Insuring your French home is essential! Whether you are a landlord or a renter and live in a flat, a mobile home or a big house, whether this is your main or second residence, and whether it's furnished or not, you’ll still be better off with a secured contract. But each type of home calls for a different type of subscription, T&Cs, and costs.
This guide is here to break it all down and refer you to other in-depth articles about the different components of French home insurance
What does home insurance include?
The answer is: it depends - on your profile, the type of home you live in and how much protection you want. You can opt to go all in and protect yourself with a multi risk home insurance, or a scheme that covers a select few types of risks - both types are explained in detail below.
When you move to France, you may be legally required to insure your rented or owned home against certain risks. Accidents are more common than we may think, and don't just happen to others - no one is ever 100% safe from an incident! So whatever your situation and how big or small your home, insurance is always recommended.
We highly encourage you to use a home insurance comparator like this one (in French), to help to find the home insurance contract that will suit your needs and budget.
The types of protections included in home insurance
When you move to France, you may be legally obligated to sign up for a contract to insure your rented or owned home. There are 2 types of protections you can choose from to cover your house or apartment:
- The specified risks protection: this home protection covers solely the risks specified in the contract. For instance, a home fire insurance protects your property and offers guarantees in the event of arson, damage related to lightning or an explosion, etc.
- The multi-risk home protection (MRH): in this case, you are protected against all risks, except those specified in the contract. MRH is mandatory for tenants of empty rentals, to cover at least damage from water, a fire or an explosion. Note that the guarantees included in MRH contracts vary from one insurer to another. If you want additional protection, just add options or extended warranties to your policy.
Whichever protection you opt for, you will automatically be ensured civil liability.
The important guarantees of a home insurance contract
Each housing insurance scheme included guarantees and the more additional guarantees you purchase, the more your home's protection is extended.
There are some guarantees that should not be overlooked as they are tied to events can end up being very costly and unforeseen:
- The natural disaster guarantee: covers damage caused by floods, droughts, storms - once an official French interministerial decree is published about the event.
- The fire, flood and storm guarantee: covers damage caused by fire, floods, or strong wind.
- The water damage guarantee: covers damage caused by water leaks, overflows or infiltrations
- The glass breakage guarantee: covers you in the event of a broken window, Velux, conservatory window...
These 4 guarantees are generally included in multi-risk home insurance schemes, but you can check which exact guarantees are in your plan by referring to your contract, the provider's website or your advisor.
Ultimately, it'll be up to you to determine which of these apply to your situation and where you live, as you do not necessarily need each of these guarantees
The optional guarantees in a home insurance contract
In addition to the guarantees stated above, here are some home insurance add-ons you may want to consider:
- The electrical damage guarantee: covers damage caused to electrical appliances by short circuits or overvoltages, due to lightning or an appliance malfunction. If thunderstorms are frequent where you live, this one is strongly recommended.
- The theft, burglary and vandalism guarantee: covers stolen items following a burglary with a break-in or the use of fake keys. Note that you must report the burglary within the first 48 hours and have proof of it in order to claim your insurance.
- The legal protection guarantee: provides you with legal support in the case of a dispute with your landlord, tenant or neighbours.
You may also want to consider some more niche insurance guarantees depending on your home. Do you have a wine cellar? A large garden? A hot tub or swimming pool? Fine art objects? All these items require special guarantees.
Home insurance quote
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Estimating the value of your real estate assets
Before you sign up for an insurance plan, we recommend that you first evaluate the value of your home. You can do so by creating a list of your material assets, your personal items, and your real estate assets and then evaluate their value. Here are some tips to do so:
- Do you have an apartment or a house?
- How big is it?
- How many rooms does it have?
- Does the home have kitchen furniture?
- Bathroom equipment?
- A conservatory?
- Does it include outside elements such as a garage, a garden, a pergola, a garden shed, a pool?
- Do you own renewable energy equipment?
In addition, we encourage you to list off your important and expensive personal belongings: any jewels, works of art, pieces of furniture, high-tech appliances, etc. Note that the total value of your personal items will impact your insurance premium.
Really take into account all your property, personal and wealth when you sign up, as you will only be reimbursed for what you declared to your insurer!
All this will give you an idea of what home insurance policy you need to protect your home perfectly, and maximise your chances of getting covered in full. Indeed, if you don't report all the value you own, in the event of a disaster you may only be partly compensated a few hundred or thousands of euros per claim and/or per year.
Choosing a French home insurance provider
Important criteria to decide on your provider
Home insurance really is far from a one-size-fits-all matter. You'll find great variations in which provider is cheaper or more adequate for you depending on whether you are an owner or a tenant, live in an apartment, a mobile home, a house, second home or principal residence, whether your home is furnished or not, etc. You in choosing your provider, first assess your situation.
Secondly, consider comparing insurance contract prices - you can do so by checking out a home insurance comparison website, such as this one (in French). This will allow you to get yourself the best deal for your personal situation. Note that it is often possible to negotiate lower rates with your provider, in exchange for you agreeing to stay signed up with them with a certain period of time.
Loyalty can pay off!Some providers will reward long term customers with benefits, for those subscribed for a few years or decades. This can be a factor to consider, so ask your potential future insurers about this!
You may also be swayed by a certain home insurance provider because of their values, their positioning, their philosophy...
If you're tech-savvy enough, you can opt for a provider with a comprehensive phone app. On there you'll be able to manage your home contract, claim notifications, track your refunds, etc...
Finally, you can consider the extra perks that some insurers offer like car assistance, moving home assistance or repair services.
Can I change my insurer if I'm dissatisfied?
If you sign up to a French insurance contract but find that over time it doesn't provide you total satisfaction, French law allows you to do so. Indeed, under the Loi Hamon, you can cancel your insurance contract at any time so long as you've been subscribed to it for over a year.
Check out our full guide about How to Change Your Home Insurance Provider for more information!
Another option is to renegotiate terms with your current provider, as most of them accept to amend the housing insurance contract even after months or years. You could amend the threshold of franchises, add or withdraw certain guarantees, etc.
How will I get refunded by my home insurer?
Home insurers can refund you following one of 2 types of compensation of value:
- The "as new" value compensation: here the insurer will cover the cost of repurchasing the damaged goods, depending on the cost of a new equivalent item at the date of damage. If you decide you don't want to replace the damaged good, the insurer will in that case refund you the price of the goods as new.
- The value observed on the day of the incident: here the insurer will refund you by taking into account a coefficient of obsolescence. This is basically equivalent to the decrease in value because of overtime wear and tear.
If your damaged goods can be repaired, your insurer will compensate you for the cost of repairing the said item.
Can my provider ask me to install new equipment?
In some cases, yes. Your housing insurer may ask you for specific equipment in order for you to be fully eligible for compensation should an incident occur.
For instance, if your home is located on the ground floor of a central building complex, you may be required to install bars on your windows and get an armored door fitted. If you live in the countryside, you may be asked to get a burglar alarm or video remote monitoring. Of course, the cost you'll have to bare for these extra installations will be taken into account by your provider when applying premiums, which will be decreased as a result.
Make sure you check your insurer's equipment requirements, applicable to your type of housing and location.
Home insurance and your civil responsibility
In France, tenants are not legally required to insure a furnished home, whatever the duration of their contract with the landlord. However, if the house or apartment gets damaged, it is up to the tenant to refund the owner, or any neighbour or person affected by the deterioration caused.
This is where civil responsibility comes into play and can protect you and people around you (your family, babysitter or even your animals) in the event of an incident you could be held responsible of.
If you have children that are 18 or over, they won't necessarily be covered by your provider - it's always recommended to double-check if that's the case!
For landlords, they aren't obliged either to sign up to home insurance, however civil responsibility can cover them for any damage they cause and are held responsible for, in the home occupied by their tenants.
Home insurance quote
Receive a free home insurance quote from one of our partner providers.
The French home insurance certificate
The attestation d’assurance habitation, or home insurance certificate, is a mandatory document that you need to get hold of and then present to a landlord upon entering a new home as a tenant.
For more information, check out our article dedicated to the French Home Insurance Certificate.