Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Anomalies of French House Insurance ……

We continue to be crossed fingered as we move slowly through the apartment selling and house buying process here in France. …..

Theoretically only 25 days to go as completion is set for Monday 8th April and as the process continues we come to understand in ever more detail the nuances of the French and the differences between life here and in the UK.

House insurance for example! 

We understand that at the point of signing the final ‘Acte’ on completion day we must satisfy the Notaire that we have the appropriate house insurance in place.  Nothing really different there and getting quotations is a relatively straightforward process but some of the considerations and exclusions do puzzle us somewhat.

Buildings and contents insurance is all under one policy which makes life easier I suppose but no value has to be placed on the house – that is not even mentioned in the policy it is just assumed.  Value of contents must be specified however and ‘valuable’ items listed separately;  again no real difference and terms such as ‘new for old’ feature as options here too but how about this….

….. If a house has shutters it must be disclosed and theft claims are not paid if the shutters are not closed for periods of absence longer than 24 hours!

….. Water damage claims from frozen pipes are not paid if water is not turned off at source and systems drained!

….. Fire damage claims from electrical fires will not be paid where installations do not use French materials ……. yet it is not important how old the installation is!

….. Fire damage claims from open fires and wood burners will not be paid if the chimneys are not swept by a professional on an annual basis with appropriate documentation produced.

I suppose that thinking realistically these exclusions are logical and in most circumstances encourage and remind you to protect your property effectively; but one cannot help wondering why houses without shutters are not obliged to fit them and what would happen if a burglar actually stole the shutters or indeed was impolite enough not to close them after stealing your possessions!


  1. Do all french property insurance properties read the same? Or do different insurance carriers modify those terms. Quite amusing and scary at the same time. I guess you have to basically consider the shutter and frozen pipes as exclusions.

    1. From our experience they do all read pretty much the same and I guess the exclusions just focus the mind on how you need to look after the property!

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