What does your home insurance’s “water damage” warranty cover?
The generally covered requirements are:
- damage due to leaks or overflowing water-effect devices: a bathtub, a washing machine,
- leaks due to pipe problems, provided the pipes are not buried,
- breaks and overflows of gutters and channels,
- seepage through roofs, seals in sanitary installations and tiles.
The warranty options you can add to your contract:
- water penetration on the facades,
- infiltration through terraces, balconies, skylights, glass roofs,
- overflow or overturning of the aquarium…
What is generally not covered by insurance companies:
- damage due to condensation, moisture, porosity,
- requirements related to backflow, rupture and plugging of underground pipes,
- damage caused by a substance other than water (eg oil or gasoline).
How do you declare your “water damage” to your insurance company?
You have 5 working days to declare the damage and the origin of the leak by telephone or at your customer site. To be safe, duplicate this statement with a letter of acknowledgment of receipt sent to your insurance company. You can attach all the useful elements to proceed with your replacement: photos, invoice… of the damaged goods.
Send to save time an amicable report of water damage. This document must be completed by all persons involved in the incident. It must mention the contact details of the main people, the circumstances of the disaster and the nature of the damage.
Is the expertise mandatory?
Expertise is not mandatory, but if the amount of the estimated damage is greater than 1,600 euros or if the loss is repeated, an expert can be appointed by your insurance company. The expert report determines the amount of your compensation. You can ask for a second opinion in case of disagreement about the report’s conclusions. If you hire an independent expert, it will definitely be at your expense.
What is the role of the expert?
The expert must find the cause of the disaster, the circumstances and the possible responsibility for the disaster.
It will list any damaged items, repairs or replacements that need to be made. He will also pay attention to the degree of obsolescence of movable and immovable property.
These conclusions will be elaborated in a report, which will be used to assess the amount of damage to be compensated by the insurance company.
Should the expert send you his report?
The law does not oblige the insurance company to send you the expert report. However, if you disagree with the proposed solutions and if the refusal of compensation is based on the expert’s conclusions, you can send your request by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to the insurance company. The insurance company must then send you the report. If you refuse, you can go to court.
When does the examination take place?
The deadlines vary according to the insurance companies. On average, for water damage, an expert intervenes within 15 days, but this period can sometimes be longer.
How is the expertise carried out?
At the time of the examination, it is advisable to be present to show and explain all the details of the claim. At the expert’s request, you must provide him with all the supporting documents that make it possible to assess the damaged property(s): invoices, photos, etc.
The expertise will also be an opportunity to mention any costs incurred to repair the damage that could not wait. You must submit documentation for payment for the work. It is advisable not to carry out any work until the expert has given his conclusions, at the risk of reducing your compensation.
How to choose the right multi-risk home insurance?
Insurance companies generally offer a basic offer that includes mandatory guarantees for civil liability: water damage, fire and explosion. Depending on your property and your needs, you can adapt the options and the price of your insurance premium.
Since water damage is the most widespread damage, it can be an economical solution to take out the first quote from insurance companies.
For a hundred euros you can therefore be insured against this kind of damage. Nevertheless, before you sign, you should check the exclusions from the guarantee and the deductible, which may affect the amount of your contributions and your possible repayments.
Burglary comes only fourth in injuries. If you have no valuables, consider whether it is necessary to take out “theft” cover.
Should you choose an insurance company or a mutual insurance company for your home?
The two structures differ in their governance model and their goals.
That insurance companies are private companies covered by the Insurance Act. They must generate profits and redistribute them to shareholders. Among them we find: Generali, Axa, Allianz…
That mutual insurance are non-profit corporations. They have an obligation to reinvest all their profits and have no shareholders. Customers are members who influence the company’s policies and strategies. They are also subject to the Insurance Code. Maif, Macif, MMA… are mutual.
Insurance company and mutual offers are often quite similar and you will need to compare contributions, deductibles and guarantees against each other to make your final choice. To be as close as possible to your needs, use online insurance comparators or call a broker.