AXA Assurances
Agence 3B Assur
4, rue Alberti - BP 1736
F - 06016 NICE cedex 01
Tel +33 4 93 92 16 32
Mobil +33 6 73 04 60 57
Fax +33 4 93 13 48 67
E-mail: info@steenandersen.net
 
   

F A Q

 
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My landlord asks to see proof of insurance. What is he on about? 
 
  

According to French law (“Loi Quillot”) a landlord can require to see proof of insurance before handing over the keys to a tenant. He can also ask to see proof of renewal every year. This is actually a protection of the tenant as he will be held liable in case of fire or water damage.

   
   
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I have bought a flat. What is covered by the insurance policy taken out by the "copropriété"?
   
 

The joint owners of a block of flats (“la copropriété”) are required to insure all common areas, including internal and external walls, partitioning between floors, staircases, roof and facades. This insurance usually covers a number of events such as fire, lightning, explosion, water damages, climatic events and natural disasters. In addition, the insurance policy includes third party liability for damages caused by the building or by persons working for the joint owners, e.g. cleaning personnel. In this connection, the individual owners are considered as third parties and can be indemnified in case of damage or injury.

   
   
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How is my home insurance premium calculated?
   
 

The most important elements are:

  • Size of house/flat as measured by number of rooms.
  • Location - rural areas are in general safer than big cities.
  • Value of contents and proportion of valuables such as jewellery, works of art etc.
  • House, flat or ground floor flat? In a block of flats some events will be covered by the insurance taken out by the “copropriété” and insuring a three-room flat will cost less than insuring a house with three rooms. A ground floor flat is more susceptible to burglary and costs more to insure than flats at higher levels.
  • Primary or secondary residence? The risk of a burglary increases the longer the house is uninhabited.
   
   
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What do I do in case of a water damage?
   
 
First of all, try to limit the damage, e.g. by turning off the main tap.

If you live in a flat you should submit a joint declaration with the administrator (“le syndic”) and possibly your upstairs or downstairs neighbour. There is a special form for this declaration (“constat amiable”) which you can require from AXA.

Your damage report should include your name, address, contract no., date of the event, type and cause of damage, extent of damage, names of all persons affected by the damage, possible coverage from other insurance policies, estimate of monetary extent of damage and names of persons responsible for damage (if any).

   
 
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What do I do in case of a fire? 
 
  

To the extent possible, try to limit the damage by cutting off gas and electricity on the main switch and by closing all windows.

In principle, you have five days to submit a claim to AXA. The damage report should include your name, address, contract no., date of the event, type and cause of damage, extent of damage, names of all persons affected by the damage, possible coverage from other insurance policies, estimate of monetary extent of damage and names of persons responsible for damage (if any).

   
   
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What do I do in case of theft, burglary or vandalism?
   
 

Report the incident to police or “gendarmerie” within 24 hours and send us the original police report immediately. You should be prepared to send in a final claim report with all relevant documentation within five days.

Broken locks, shutters or windows should be replaced as soon as possible, but kept with a view to a possible visit from the loss adjuster.

   
   
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How is the value of lost or damaged items calculated?
   
 

The importance of proper documentation cannot be exaggerated, especially when it comes to valuables (jewellery, watches, precious metals, furs, paintings etc).

The list below gives an idea of the type of documentation that may be accepted. Some types, e.g. photos, are not sufficient without further supporting evidence.

  • Invoices with your name on them;
  • receipts from auction firms;
  • testaments;
  • valuation from approved expert (see below);
  • guarantee certificates;
  • manuals and instruction leaflets;
  • original packaging;
  • receipts for storage;
  • account statements from banks or credit card companies, credit card receipts;
  • photos and video footage;
  • testimonies.

Bear in mind that good documentation serves three purposes: to establish existence, authenticity and value of objects lost or destroyed.

You can avoid discussion about the value of a stolen or destroyed object by agreeing on a value with AXA based on a written statement from an approved expert. AXA will provide you with names of experts in all categories upon request. There is no additional premium for this type of insurance but you should be prepared to pay the expert (around 0.5 to 0.6% of the value). The expert statement should be reviewed every three years, if not, standard rules and procedures apply.

If you have taken out “new for old” cover, there is no depreciation due to age or wear.

Finally, a piece of advice: Keep documentation in a separate place, e.g. in a bank safe or with neighbours, friends or family. There is no point in spending time and effort putting together documentation just to see it go up in smoke with the rest of the house.

   
   
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Does the standard home insurance policy impose any conditions that I need to comply with? 
 
  

Yes. By signing the insurance policy, you agree to undertake certain preventive measures related to burglary and frost damages.

Depending on location and insured amount, AXA - as any other French insurer - will insist on a certain number or type of locks on your entrance doors. Windows should in most cases be secured with shutters or bars. If you leave the house for more than 24 hours, all shutters should be closed. In some instances AXA may require installation of an alarm system linked to a surveillance service.

If your house is left uninhabited and unheated for more than three consecutive days during the period 15 November to 15 March, the central heating system should be emptied or secured with an anti-freeze liquid. In addition, the main water tap should always be turned off when the house is left for extended periods.

Failure to comply with the requirements of your contract will lead to reduction or forfeiture of the indemnity.

   
   
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My daughter got a pair of roller skates. Will she be covered by my home insurance in case she falls?
   
 

The standard home insurance (“assurance multirisque habitation”) only covers damages on third parties. However, AXA offers cheap accident coverage for children (around 15 euros per year) covering activities at home, at school and outside.

   
   
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My son’s school asks for proof of third party liability insurance. Why?
   
 
This is standard procedure and no reason for concern. If you have a standard home insurance with AXA (“assurance multirisque habitation”), your children are automatically covered for third party liability, i.e. damages caused to others, and AXA will issue a certificate upon your request.
   
   
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I let my holiday home in France for a few weeks a year. Does my standard home insurance policy cover my responsibility towards lodgers?
   
 
No, not unless you have taken out additional cover, which anyway does not cost a fortune. For an additional 30 to 60 euros, depending on the size of the house, your tenants will be covered in case of personal injuries inflicted by your property. Please note that tenants’ personal belongings are not covered.
In addition, tenants’ liability towards you, the landlord, will be covered in case of fire or water damage.
   
   
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Does the insurance policy impose specific safety requirements related to my pool?
   
 
No. As of 1st January 2006 a new law requires all private swimming pools in France to be protected by a fence, a pool cover or an alarm system. This is not specifically mentioned in your insurance contract but obviously AXA expects clients to comply with existing rules and regulations (as is the case for gas end electrical installations).
   
   

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