Home insurance in France is a legal requirement – whether you own your home or rent – you must have insurance.
Guide to home insurance in France
When you buy a property in France you will have to have a home insurance policy in hand before the final signing of documents and transfer of funds/property may take place.
If you are not resident in France but own a property you can purchase insurance through a French company or a company in your own country.
French insurance companies may want photographs of certain aspects, for instance outbuildings that may be in a state of disrepair or they may want a plan or sketch of the layout of the house. They will want to know the sizes of rooms and number of rooms – so be prepared with the information. If you’re buying a property, ask the estate agent (immobilier) or notaire (the lawyer handling the purchase) for that information in advance.
Check the details for home insurance to make sure you have all you need
Different insurers have different requirements – check carefully things like fire alarms, window locks, door locks, animals, some may even require that you have window shutters that must be closed when you are not there or at night.
If you have children, check if your home cover policy covers you for school insurance. It is mandatory at many schools in France for children to be insured before starting the new school year and school activities outside of school hours or field trips cannot be attended without it. Many French home insurance policies offer this cover – or you can buy it separately.
Home insurance policies in France are comprehensive and cover damage to your home and contents, such as fire, water damage, theft and vandalism. If you want cover for additional buildings such as sheds, greenhouses, pool houses etc – make this clear when you are discussing the policy with the insurance company – or you might find it has been left off and is not covered.
The home insurance policy will also cover you for accidents caused to someone else at your home and for natural disasters such as floods, forest fires etc.
If you want to change French insurers – you must notify your insurance company in writing at least 2 months before the policy ends advising that you do not intend to renew the insurance policy with them and want to cancel. You will most likely have to pay the cost of the policy if you don’t do this and failure to do so may result in you being “blacklisted” and unable to purchase insurance in France. You can also ask your new insurers to cancel your policy – they will have to give at least 30 days notice in writing as long as your the policy you want to cancel is 12 months or more old, and you should receive a refund if that’s applicable (under Loi Hamon).
Check the small print of the policy carefully for the information regarding excess payments and your obligations such as alarms and locks (as above). Some French insurers can provide you with English language documentation or assistance.
As everywhere, it pays to search for the best deals and ask for a discount if you intend to take out more than one insurance policy with the company.