Orange with Media Services, published on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.
LANDMARKS. Housing, swimming pool, professional goods, forests…
What property is covered by fire damage insurance?
While France is hit by “exceptional” fires, particularly in Gironde but also in Brittany, insurers have promised to “facilitate the procedures for reporting a claim” and to “accelerate the compensation procedures”. But what goods are covered?
The fire risk is taken care of in classic home insurance, and it is even the first risk at the origin of this type of contract. If this insurance is optional for owners who occupy their accommodation, the vast majority of French people do have multi-risk home insurance. In 2020, the number of home insurance contracts amounted to 43.5 million, according to data from France Assureurs, for around 37 million homes. In the event of claims, it is therefore the insurance that pays the compensation, calculated according to the amount of the goods declared when the contract is taken out.
Only accommodation is part of the basic cover. For the land to be covered, you have to take out an option and pay an additional premium. “If you have a swimming pool or if you have very beautiful trees outside, it is outside. The basic contract is not going to take this stuff and it can have enormous value”, explains to from AFP Marion Senant, manager at the insurer L’olivier Assurance.
Relocation, while waiting for your property to be habitable again, is not necessarily part of the basic cover either.and should be taken as a supplement.
In case of forest fires, However, certain rules must be followed., at the risk of seeing his compensation reduced, such as clearing for properties or buildings located near woods or forests. In the latter case, the minimum clearing distance often depends on the municipality’s risk prevention plan, even if a national regulation exists.
While several campsites and restaurants have been ravaged by the flames, the question of their coverage arises. In the same way as for housing, there is a professional multi-risk insurance which covers the risk of fire and which is compulsory. It is therefore the insurer who will cover all claims.
It is also he who will compensate customers who have not been able to come or who have had to evacuate an accommodation affected by the flames.
On the other hand, if the professional wishes to be compensated for the period of closure, he must have taken out business interruption insurance, which is optional.
The forests are the main victims of these gigantic fires, with more than 20,000 hectares going up in smoke, but very few are insured in France against fires or storms. Around 9% to 10%, according to figures obtained from Groupama, one of the main forest insurers, with XLB/Pacifica (subsidiary of Crédit Agricole) and Sylvassur.
“It is quite expensive”, explains Olivier Moustacakis, co-founder of Assurland, an online insurance comparator, “from a few hundred euros per hectare to 5,000 or 10,000 euros per hectare”, depending on the species of trees and guarantees. “If you don’t exploit it, which is still the vast majority of cases, it’s way too expensive for not much“, adds Mr. Moustacakis.
The Landes forest, affected by the fire, is still an exception with around a third of its million hectares insured against damage. However, the cost of the disaster for insurers is not yet known.