France has recently been affected by several extreme weather events, with many households suffering property and vehicle damage due to high winds, flooding and hail. You may be owed compensation; here are more details.
Harmful episodes are also becoming more common in France due to global warming. Depending on the type of incident, the process for claiming compensation may vary, warns consumer website 60 million consumers.
Violent weather hit France last weekend on June 4-5, including ping-pong ball-sized hail and flooding that killed a woman in Rouen after she was swept away by water and trapped under water. of a car.
Read more: One death, 15 injured as violent storms hit France
For those who suffered property damage, the housing information agency Agence nationale pour l’information sur le logement (Anil) states on its website: “Whether you are a landlord or a renter, if you have taken out home insurance at all risks, it is obligatory to be covered for damages caused by storms or natural disasters”.
Insurers typically require you to file a claim within five business days of the incident, but even if you missed this deadline, you may still be able to claim. Here are some tips.
Take photos of damaged items and areas and protect them from further damage
- You may need to send photos and estimates of the value of the loss to your insurer, says the French Insurance Website.
- An insurance inspector can assist your property in determining the extent of the damage, depending on the situation.
- If repairs are urgent, notify your insurance provider as soon as possible and keep all receipts or bills.
- Protect the damage from getting as bad as possible.
Vehicles: Check your insurance
- If your car has been damaged by a storm, your car insurance will only cover the bodywork if you have contracted an ‘all risk’ (all risks) or ‘every accident’ (damage all accidents) cover.
- If it is the windows that have been damaged, you can get ‘glass breakage’ (ice breaking) cover.
- As with your home, a deductible can be applied that varies according to the contract.
- You must, again, notify your insurer of the damage within five business days.
“If your vehicle is no longer drivable, hail coverage generally provides towing,” France Assureurs said.
In order for your car to be compensated after a ‘natural disaster (natural catastrophe)’ (see below), it must be fully insured.
You will not be compensated for a car with ‘third party’ insurance, which only covers your civil liability towards third parties or passengers.
- If your home has been damaged by severe weather, it should be covered by comprehensive home insurance.
- Most will provide storm coverage on the same terms as fire insurance, which can include damage from lightning striking your home.
- The first thing you need to do is contact your insurer to find out what coverage you should receive and submit as much information as possible, including photos (as explained above)
To activate storm coverage for outside buildings and properties, insurers generally require that a certain number of trees have been damaged by the wind or ‘well built’ (of good construction) buildings within a 5 km radius of the insured property.
- They may also require a certificate from the nearest weather station.
- This bad weather certificate (for which a fee is charged) must indicate that the wind was blowing at more than 100 km/h.
- Most warranties here also cover rain damage inside buildings, as well as the cost of cutting down trees if they have caused damage.
- If your home becomes uninhabitable, your insurer may cover the cost of relocation (“relocation costs” or relocation costs coverage), depending on the terms of your policy.
- Some policies even provide coverage in case power outages cause the contents of your freezer to be lost.
Garages, terraces… and other exceptions
On the other hand, insurance policies usually exclude light constructions such as garden sheds or terraces.
Some also do not cover garages, barns and outbuildings. Shutters, shutters, gutters or fences, as well as television antennas, are usually excluded. Your contract will specify the details.
Coverage under the natural disaster regime (natural catastrophe)
The status of ‘natural disaster (natural disaster)’ is applied to events by the state on a case-by-case basis. This allows coverage for damages related to floods, landslides, droughts, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
- However, it does not refer to damage caused by wind (except in the case of cyclones) or hail.
- A natural disaster was declared in certain departments after severe weather last weekend.
- This specified the areas and periods in question, and other departments are expected to follow.
An official natural disaster declaration opens the way for compensation to be paid – for property damage caused by storm flooding.
If you live in a commune outside the area affected by the natural disaster decree, you will not receive compensation even if you have been a victim of the same bad weather.
In this case, we recommend that you contact your mairie to request recognition of the status of natural disaster.
declare within 10 days
- In the event of hail and storms, you must report the loss to your insurer as soon as possible, and usually within five days, even if a natural disaster has not yet been declared.
- When a natural disaster has been confirmed, you have ten days after the publication of the interministerial order (confirming the status) to declare
- The compensation will be paid within a maximum period of three months, but it is possible that your insurer can pay it sooner, especially if you request it.
Excess of €380 for homes
In the event of a natural disaster, you may still have to pay an excess.
- It is set at €380 for homes, motor vehicles and other real estate for private use.
- For properties for professional use, it is 10% of the amount of the damage, with a minimum of €1,140.
Indirect damage, such as loss of food in a freezer or the cost of relocation, is not covered by natural disaster insurance.
However, they may be covered by your comprehensive home policy, if it includes coverage for it, or by another policy that you have contracted (for example, through a high-end bank card).
Automobiles can only be covered by natural disaster insurance if they are under a all risks politics.
Damage from neighboring trees
If your neighbor’s tree fell on your roof during a violent storm, you can’t hold him responsible, as this is a case of Force Majeure.
- However, it is up to the owner of the tree to put an end to the problem.
- Therefore, they must pay the costs of felling and removing the tree.
The owner may be held liable for the tree’s fall if it had been threatening to fall for several months and you had already requested that it be cut down by certified letter, such as through a sheriff’s summons (‘sheriff’s summons‘).
Météo-France will give certified proof of a storm for insurance claims
France’s ‘natural catastrophes’ insurance system: how to claim