While fires have broken out in several French departments in recent weeks, residents of damaged homes now have to contact their insurance company to determine the amount of their compensation. An overview of the various items to consider.
This is a problem that unfortunately worries an increasing number of French people. Since the beginning of summer, fires have continued in several regions of France, from the Gironde to the Jura through Brittany. Some episodes spread to homes located near plant areas, often causing hasty departures of residents as well as property damage.
To limit the damage, residents will contact their insurance company, but there are several criteria that affect the amount of compensation and even the possibility of obtaining it. BFM Business reviews the various points you need to be aware of in order to properly respond to a disaster.
Home insurance is optional but recommended for owners
First of all, it is important to keep in mind that forest fires are not considered natural disasters because nine out of ten cases are of criminal or accidental origin. However, they are covered by home insurance. Mandatory for renters and co-owners, this home insurance is optional, although recommended, for owners who live in their dwellings. On the other hand, it only takes into account housing and subscription option is necessary to cover any outdoor infrastructure like swimming pool.
It is advisable to choose multi-risk home insurance which includes fire and explosion coverage. This guarantee takes into account all movable property such as furniture, clothing, electrical and household appliances as well as damage caused by smoke and the intervention of emergency services. These items will serve as the basis for the insurance company to determine the amount of reimbursement. However, warranty exclusions may exist so it is important to check the specific clauses of the contract.
Five working days period to report the claim
The resident must clearly declare the loss to his or her insurance company as soon as possible, within five business days. Contact can be made by phone, via a form completed on the insurance company’s website, or by registered letter with an acknowledgment of receipt. The letter should indicate the home insurance contract number, the date of the loss and a description of the damage caused.
As such, the evaluator should take care to keep the burnt items and photos of damaged merchandise with the corresponding invoices. He can also invite professionals to make estimates for the work. On the other hand, this work should not start before the expert appointed by the insurance company comes to monitor the claims.
Clear the garden within a radius of 50 to 100 meters around the house
The expert, specifically, has a role in ensuring that the residents’ statements match the inventory. The evaluator must give him a statement of the losses on which he will base his estimate before sending him an expert report. In the process, residents can request a second opinion at their own expense.
Then comes the most important part for the evaluator: compensation. First of all, it must be borne in mind that this is not automatic and depends in particular on the observance of certain obligations. With regard to forest fires, there is one thing that residents absolutely must watch: the obligation to evacuate their garden, on the one hand to prevent the dangers of fire and on the other hand to facilitate the intervention of firefighters in the event of a disaster.
In France, the law of the forest sets the perimeter of the clearing at 50 meters around the house when it is located less than 200 meters from a forest or natural park. This distance can be reduced to 100 meters in danger areas such as municipalities with the Prevention of Forest Fire Risks Plan (PPRIF).
Quick temporary help
Finally, some insurance contracts provide for prompt action in the event of claims. Among these measures is the payment of an emergency down payment in order to ensure the rehousing of the affected population and the purchase of basic necessities. Likewise, insurance companies often provide assistance services that may consist of cleaning buildings or repairing certain movable property.