As More and more of you are coming to France to work (instead of just enjoying the good life), I thought it would be of interest to you hard working people what type of professional insurance you need.

But this article could also be of interest to anybody using builders in France as some of those insurances are a legal obligation for them so you need to check that they are properly insured before they do any work on your property.

  • Public Liabilities- Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle et RC Exploitation:

These 2 insurances usually come together anyway but there is a difference between the two:

The RC Professionnelle insures you for claims made against your work and the RC Exploitation insures you in case of accident in your work environment.

Eg: You are a physiotherapist, someone comes in your cabinet and as you are massaging him, you break his neck, it’s the RC professionnelle which covers you for that. If that same person breaks his neck on wet floor walking in your cabinet, it’s the RC Exploitation which covers you.

Eg: You are an estate agent, you have sold a house but the new owner sues you for not disclosing a fault on the property, it’s the RC Professionnelle which covers you. If you break a window by visiting the house, it’s for the RC Exploitation.

This insurance is not an obligation but I strongly advise you take it on! As not having it could be costly! Especially if you are accident prone! As an example, for a gardener, it usually is less than 200 euro per year. But bare in mind that the cost depends on what work you do and the risk involved so a gardener who cuts trees would pay more than one who does not. This is why it is very important that you give full details of what activity you do so you are covered for the right thing.

  • Garantie Decennale:

This insurance is an OBLIGATION for all artisan who do work on properties (loi Spineta of the 04/01/1978). This is an insurance guarantying their work for 10 years. This is not a guarentee for esthetic or better quality of the work but more for major default that would affect the structure or nature of the building. It is a felony not to have this insurance if you are an artisan (builder/plumber/electrician/carpenter/etc) and the penalty for not having it can reach 75000 euro fine and 6 month imprisonment.

Do ask for an attestation of this insurance from your artisan before they do any work on your property as not having it could be an explanation as to why a quote could be cheaper than another.

This insurance usually include the Public Liability insurance.

  • Contrat Professionnel: professional contract:

This is for people who have a building as work (restaurant, shops, factories, etc) as this insurance is more like a house insurance but for business so the content is insured but also the “pertes d’exploitation”, loss of business.

Eg: Your restaurant burns down, the insurance would rebuild it as it was, pay for the content (food, tables, cookers, etc) and pay an amount of money for the loss of business resulting from the time it took for it to be rebuilt. This contract can also include Public liability.

  • Building insurance:

Buildings used for work have to be insured separately from your normal house insurance.

Eg: You live above your shop so you need 2 different contracts, one private for your flat above and one professional for the shop.

Eg: You work from home and you receive customers inside your house (one room used to do beauty treatment for instance), then you need a separate contract for that room.

  • Vehicle used for work:

Basically check with your insurer as it depends on the insurance company and what option they have on their contracts. I know that in the UK, a vehicle must be insured for professional use even if it is just used for visiting customers (eg: mobile hairdresser) but in France it depends on the contract you have and the company your are with, so check with your insurer.

  • How to change insurance:

With private insurance, you can cancel (by registered mail) 2 months before the renewal date or within 20 days from receiving your renewal letter (called loi Chatel). With businesses, the loi Chatel is NOT applicable so you must cancel 2 months in advance of the renewal date of the contract.

Note that the French parliament has just voted (beginning of February) a new law (loi Hamon) which would allow (if the law if accepted by the senate) people to cancel their insurance whenever they want (after one full first year). This new law will only be applicable for cars and houses insurances so won’t be good for businesses or top up health insurance.

Business insurances are actually some of the most complicated to understand so it is important to explain in details what activity you do, what risk and what turnover you have so you don’t get over or under insured. As usual, feel free to contact me for any further information on that subject or any other insurances or for a free quote.

Do check our new web site with lots of informations on insurances and other matters!

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