Household Insurance

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When insuring a property, whether as a tenant, owner or co-owner in a condominium, not only should you consider covering your contents, personal effects, but most importantly any items of value. These may be jewellery, antiques, paintings, etc…

Standard household policies offer very limited cover in terms of sums insured on items of value, and conditions are very restrictive.

Another important factor to take into consideration is liabilities. Cover required obviously varies whether you own (sole-proprietor or co-owner) or rent.

We, at The Eric Blair Network, will guide you and propose an adapted solution. The following information only applies to risks located in France and Monaco.

Household insurance is probably one of the easiest types of insurance to subscribe to, but one of the most complicated to explain when it comes to coverage provided. One important factor to know is that French Insurance policies are adapted to the way French Laws are written up. In this sense, coverage always considers liability to third parties as the foundation of a policy. Then, buildings and contents are considered.

Insuring an owned property

In this case, if the property to insure is a villa, you will need to cover buildings.

Not many people know that French Insurers do not need to know the value of these buildings, they will automatically be covered on a full reconstruction value “as was” at the time of the claim.

Your liabilities as owner also differ from a tenant’s liability and these must be included in your coverage.

If the property to insure is an apartment in a condominium, the “Syndic” should have taken out a policy covering the structure. But he may not have included all possible perils and we would advise that this be checked out with him directly. In some cases, he may exclude fixtures and fittings done by the owners. We always recommend that a separate policy be taken out to cover eventual ‘loopholes” in the condominium policy, which will also include specific liabilities as a co-owner.

If the property to insure is an apartment but where there is no “Syndic”, then each owner will need to cover his share of the buildings plus their liabilities. In all of these cases, contents will also need to be covered. Please refer to the “Contents” section.

Insuring contents

Under French Law, are considered contents any items which can be moved.

Standard French Insurance policies mainly cover specific perils such as fire, theft, water damage, electrical risks. This may be sufficient when contents are considered as standard. But a much higher level of cover is available which is know as “all risks”, which may include “new for old”. The latter extensions must be requested and will obviously implicate a higher level of premium.

Whilst items of value may be considered as part of contents, coverage provided is usually very limited, if covered at all, and a separate scheme should be considered where these items would be valued and scheduled thus avoiding disputes should a claim occur.

Insuring a rented property

Obviously, no coverage needs to be provided on the structure as it is not your property.

Nevertheless, specific liabilities relating to your tenant’s status must be included in your policy, whether towards the building, the owner, other occupiers or even third parties.

Contents will also need to be covered. Please refer to the “Contents” section.

What about swimming pool security?

On 1st January 2004 the law of 3rd January 2003 regarding swimming pool security came into force. This law has been introduced in order to reduce the number of deaths by drowning in private open-air swimming pools, especially amongst young children. All pools, fully or partially buried, are affected by this law including family pools, those shared by a Residence, holiday clubs or centers, hotels, “gîtes”, or campsites.

All new swimming pools installed/built as from 1st January must be equipped with an appropriate security system.

The law dictates that as from 1st May existing private pools must also be protected if they belong to houses subject to seasonal lettings.

Thereafter all private pools must be fitted with security systems as from 1st January 2006.

To resume:

  • From 1st January 2004 for all newly constructed pools.
  • Prior to 1st May 2004 for all holiday lets.
  • Prior to 1st January 2006 for all other pools.

All security systems must meet French standards according to those stated in the ‘journal officiel’ of 16th December 2003:

  • NF P90-306 for fences and access barriers
  • NF P90-307 for alarm systems
  • NF P90-308 for pool covers and their attachments
  • NF P90-309 for removable roofs

Specifications for fencing systems:

  • Minimum height 110cm
  • Bars to be spaced at a maximum of 10.2 cm
  • Implanted permanently into the ground.
  • Gate must be fitted with a childproof lock (one requiring two simultaneous actions).

Any means of protection can in no way replace the vigilance of a responsible adult. Children should be supervised at all times.

This translation is for your information only.

Liabilities - School Insurance

At the beginning of each school year, you ask yourself the question ‘should I insure the children?’. At school, on the way, at home or during the holidays, your children could cause or be victim of an accident. Assurance scolaire has now become a necessity.

Are school children obliged to have insurance?

  • No, all free activities taking place within or outside of school grounds are covered by the school’s own insurance. However assurance scholaire is strongly recommended by the Department of Education.
  • Obligatory assurance scolaire has been imposed by the Department of Education to insure children for accidents occurring during participation in certain optional activities organised by the school. These include: school trips, over-night trips (classe de découverte…), their lunch break, any activity which exceeds normal school hours.

What are the advantages?

  • Assurance scolaire like household insurance includes third party liability, and optional cover against accidents caused by the child.
  • Provision of legal representation in case of a claim.
  • Capital awarded upon death or incapacity plus medical cover in association with the social security system.
  • What should you do to protect your children 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, from playschool to university?

Contact us!
We offer a choice of quality products to suit your budget!

Important & Useful Information

  • Whilst in France policies must cover natural catastrophes (earthquake, etc.), this is NOT the case in Monaco but specific extensions can be granted upon request.
  • Your letterbox can inform potential thieves about you: only display your surname (your first name can indicate your sex, avoid displaying the apartment number and floor). Ensure that someone empties your box in your absence or divert/cancel your post and papers..
  • When you go out, make sure your phone doesn’t ring for long periods of time. Use an answering machine and leave a vague message that avoids mentioning the duration of your absence.
  • Don’t put your name and address on your keys. In case of loss, contact the police and change your locks.
  • Please read the General Conditions of your insurance policy (at least once when you receive it!) and adhere to the conditions within. For instance, it may be necessary to have an extra lock fitted to your front door.
  • Always lock your front door, even for a few minutes. Never leave car keys in the ignition (a surprisingly common cause of theft!) when unattended.
  • Keep all bills of valuable items (preferably at a close friend’s house in case of fire), and photograph the rooms in your residence, showing the main objects of value. Note down serial numbers where possible.
  • Shut your doors and windows during the night (we have known burglars to climb 3 floors up the outside of a building to enter an open window at night).
  • If your house is protected by a private surveillance system, make it obvious to outsiders.
  • Use timers on your lights if you are out in the evening.
  • If you haven’t got a dog, buy a big dog bowl and leave it outside your house. Buy a ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign.
  • Install and use window locks.
  • When you are on holiday, don’t leave your car keys in an obvious place in the house. This provides a burglar with an easy getaway and you could lose your car. If the car is to be left for several weeks, disconnect the battery.
  • Consider hiring a housesitter or invite family to stay in your residence in your absence.
  • Should you decide to modify your house by adding more rooms, extensions, swimming-pools, don’t forget to change your policy accordingly.

Ask for your household insurance quotation?