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know everything about how it works

When you are a building professional, contractors are responsible for results and safety. To ensure that customers can enjoy their work in the best possible way, a ten-year guarantee (10 years) has been made compulsory. Explanations.

What is the difference between a ten-year insurance and a ten-year guarantee?

To avoid any confusion, here is the difference between a ten-year insurance and a ten-year guarantee:

  • Ten-year guarantee : it is a legal obligation of repair (articles 1792 and 1792-2 of the Civil Code) for the builders of a work, in benefit of the owner of this one.
  • Decennial insurance : provides a ten-year guarantee to customers, manufacturers must take out ten-year liability insurance.

When a customer uses his ten-year guarantee with a building professional, the latter can then trigger his ten-year insurance. A nuance appears all the same on the side of the professional: it is not compulsory to activate the insurance in the event of damage, the craftsman can choose to repair the work by his own means.

Which professions must take out ten-year insurance?

All professionals whose activity is linked to the construction of works are obliged to take out ten-year insurance. There are four construction sectors:

  • Study professions in the construction industry : architects, builders of new houses, design offices, etc.
  • The main trades : roofers, carpenters or even masons…
  • Finishing trades : electricians, plumbers and heating engineers, carpenters, tilers, kitchen designers, etc.
  • Public works trades : often large groups such as Eiffage, Vinci, Ramery or Bouygues who work regularly for public space (roads, public buildings, etc.).

If your activity is linked to one of these four categories, then you will need to take out ten-year insurance before starting your construction sites. If you do not do this, you expose yourself to significant penalties in the event of damage to a work.

What does a ten-year warranty cover?

The rule is quite simple at first glance: the builder must repair any damage that could compromise the solidity of the work. It can be the foundations, the frame, the enclosure (the walls or the fences) or even the cover (the roof for example). Moreover, if the work cannot be used, then the ten-year guarantee is triggered. This is called “impropriety for the purpose of a work”.

For greater clarity, here is the official list of elements guaranteed for ten years:

  • Foundations and frames
  • Viability (networks, sanitation)
  • Road (path)
  • Structure with foundations (veranda, terrace, buried swimming pool, etc.)
  • Elements of equipment that are inseparable from the building (pipes, ceiling, floor, central heating, door frames or recessed electrical installation, etc.)

Customers are entitled to ask you for a certificate of insurance. We remind you: this is a legal obligation.

What are the possible guarantees for a ten-year insurance?

When you take out ten-year insurance, you will benefit from several guarantees in your contract. Quickly, here is what they can cover:

  • Professional Liability : this is a mandatory option which allows you to cover damage that is not necessarily related to the ten-year.
  • Juridic protection : as an option, it protects you in the event of a conflict with a third party.
  • Work damage : is added to the ten-year guarantee (which only takes into account completed work) and also protects you.
  • Subcontracting : if you are in the habit of subcontracting some of your sites, then check the presence of this guarantee.
  • Biennial guarantee : this is the legal guarantee of conformity. The work delivered to the customer must be functional, otherwise it may trigger this guarantee.
  • Miscellaneous damage (intangible, intermediate or existing): these guarantees extend the protection of the ten-year guarantee. Often optional, they are nevertheless very interesting.

Depending on the needs of your business, you could choose a more or less complete contract. Anyway, we always advise you to cover you as best as possible. If you are not, the viability of your business could be compromised, especially if you chain the construction sites…

What is the cost of ten-year insurance?

As a professional who has to take out insurance for the ten-year guarantee, you are certainly wondering the price that you could be billed. It is quite difficult to give a figure, as it takes into account many elements. For example, a large company will be able to obtain discounts, while a micro-entrepreneur will not be able to negotiate the price downwards… In particular because of a limited number of sites.

However, here are some price ranges: the average price for a micro-entrepreneur is €170 per month (figure put forward by the various insurers in the sector). In addition, depending on the activity, the ten-year insurance premium may be modified. For example, a carpenter will pay a higher insurance premium than a house painter, the risks being different. Finally, the antecedents also play a role: a craftsman who has already had to trigger a ten-year guarantee several times will not have the same bonuses as a craftsman who has never had a problem.

How to take out ten-year insurance?

Find an insurer for the ten-year insurance

Very often, professionals use the professional insurance with which they have already been practicing for many years. However, what you need to know is that this can be a strategic error: as with any market, it is important to have competition. To do this, you could survey several insurances, and compare the different offers according to the quality/price ratio. Unfortunately, this may take a lot of time, and you don’t necessarily have any in your business.

Choose the broker to take out ten-year insurance

Thus, turning to a broker can be considered as the ideal solution. As mentioned by the ten-year insurance broker CM-BTP, the broker is positioned as a third party whose objective is “to provide relevant advice for your ten-year insurance”. Thus, the first role of the broker will be to find the ten-year insurance best suited to the needs of your business. For example, the latter may be able to negotiate guarantees that you would not otherwise have had.

Finally, the broker can get better prices on decennial insurance premiums. By bringing a large volume to insurers, the broker negotiates lower rates, and sometimes offers a contract that defies all competition. Of course, it is a service that has a certain cost, but you have to see it as an investment.

How to trigger the ten-year insurance in favor of your client?

When your customer highlights damage corresponding to the ten-year guarantee, he must first contact your company in order to report it to you. If you do nothing (while the damage proves to be credible), then a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt will be sent to you. In this situation, we can only recommend that you act as quickly as possible, in particular to avoid tedious and costly procedures.

Trigger the ten-year insurance of your company

If you cannot (or do not want to) solve the problem directly, then you can trigger your ten-year insurance. However, it is important to remember one thing: if you do so, then your insurance premium may be increased. Sometimes, an intervention on your part is much more interesting for both parties (the customer and your company). Worse still, if the situation arises many times, then the insurer could simply choose not to work with you anymore.

So, if you think that the best solution is to trigger the ten-year insurance, then get in touch quickly with your insurer. The latter will certainly ask you to prove that the damage is related to the actions of your company. To do this, a file will be set up, including the passage of an expert on the site (or on the work, it all depends on the state of progress). This can sometimes take a long time, and thus block the situation.

(Photo credit: iStock)

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