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Water damage is one of the most common home disasters happening in France. According to the official data, nearly half of home insurance claims (41.3%) were related to a water leak in 2020. It is normal to feel overwhelmed at the beginning, so here we will explain all the crucial steps you can take to settle the damage and get compensation.
Many different reasons can cause undesirable water, from overflowing toilets, and leaking pipes, to clogged washing machines. Therefore, it is essential to identify the origin of the leak as fast as you can when disaster strikes to prevent the situation from getting exacerbated and help determine the person responsible for the repair.
Suppose the tenant’s negligence causes water damage, such as blocked drains for lack of maintenance or overflowing bathtub/toilet for lack of care. In that case, the tenant will be responsible for carrying out repair work throughout the lease term.
When the apartment rentals are vacant, landlords will be held liable for the water damage caused in their accommodations and the damage caused to their neighbors, except for some instances, such as a rupture of a collective pipe.
During the rental period, the landlord holds accountability for water damage if the leaking is related to moisture infiltration through the walls, the bad condition of the roof, or the pipes.
The water damage can be caused by a leaking element that belongs to the building’s common areas, such as a pipe, a water column, or the collective heating. Under such circumstances, the co-ownership will be considered liable and have to turn to their multi-risk insurance to reimburse the residents directly affected by the disaster.
Accidents happen, and they are unpredictable. That’s why it is important to subscribe to a good home insurance in Paris. In case of a water leak, the insurance company will cover the repair of your damaged apartment and the compensation of your downstairs neighbor.
In general, water damage insurance covers damage caused by leaks, burst pipes, or overflows from a bathtub, a washing machine or a toilet, etc.
However, certain risks are sometimes excluded by the home insurance company; for example, the damages done by dangerous animals eating up your pipe…,
Therefore, checking the guarantees covered and the cases of exclusion with your insurer is vital before subscribing to your multi-risk house insurance.
When a water leak happens at your place, you must report it and claim all the loss to your insurer within five working days of noticing the accident.
If the water damage comes from your upstairs neighbor or the building common area and has caused damage to your accommodation, you and your upstairs neighbor or the building manager must claim the loss to the dedicated housing insurance companies. Depending on the case, you can notify your insurer by post, email, or telephone. And some insurers also allow you to report online on their website. However, the most preferable and resurfacing way is to send your declaration by registered letter.
This declaration letter must include the following information:
In France, we use an official file called a "joint water damage report" (constat à l'amiable dégât des eaux) to document the water damage details. This document includes the following elements:
This document must be completed and signed by all the parties involved in the incident, all the victims, and the building manager if the water leak originates from the common area. Once the joint water damage report has been completed by all the parties involved, you must send it to your home insurance company as soon as possible.
If the water damage deems as severe (the damage is greater than €1,600), there will be a third-party expert involved to assess the damage and determine the causes of the loss. In this case, your insurer will inform you of the appointment with the expert.
During the appointment, you will have to justify all the damages you have suffered, therefore:
After the appointment with your adjuster, the insurance company will send you a letter specifying the amount of compensation for this water damage.
If you accept it, generally, the payment will be transferred within one month.
In case of disagreement with the settlement, you can dispute your insurance. The insurance companies have established a final agreement to settle the least significant water damage claims as quickly as possible.
Editor: Siyi CHEN