Home insurance

Home insurance is one of the formalities required before moving in. We’re not hoping it’ll be of much use, but you never know.

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Home insurance covers you from potential damage that could happen in the apartment during your stay: fires, water damage, robberies… (we’re really not trying to foreshadow anything bad).

Is it mandatory?

If you’re renting an empty housing, the law compels you to get insurance in order to take responsibility for rental risks. Before signing your lease agreement, you’ll have to provide your landlord with an insurance certificate. Your landlord might refuse to sign the lease if you don’t have insurance.

For furnished housing, you’re not legally obliged to subscribe to home insurance, but you will be held accountable for any damage caused to furniture or equipment. Accordingly, it’s better to subscribe to home insurance after all.

In a student residence, home insurance is in most cases subscribed by your lessor and payment for it is included in your rent.

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Home insurance is mandatory in a flatshare too. Flatmates have two options: choosing the same home insurance and divide monthly payments, or subscribe to home insurance separately.

How do I pick my home insurance?

A number of banks have either created their own subsidiary insurance companies or signed an agreement with an insurer to offer insurance to their clients. Thus, there is Pacifica/Credit Agricole, Banque Populaire/Maif, Société Générale/CGU and Credit Lyonnais/Allianz. When you open an account in a French bank, they might ask you if you would like to sign for a home insurance with them too. If they don’t, you can ask about their offers.  

In general, their policies compare with those of the mutuelles, but they are less flexible in personalization of the contract.  

What are the important clauses?

Your home insurance contract must clarify as much as possible the guarantees you have the right to benefit from, and must allow you to foresee how up to how much you will be compensated for, depending on the kind of damage.  

The important clauses which must be part of your contract are the extent of guarantees, the type or risks covered, what can’t be covered, the value of insured goods, the maximum amount of the guarantees, and franchises. 

 

Let’s get into detail. Dusting off what’s in your contract might help you feeling at ease if you ever have to claim your home insurance! 

 

  • The extent of guarantees specifies what your contract insures: damages done to goods, civil liability (it’s always included in a home insurance, and might be asked from you in administrative formalities of all kinds)... 

  • The type of risks covered are generally the following: fires, explosions, water damage, robbery, vandalism, natural and technological disasters, terrorism. 

  • Your contract must also list what’s not insured, that is to say what you won’t receive compensation for. Generally, they’re not guarantees you really need anyway. 

  • The value of insured goods should also appear in your contract. You’re the one choosing the value range you wish to be insured for, and the price of your home insurance is mainly calculated based on that. 

  • Your contract specifies the maximum amount of coverage, namely the maximum amount you can be compensated for depending on the damage. 

  • Finally, the franchise is the amount that’s yours to pay following the damage, even though you’ve been partly compensated. The cheaper your insurance, the higher the franchise is.

 

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How can I get an insurance certificate?

Normally, your insurance company provides you with an insurance certificate after you’ve subscribed to a contract with them. You should normally receive it either by post, by email or via a download on your online dashboard. If you didn’t, you can of course demand it to your insurer by mail or telephone. You will need it either way: landlords request the certificate when you enter the apartment.

How much does it cost?

It depends on the housing surface and on the value of goods to cover. You can find student offers starting from €30/year.

How do I report a disaster?

If your karma is bad and your apartment undergoes damage as a result of a storm for example, you will have to declare it to your insurance in order to be compensated. 

To this end, address him a letter (link to the letter)in which you give all the information regarding the damage and describe the losses. You can attach pictures to your letter to support your description.  

How to terminate my insurance contract?

If your karma is bad and your apartment undergoes damage as a result of a storm for example, you will have to declare it to your insurance in order to be compensated. 

To this end, address him a letter (link to the letter)in which you give all the information regarding the damage and describe the losses. You can attach pictures to your letter to support your description.  

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When should I terminate my contract?

Generally, you have to give prior notice within 1 to 3 months preceding your leave, depending on your contract.

How to change my home insurance?

You can’t change your home insurer if one year hasn’t past since you signed the contract. But if you are staying in France after one year and have found a better offer for home insurance, you can easily change it. 

As home insurance is compulsory, you don’t have any formalities to conduct. Just choose your new insurer, contact them to explain you wish to change your policy, and they will carry out the termination formalities with your former insurer. Smooth!

You can’t change your home insurer if one year hasn’t past since you signed the contract. But if you are staying in France after one year and have found a better offer for home insurance, you can easily change it. 

As home insurance is compulsory, you don’t have any formalities to conduct. Just choose your new insurer, contact them to explain you wish to change your policy, and they will carry out the termination formalities with your former insurer. Smooth!

Will I be reimbursed of the unused pro rata on my home insurance?

Yes, the insurer has 30 days to reimburse any premiums that are outstanding for the unexpired period of the contract. Beyond this time, he owes you interests on these premiums.