Tenants: Things you should know

What you should know about multi-risk home insurance!

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Understanding Home Insurance in France

Home insurance is an essential assurance of everyday life. Everyone has known the pangs that cause water damage appear on your ceiling with large brown spots and blisters. Fortunately, since the Multirisk-home insurance is mandatory, you are insured!

Is home insurance mandatory?

In France, tenants are required to subscribe to home insurance if they rent accommodation under a residential lease (including mobility leases). This obligation applies regardless of the tenant's nationality or duration of tenancy in France.

Unlike tenants, rental property owners are not legally required to take out home insurance. However, insurance may be mandatory under specific co-ownership regulations if the rental apartment is located in a co-ownership. 

What does home insurance guarantee?

Home insurance mainly covers the damage to the property and the civil liability of the insured.

Housing and furniture coverage

The multi-risk home insurance covers any damage to the tenant's rental apartment, including fire, water damage, frozen pipes, natural disasters, storm damage, burglary and vandalism, and glass breakage.
However, cash, stocks and shares, business assets, and vehicles are not usually covered by a multi-risk home insurance policy.

Civil liability

This policy compensates your neighbors and third parties who are affected by damage for which you are responsible ( for example, water damage or fire originating inside your rental apartment and causing damage to others).

Personal liability coverage

The personal liability policy covers you and the other members of your household against damage or loss caused to a third party. It covers physical injury, property damage, and intangible consequential loss.

What is the purpose of civil liability coverage?

According to the article of the law 1382, "If anyone causes damage to another person, he/she will have to repair the damage done. "This damage can be the result of imprudence, ... whether it is a fault from the insured or from the people he is responsible for or that are under his care. "

Civil liability is not limited to the damage done in the enclosure of the house. Whether you go on holiday, whether you are on the street or in a leisure park ..., if you accidentally cause damage, civil liability comes into play.

Civil liability called "privacy cover” includes all persons who live under the same roof as the owner :

  • the owner of the contract,
  • the spouse,
  • the children,
  • the house staff (cleaning lady,...),
  • the pets under his/her responsibility.

Some examples of civil liability:

  • You hurt someone unwillingly
  • A visiting friend breaks his arm while slipping on your wet ground
  • Your dog bites someone

You will have to make up for the damage done. And the bill can be very heavy!

What to do in the event of damage to your rental apartment?

Water damage, fire damage, burglary ... as soon as a disaster occurs in your home, ALERT the insurer!

  • Call or write to your insurer, indicating your subscriber number (this number should be kept in your personal file and be easily available.
  • If you have been robbed, go to the police station to complain. Send a copy of the complaint with your claim to the insurance.
  • Think of taking PICTURES of damages. When necessary, you can communicate them to your insurer.

What are the time limits for filing a property damage claim?

In general, you have 5 days to submit your damage claim from when the damage or loss occurred or when you became aware of its occurrence.

However, in the case of theft, the deadline is shortened to 2 working days, while for natural disasters, the time limit is set at 10 working days from the moment the authorities declare a state of natural disaster.

How to write a home insurance claim letter?

You can make a claim in any way you like: by phone, online, by registered letter, etc. Your statement should outline the loss, specifying the date (and time, if possible) on which it occurred, and give an estimate of the damaged goods. If the loss caused damage to a third party ( for example, your downstairs neighbor suffered damage due to a water leak from your apartment rental), you must indicate this fact, along with the victim's contact details.

What elements do I need to include in my home insurance claim letter?

Gather as much information as possible to assess the value of your loss, which could be photos, invoices, warranties, or any other document proving your possessions' value. Please do not throw away damaged goods (including items burnt in a fire), as they may help assess the loss's value.

How is your home insurance premium calculated?

The amount of your insurance premium is fixed on the basis of the risks that you have declared to your insurer. Other elements are taken into account:

  • your status (tenant or owner)
  • the m2 of your home
  • the area of ​​the dwelling
  • the value of the home and the of the insured goods
  • the amount of the franchise (The more the cost of insurance is low, the more the franchise is high)
  • taxes on insurance products paid to the Treasury (tax of 30% of the cost of your Insurance Policy, plus a "terrorism tax" of € 5.90 per contract to finance the Victims Fund)

Payment of the insurance contribution

Once your policy expires, you have 10 days in which to pay your premium. If you miss this deadline, the insurance company will send you a registered letter. Then, 30 days after the expiry of this deadline, the contract will be terminated for non-payment, and you will no longer be insured.

Does home insurance renew automatically in France?

Yes, most home insurance contracts in France include a tacit renewal clause, meaning your home insurance will be automatically renewed each year. However, you can refuse to do so.

How do I renew my home insurance?

Your insurance company is required to inform you of the expiry date of your home insurance contract. When you receive the expiry notice, you have 20 days to cancel your contract with your insurer. This request must be sent to your insurer by registered mail. 

Can the insurance company increase my premium?

Furthermore, your insurance company can increase the amount of your insurance premium each year. This may happen when you make many claims in a given year. You can refuse this premium increase by canceling your contract within 15 days of receiving the notice. Your insurer also has the right to reassess your premium. If you have signed an indexed agreement, check to ensure the applied increase does not exceed the legally stipulated increase.

When and how to cancel your insurance? 

Three scenarios are to be considered: considérer :

  • at the first anniversary of the contract

  • when there has been a change in your personal situation
  • anytime past the first year of your contract

These situations are well explained on the following link:
https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F19083 and you will find templates of letters here as well.

Photo credits to @Theeconomictimes