What coverage does home insurance provide?

While fires have broken out in several French departments in recent weeks, residents of damaged homes must now contact their insurance company to establish the amount of their compensation. Overview of the different elements to take into consideration.

This is a problem that unfortunately concerns a growing number of French people. Since the beginning of the summer, the fires have persisted in several regions of France, from the Gironde to the Jura via Brittany. Some episodes spread to homes located near plant areas, often causing hasty departures of residents as well as property damage.

To limit the damage, the inhabitants will contact their insurance company, but several criteria influence the amount of compensation and even the possibility of receiving one. BFM Business reviews the various points to be aware of in order to react properly to the disaster.

Home insurance optional but recommended for owners

First of all, it is important to bear in mind that forest fires are not considered natural disasters because they are nine out of ten cases of criminal or accidental origin. However, they are covered under home insurance. Compulsory for tenants and co-owners, this home insurance is optional, although recommended, for owners who live in their accommodation. On the other hand, it only takes into account housing and the subscription to an option is necessary to cover any external infrastructure such as a swimming pool.

It is advisable to opt for multi-risk home insurance which includes fire and explosion cover. This guarantee takes into account all movable property such as furniture, clothing and electrical and household appliances as well as damage caused by smoke and the intervention of emergency services. These elements will serve as a basis for the insurer to determine the amount of reimbursement. However, warranty exclusions may exist and it is therefore important to check the specific clauses of the contract.

A period of five working days to report the claim

The resident must obviously declare the loss to his insurer as soon as possible, within the limit of five working days. Contact can be made by telephone, via a form to be completed on the insurance company’s website or by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. The letter must indicate the number of the home insurance contract, the date of the loss and a description of the damage caused.

As such, the resident must take care to keep the burnt objects and photographs of the damaged goods with the corresponding invoices. He can also call on professionals to draw up estimates for the work. On the other hand, this work should not be started before the expert appointed by the insurer has come to observe the claims.

Clear the garden within a radius of 50 to 100 meters around the house

The expert, precisely, has the role of ensuring the conformity of the declarations of the inhabitant with the inventory. The resident must give him a statement of the losses on which he will base his estimate before sending him an expert report. In the process, the inhabitant can request a second opinion, at his own expense.

Then comes the part that most interests the resident: compensation. First of all, it must be borne in mind that this is not automatic and depends in particular on the respect of certain obligations. Concerning forest fires, there is one that residents must absolutely monitor: the obligation to clear their garden, on the one hand to prevent the risk of fire and on the other hand to facilitate the intervention of firefighters in the event of of disaster.

In France, the forest code sets the clearing perimeter at 50 meters around the house when it is located less than 200 meters from a forest or a natural park. This distance can be reduced to 100 meters in risk areas such as municipalities with a forest fire risk prevention plan (PPRIF).

Quick temporary help

Finally, some insurance contracts provide for rapid action in the event of claims. Among these measures are the payment of an emergency down payment in order to ensure the rehousing of the affected inhabitants and the purchase of basic necessities. Similarly, insurance companies often provide assistance services which may consist of cleaning the premises or repairing certain movable property.

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