In this article, the Parisian real estate agency, Lodgis, expains how to make an insurance claim in the event of damages to a furnished or unfurnished property, based on a range of different scenarios:
The most common form of damage, which we use as an example below, is that of water. For other kinds of damage, such as fire are burglary, the general procedure is similar.
For burglary, an official complaint must be lodged, In the case of a fire, the risks of damage are much more significant and you are advised to contact your insurer as soon as possible to discuss what action should be taken.
What’s the difference between insurance for a furnished / unfurnished rental?
For a furnished rental, the tenant is insured for the damages caused by himself/herself and for his/her personal possessions. The level of cover depends on the policy taken out. In terms of damage (the most common kind being water damage), the insurer of the ”Owner Non-Occupant” (PNO) is responsible for providing compensation.
For an unfurnished rental, throughout the leasehold period, the tenant’s insurer is responsible for the damages caused.
Damage caused by a third party
If damage (a leak, for example) is incurred as a result of a third party, the owner (furnished) / tenant (unfurnished) should:
- Complete an assessment with the third party
- Ask the third party for a copy of the bill for the repairs
- Get an estimate for repairing the damages
- Report the damages to his/her ”Owner Non-Occupant” (PNO) insurer, sending the assessment, bill and estimate
Based on the cost estimate, the insurer will decide whether or not to commission an expert to carry out an inspection (”télé-expertise”). Whether this happens can vary among different insurance companies.
Damage caused to a 3rd party
If there is a leak in an apartment that causes damage to a 3rd party, the owner/tenant should:
- Get the leak fixed. This means that no sign of leakage can be detected in your property. An example of this is often seen with faulty pipes. In this case, the best thing to do is to contact the ”syndic de copropriété” for an expert to come and find where the leakage is occuring in the building. If the leak is discovered in your private property, the ”syndic” will charge you for their services.
- Give the third party a copy of the bill for repairing the damages caused by the leak
- Declare the damages to your ”Owner Non-Occupant” insurer (PNO), including a copy of the assessment, bill for the repairs and, where necessary, the cost estimate.
The excess / deductible
If there are damages to your property, you will initially be compensated for the costs minus your excess / deductible. The excess/ deductible will be paid to you once a solution has been reached between insurers (your insurer and that of the responsible third party). This process can take up to several months.
If you are responsible for the damages to your property, you will have to pay the excess / deductible yourself.
An expert assessment
If there is a leak in your property that causes damage, your insurer will commission an expert to come and assess those damages. The expert will either accept your proposed cost estimate or reapraise it. If the cost estimate for the damages is lowered, you can ask the expert to have the repairs done by a partner company at the stated amount.
If the water damages involve a third party (who has either caused or suffered those damages), the insurer will call for a joint appraisal: one of its experts and and expert from the third party’s insurer.
If a flood causes damage to the property itself (for example, floor damage, broken tiles, etc.) it’s the building’s collective ownership insurer that will manage the claim. In this case, three experts will be summoned to make an assessment and determine who is responsible.
In principle, when the collective building insurer deals with damages to a building, the insured person(s) will be compensated in part by this insurer and in part by his/her own insurer. In order to simplify the procedure, the insured person(s) can ask the insurer their private insurer to compensate them for all of the damages and then take up action with the collective ownership’s insurer.
At the end of the professional assessment, the expert will name the level of compensation that will be paid to the insured person(s) in two installements: an immediate payment that usually corresponds to 80% of compensation owed, and then a second installement for the remaining balance upon presentation of the bill for the completed repairs.
Maintenance and repairs vs. damages
The insurer is only responsible for damages: contracts do not cover the cost of identifying or repairing a leak. When the process of looking for or fixing a leak results in broken wiring/tiles (for example), the insurer will absorb the cost of fixing or replacing the objects concerned.