I also check with my old agent in Europe and the green card insurance they sell (and is generally available to foreigners) specifically excludes European territories outside of Europe. So even though FG is an EU country and legally just another province of France, it's not part of the green card program.

I really hope I can skip taking a bus- over 500km round trip will most likely mean an overnight when you include looking for insurance... Maybe I might be able to get a hold of a phone book at the border and do it over the phone or something.

Ah well, builds character, makes me a better person or something!
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  #6  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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French Guyana

Hi DRad,

I like your last sentence:

Ah well, builds character, makes me a better person or something!

This is the right attitude, so you learned already a lot on your journey.

Sorry I cant help you much with the insurance issue, I crossed the other way in 2004 and only remember, that I had an hour long argument (the custom officer wanted money) entering Suriname about an insurance paper. My international registration paper had Suriname listed, so I argued that this proves that I have insurance. After an hour he let me enter Suriname.

But in FG nobody asked in 2004 coming the other way.

Good Luck
Suerte
Mika
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  #7  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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Shit, I forgot about French. In Paris even when I try to speak what little French I know, the people sometimes completely ignore me like I dont even exist. Too bad the guy said that the people are "very French" this way in French Guiana. Will be interesting. I will be happy to be able to speak Spanish again. :-)

Hope works out for you man. I will look around in Belem tomorrow and if I come up with something I will let you know. Of course the Portuguese thing is tough, but Brazilians are so gracious that they put up with my Portuñol and go out of their way to help me. If it wasnt for good people, My travels would have been much more difficult.
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Old 4 Mar 2011
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French Guiana Insurance - Redux

Here is my experience with French Guiana insurance just 2 days ago. When I entered FG, I stopped at the customs joint in St Georges, since it was the first office I stumbled onto after getting off the launcha from Oiapoque Brasil.

They told me that I did not need to do any formalities with the bike, as long as I could show some kind of document that said the bike belonged to me. All I had to do was go to the police station and get my passport stamped. Well, that was easy.

However, they did tell me that I needed insurance, but I could not buy it until Cayenne and I should get it right away when I get there. OK, that sounds great, hey this is a nice and easy place to travel.

After shopping around Cayenne for the better part of a week, even with the indispensable help of the French speaking DRad (thanks dude) We were not able to find insurance for less than one year, which costs about 800 Euros at the cheapest. There is no shortage of insurance places in central Cayenne and you cant go a couple of blocks without running into several places that sell insurance. However............

Despite the abundance of places to purchase insurance, none would sell less than a year long policy. Some places said that recently they used to sell it by the month, but do not anymore. So, unless you are willing to pay for a 1 year policy at the price of 800 Euros, it is a safe bet that you will not be buying insurance in Cayenne.

Ironically enough, it was a very simple matter to buy one month of Suriname insurance in Cayenne, right across the street from the Suriname consulate. 15 minutes and 30 Euros later, I had a one month policy for Suriname. Interesting.

But I digress. The FG insurance thing is not a big deal until you get to the police checkpoint (passport control) at the St Laurent ferry that goes to Suriname. For some reason, they will not let you in or out of the country at this checkpoint without showing that you are in fact insured and they are very adamant about this.

They wanted to see a Euro green card insurance, or any kind of insurance that was good for France. However, most Euro green card insurance forms that are good for France, have a little note that say they are not good for outlying territories. However, if you have Euro green card insurance it might work as I dont think these guys care enough to read the fine print. If they see the F on your insurance card, I would bet you a dollar that they would let you pass. But thats just a guess.

Now of course there are other more creative ways around this and I do not advocate any of them since it might land you in trouble. The French cops, although polite and professional, do not tolerate any funny business, just so you know.

I hope this information saves someone time and hassle.

Vince
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  #9  
Old 17 Jan 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRad View Post
Hi, looking for some help here.

I'm in Suriname right now and looking to head into French Guiana soon. I was planning on getting insurance when I got to FG, but I met another rider who wasn't allowed out of customs without insurance and he was unable to buy it for less than 1 year in St. Laurent (at around 3,000euro!). He ended up turning back. If looked around in Paramaribo, but no one sells it for bikes going to FG.

Does anyone who traveled through there still have their insurance details (ie contact info and such?).

Thanks!
I have been quoted 95 EUR for a green card (Europe including France) from Mototouring - GreenCard insurance for non european vehicles

They send it by post for other 10 Euros, otherwise you have to print it from your e-mail.

I suppose France includes French Guiana.
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Old 17 Jan 2019
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I met a French couple coming up from Brazil in a French-registered RV with French insurance, and they had no issues at all. I assume that's still the way it works.

Edit to add: I see that I already answered this question 8 years ago (#4). So did the indomitable Crashmaster (#8). I'm trying not to be snarky here.
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Old 2 Mar 2019
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In 2012 (sorry old details) I promised to buy insurance when entering from Suriname. Reluctantly I was granted entrance into FG. I found the same problem, nothing less than 12-month policies were available at crazy prices considering I was in the country for a handful of days. There is a military checkpoint halfway across the country, but they only want to see your passport. When leaving FG for Brazil I was stamped out at the police station. At the police station, they did not ask for proof of insurance, which I did not have. This was before the customs/immigration station at the bridge was operational, so leaving FG may be a more formal process now.
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Old 2 Mar 2019
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It would be nice to have some current information about this, including from people who've successfully used EU green cards.

Probably, the route thru the various Guianas (French, Dutch and British in the old days) is less attractive now that Venezuela is off limits to at least most of us. Shame, since that was a fun little side journey. And French Guiana, though expensive, has some interesting scenery, culture, and wildly-incongruous experiences, ranging from rocket launches to Devil's Island to Hmong settlements to sea turtle sites.

Of course, I've blocked from my memory the week or so it took me to bodge a repair of my busted KLR shock....

Mark
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