Storm Ciaran blew hard in the north-west of France last night, with winds approaching 200 km/h in Finistère, for example. Trees uprooted, power and telephone lines falling… A lot of damage was recorded in the affected departments. “We will be very attentive to ensuring that insurance plays its role, particularly in the speed of the assessment,” assured Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin this Thursday noon during an update on the storm from the Crisis Center of civil security in Paris, affirming that he would quickly contact the president of France Assureurs, Florence Lustman, “so that all individuals have rapid access to their insurance and compensation”.
How can you get compensation for damage to your home or car? What property is covered? Le Figaro takes stock of the steps to be taken.
You should know that any home insurance contract must contain a storm guarantee, which covers all damage caused by wind, underlines France Assureurs, the federation which brings together the vast majority of French insurance companies. For example, a falling tree, a damaged or torn roof, or furniture damaged by rain following damage to the roof. There is therefore no need to wait for the state of natural disaster to be officially declared by the State to receive compensation - which has not yet been recognized in the case of storm Ciaran.
However, the declaration of a natural disaster is necessary for damage caused by flooding, such as the overflowing of a watercourse, runoff following heavy rain or sewer backups. “Regarding flooding, a natural disaster regime is possible. We are going to work on it today, we are seeing the Prime Minister at the end of the day to work on all of this,” Gérald Darmanin said this Thursday at noon.
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It is essential to contact your insurer as quickly as possible, by telephone, email, registered letter or otherwise. Insured persons have a period of five days to make their request for compensation. The latter must describe the damage suffered and a quantified list of all property destroyed or damaged with invoices, photos, notarial deeds or any other proof. “Depending on the description of the first damage, your insurer will tell you whether the visit of an expert is necessary or not,” specifies France Assureurs.
At the same time, it is recommended to “take all necessary measures to avoid worsening the damage suffered by your home (covering the damaged roof, sheltering the furniture, clearing if necessary, etc.)”. To put all the chances on your side, it is also advisable to take photos of the damage, and to collect the invoices for the damaged goods. “If you repair part or all of the damage yourself, keep your materials purchase invoices: they will be taken into account by your insurer,” adds the federation of insurers.
The storm guarantee in your home contract automatically covers the main building of your house if it has been damaged by violent winds. In the event of major damage rendering the house uninhabitable, rehousing (or security) costs are covered by the insurer under certain contracts. In this case, the insurer covers the cost of the hotel or any other temporary accommodation solution during the period when the accommodation remains uninhabitable.
As for the other spaces in the accommodation, the cellar is also automatically insured. Which is not necessarily the case for annex buildings, swimming pools, verandas, or even hard fences. “They are generally insured if they are mentioned in the contract,” indicates France Assureurs.
As for the damage caused to your car, it is covered “under the all-accident damage guarantee of your car insurance contract, or by the damage insurance of your car, in general fire insurance”, explains the professional organization of insurers. On the other hand, third-party insurance is not enough to claim compensation for your vehicle.
For damage to buildings, reimbursement is based on the reconstruction value. “The insurer covers the costs of repairs on the basis of an estimate as long as it has validated it and it does not exceed the value of the building declared in the contract,” explains France Assureurs.
As for the furniture, “it is insured under the same terms as for a fire”. Reimbursement depends on your insurance contract: some provide reimbursements at replacement value, others apply obsolescence coefficients. In all cases, you will have to pay a deductible. It often remains less than 380 euros, rising on average between 150 and 200 euros, according to France Assureurs. The same goes for damage caused to the vehicle.
If the time before receiving your compensation will depend on the contract signed and the damage suffered, insurers have a maximum of three months to compensate the victims. These three months starting on the date of submission of the estimated state of damaged property or losses suffered, or on the date of publication of the natural disaster order in the Official Journal.