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  1. Catastrophe naturelle :

What is it :

This is an insurance that covers the risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, flooding, drought, sea surges, massive storms, etc, basically natural disasters.

This insurance is included in your house and car insurance (depends on guaranties for car insurance but it is for sure included in fully comprehensive cover).

The government must state and publish a document which says that your area affected is an area of natural disaster.

Being insured against natural disaster will not work unless the government states it is! This document published by the government states:

  • The areas affected and when it happened.
  • And the nature of the damages caused by this natural disaster.

How to claim:

You have 10 days from when the document is published to declare your claim to your insurance company.

Send an email or letter to your insurance company which includes (if possible):

  • Your details (name, adress),
  • Insurance contract number,
  • A description of the claim (nature, date, time, place),
  • A list of all the objects lost or damaged alongside proof of ownership which can attest the value and existence of those objects (invoices or photos for example),
  • The damages caused to others (if a tree from your garden has fallen on your neighbour’s fence for instance),
  • Contact details of victims if any.

Note that if you are doing the repair yourself (fully or partially), make sure you keep invoices of materials so that it is taken into account by the insurance company.

Keep the objects damaged until they are seen and examined by the insurance company and the designated assessor.

Make sure you give a copy of your claim to your Mairie. The more proof your Mairie has of claims, the more chance it’s got to be declared a Natural disaster. It is your Mairie that asks the Préfecture (Head of the County) to be classed as a Natural disaster zone.

Limit of cover:

Well, check your contract. You are only insured for things that are covered. If you don’t have a garden pack for instance, your garden furniture will not be covered.

You can only claim for damages, not cost for loss of use. Eg: the gîte you rent out is destroyed and you lose the income.

Note also that some insurance company do not cover some natural disaster (flood is a good example) unless your area is declared as catastrophe naturelle. Allianz and Thelem (the main 2 companies we use) do cover flood damages even if your area is not classed as Catastrophe Naturelle but not earthquakes. So, check your contract.

Excess

Even if you have a contract without any excess, you will have an excess to pay if your area is classed as Natural disaster. So, it is not always good news!! This excess is set by the government.

  • 380 € for houses and other building that are non-Professional
  • 1 520 € if damages are due to a landslide following a drought or rehydration of the ground.

Delay:

You must get a percentage of the amount you are due within 2 months following:

  • The date of the estimation of how much it will cost to repair,
  • Or the date of the publication of the document stating natural disaster.

You get compensated fully within 3 Months following:

  • The date of the work is finished
  • Or the date of the publication of the document stating your area is natural disaster.

Note that if the storm has made your house unhabitable, the insurance company take the cost of rental somewhere else themselves but check your contract to make sure it does (with Allianz up to 400 euro per person).

Note also that reimbursement is usually always quicker, those above are legal limits of time, but we reimburse within 10 days.

  1. Catastrophe technologique :

What is it :

It is a technological disaster which involves accidents:

  • In a factory or installation classed as dangerous (such as a nuclear plant or a chemical factory),
  • Inside an underground stocking of dangerous materials,
  • With vehicle transporting dangerous materials.

This law was created in 2005 because of the AZF Toulouse factory which exploded in 2001 killing 31 person and injuring 2500 others. The material damages in the south west of the town cost more than 2 billion euros. Before this law, each victim had to claim against the insurer of the factory responsible for the disaster; Needless to say, that it took ages for people to get compensation!!

Condition of application

The guarantie only works if at least 500 houses are classed as non-habitable and the préfecture publish the document classing the area as Technological disaster.

This guarantie is inside your house insurance contract but not automatic with your car (unless you are fully comprehensive)

How to claim:

You have 5 days from when the disaster happened to make your claim to your insurance company.

Send an email or letter to your insurance company which includes (if possible):

  • Your details (name, adress),
  • Insurance contract number,
  • A description of the claim (nature, date, time, place),
  • A list of all the objects lost or damaged alongside proof of ownership which can attest the value and existence of those objects (invoices or photos for example),
  • The damages caused to others (if a tree from your garden has fallen on your neighbour’s fence for instance),
  • Contact details of victims if any.

Note that if you are doing the repair yourself (fully or partially), make sure you keep invoices of materials so that it is taking into account by the insurance company.

Keep the objects damaged until they are seen and examined by the insurance company and the designated assessor.

Make sure you give a copy of your claim to your Mairie. The more proof your Mairie has of claims, the more chance it got to be declare technological disaster. It is your Mairie that ask the Préfecture (Head of the County) to be classed as technological disaster zone.

What do you get :

  • If you own the house, you get compensated by your insurance company without any excess and no limit of guarantie. If the repair is impossible, the company compensate you so you can get an equal type of house in the same area (or somewhere else if it is a technological disaster such as Chernobyl!!).
  • Same for the content without excess and new for old.
  • If you have no insurance covering it, there is a fund called Fonds de garantie des assurances obligatoires (FGAO) which will compensate you anyway under certain conditions.
  • Note: The guarantie « catastrophes technologiques » does not cover outbuildings (garage, garden shed, barn…), nor their content.  With Allianz it does, not with Thelem (the main two companies we use for house insurance).

Delay: You are compensated within 3 months

  • Of the date of the repairs,
  • Or the date of the publication of the document stating technological disaster.

Conclusion: As always, some companies do more than others so check your contract. It is particularly important if you are close to a river as floods could be covered by your contract only if your area is classed as natural disaster zone (Not with us of course!) It is doubfull that your mairie is going to apply if you are the only house affected!

In conclusion, it is not always good news if your area is classed as disaster as the excess is usually higher but in general, it makes things simpler in regard to paperwork and compensation.

Contact us !

In order to discuss and meet your need as best as possible, feel free to contact us with a mail, phone call... We can also schedule a meeting in one of our four agencies... Or directly to your home !