Introduction to home insurance in France

There are two main types of home insurance (assurance habitation) in France:

  • Civil liability insurance (assurance responsabilité civile), which covers damage to third parties and their property caused by you or your home.
  • Multi-risk insurance (assurance multirisque), which is liability insurance plus protection for your own home and its contents.

Civil liability insurance

It is the basic coverage for injury in your home or damage to third parties or their property. Extended policies can include accidents you’re involved in outside of the home or damage caused by your family members or pets. The insurance does not cover your own property or belongings.

Multi-risk home insurance

It is the most popular type of home insurance in France. It typically includes civil liability insurance plus coverage against damage to your home and its contents.

Most mortgage providers will require owners to contract this type of home insurance.

The insurance will typically cover fire, theft, water damage, storm damage, and other natural disasters. It is possible to add coverage such as electrical damage or damage/loss due to negligence.

Insurers can also provide specific multi-risk policies for investors to insure their rental property:

A Non-occupant homeowners insurance (assurance propriétaire non occupant or PNO)

The PNO insurance is mandatory if it is subject to a co-ownership regime (Alur law of 2014) and guarantees you against damage to third parties (neighbors, passers-by, etc.) caused by:

  • Yourself, through negligence or recklessness
  • Your beneficiaries
  • The people you employ (landscaping or housework for example)
  • A construction defect or a lack of maintenance of the rented or unoccupied accommodation.

The PNO insurance is also useful to cover damages to the co-ownership (in common areas of the building for example) or to neighbors as the tenant’s insurance (full time or seasonal tenancy) will usually not.

A PNO insurance will :

  • Add guarantee to the existing tenant’s insurance (for full time or temporally tenants).
  • Cover fire, water damage (with search of leaks), climatic events or natural disasters, theft, vandalism and glass breakage (windows and possibly solar panels).
  • Cover the property when it is vacant, while repairs are being made to the accommodation or when it is occupied free of charge.

You must pay particular attention to the coverage and exclusions from warranty when contracting a PNO insurance. Pay attention to the following specifications:

  • The excess (La franchise): this is the amount that will remain due after compensation from the insurer.
  • The maximum compensation amount (Le plafond d’indemnisation): this is the maximum amount that the insurer will agree to pay for a claim
  • The duration of the guarantees (La durée des garanties) or the maximum tolerated rental vacancy (La vacance locative maximale): PNO insurance terms can provide for an interruption of coverage or termination of the contract if the property remains vacant for too long.
  • Lost rental income (La perte de loyer): this guarantee does not cover unpaid rent, but provides compensation in the event that the accommodation is uninhabitable for several months following a claim.
  • Damage to furniture (Les dommages au mobilier): this compensation is mainly intended for owners of a furnished property. Check how content value is taken into account and the maximum amount covered.
  • Legal protection (La protection juridique): it covers the expenses related to a legal dispute. Check the level of coverage for the costs and compensation limits.

The team at Private Rate wishes you a well-deserved rest this holiday season. Our best wishes for peace and prosperity throughout the coming year.

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