You have just bought your dream property in France, and the Notaire is ready to hand over the keys. It is important you have your house insurance in place before this happens as the Notaire is likely to ask you for proof of insurance. But how do you find the best insurance cover for your property?
An excellent place to start is asking the previous owners of the property where they purchased the insurance and if possible, the details of the cover. It is also possible to take over the existing insurance policy – make sure you advise the insurers.
You must get at least three quotes, and the existing insurers used by the previous owners should also be able to provide a competitive quote to avoid losing the business. And that you have a clear understanding of what needs protecting. For example, properties villas may have swimming pools, garages and outbuildings, all of which will need to be covered by the insurance policy.
Your insurance policy should cover damage due to storms, earthquakes etc., and the diagnostics report you had done before buying the property will advise you on whether the property is at risk of flooding – which, of course, will need to be covered.
If you plan to use your new French property for just holidays, make sure your insurance policy covers you for long periods when the property is unoccupied.
Similarly, if you are renting the property, make sure your insurance policy provides adequate cover. Since holiday rentals are commonplace in France, getting a quote that provides rental cover usually is not a problem.
Cover for apartments is slightly different; there should be building insurance already in place. The cost is split between you and the other apartment owners in the building.
Regardless of whether you take out insurance for your own home or not, you should have in place civil liability insurance (responsabilitée civile propriétaire). It provides cover if anything happens on your property (e.g. falling tree or a water leak between apartments) it would impact your neighbour’s home.
Called multirisques habitation or la multirisque will cover the cost of repairs or rebuilding within your home caused by fire, storms, floods, burst pipes, explosions, lightning, theft, natural disasters. This type of cover typically includes civil liability insurance.
In France, home insurance policies automatically renew each year. If you want to cancel, you must notify the insurers in writing at least one month before the renewal date.
Finally, the most important thing to remember when purchasing insurance for your home in France is that you clearly understand the policy. While the insurance policy information by UK providers is English, French insurance providers are also able to provide an English translation of the policy. If you have any doubts, always ask for clarification, ideally in writing. For example, check the small print to ensure you are fully aware of what is not covered and what is covered and for how much.
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