Civil Liability Insurance

Under French law, civil liability insurance (known as assurance responsabilité civile in French) is required to cover damage to another person or property. It is usually covered by homeowners insurance, but you should double-check. You can subscribe to it separately or add it to your home insurance if it is not included.

To complete their enrollment, students must purchase Civil Liability Insurance that covers the risks listed below. This type of insurance covers the repair of damages caused by the student to a third person or animal, possessions for which they are legally responsible, or their lodging, regardless of whether the damages were caused by negligence.

Risks to be covered:

  1. Civil Liability – for private life (It includes Assurance Responsabilité civile vie privée)
  2. Civil Liability – for student life (It includes internship)

We strongly advise you to obtain this insurance before arriving in France, for example, through ADH Insurance (formula 3).

If you are not already covered, you must obtain civil liability insurance.

It is available in France:

  • Through LMDE or VITTAVI, which are complementary medical insurances for students
  • Through accommodation insurance: personal liability insurance may be included in the accommodation insurance, which is also required for your stay in Toulouse.

Civil Liability is included in many insurance policies (for example, car and home insurance), but it may be limited. If you have already purchased such an insurance policy, find out exactly what it covers to determine whether it is adequate.

Mandatory Liability Insurance

Kindergartens, schools, after-school activities, and other organizations typically require a specific certificate (“attestation d’assurance scolaire”) to ensure that you are covered if your child causes damage or injuries to another child. It can also cover your child’s health or belongings during school trips, sports activities, etc. Check your “multirisque habitation” policy to see if it includes this policy.

Liability insurance is included in different types of France insurance. Mainly those include:

  • Multi-risk home insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Water damage insurance
  • Health insurance

Multi-Risk Home Insurance

When you relocate to France, you may be required by law to insure your rented or owned home against specific risks.

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Who Should Subscribe To Multi-Risk Home Insurance?

The MRH (“assurance multirisques habitation”) insurance is required for tenants of vacant rental properties (law of July 6, 1989). It is not required if you are the owner, but it is strongly advised. More specifically, the law requires tenants to purchase rental risk insurance, which covers damage to the building caused by a fire, explosion, or water damage.

Check that your insurance policy covers your personal belongings and damage caused to neighbors or third parties. If it is not included in your MRH, you should consider purchasing additional civil liability insurance (“assurance responsabilité civile”).

Most traditional French comprehensive insurance policies, “multirisques habitation” include buildings, contents, and civil liability insurance to protect the contents of your home.

Do Secondary Homes, Or Seasonal Rentals Have To Be Insured?

If you insure your own vacation home, ensure your insurer is aware that it is not your primary residence. Some policies become null and void if the property is left unattended for an extended period, usually 90 days. However, most insurers offer specific contracts for vacation homes. Ensure that risks such as water damage from burst pipes, a common claim for vacation homes, are fully covered.

In the case of seasonal rentals, there are three options: either the landlord has home insurance for the property, and its inhabitants, your home insurance (or other) covers seasonal rentals, or you must purchase home insurance for the rental period.

Seasonal rental landlords are not required to sign this contract but are strongly encouraged to do so.

Is It Legal For The Landlord To Request An Insurance Certificate?

Yes, he or she does. July 6, 1989, law requires tenants to carry rental risk insurance (water damage, fire, and explosion) (article 7g). The landlord may require an annual insurance certification to ensure that the tenant has met his obligations. Contracting an insurance policy is not required for other types of rentals (furnished, seasonal), but the lease contract may include it. In such cases, the landlord may request the production of an insurance certificate.

What Is Covered By Multi-Risk Home Insurance (MRH)?

The MRH insurance contract contains several guarantees to protect the policyholder’s goods (house or furniture) when the latter is either at fault or a victim of damage.

The MRH contract primarily addresses the following:

  • Damage to buildings and, if applicable, their contents (furniture) owned by the policyholder; 
  • Civil Liability if the policyholder or insured individuals inadvertently cause damage to others;
  • The policyholder’s civil Liability as the owner or tenant of the dwelling when he or she is responsible for damage caused by living there, to the tenant or to a third party, or damage caused to important goods they rent or to third parties (like neighbors, etc.).

The MRH contract may also include a guarantee for legal protection and assistance, depending on the contract (assistance to persons, home assistance, psychological assistance, etc.).

Remember: To better understand the risks covered by your MRH as part of property damage, always read the contract’s general terms and conditions. MRH contracts typically include the following warranties: fire, explosion, theft, vandalism, water damage, glass breakage, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or attacks.

An MRH contract will usually include civil Liability for your personal/private life. The insurer replaces the policyholder in the event of personal injury to third parties. As a result, it generally excludes damage caused to a third party in their professional lives. So, other exclusions may apply, such as damage sustained while participating in an extreme sport or from a dangerous dog. This contract’s general terms and conditions should be consulted to determine the exact scope of the guarantees. Please remember that in most MRH contracts, the amount for bodily injuries is unlimited, and material damage is limited to the amount fixed at the contract signature. However, always double-check before signing!

Be wary of any requirements for security measures that the insurer may impose. Examine the contract carefully to see if there are any specific conditions regarding security materials (security of the windows, residence set up on the ground floor, and door lock system). If the necessary security measures are not implemented in the event of damage or theft, the insurer has the right to refuse a refund.

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What Happens If I Don’t Buy MRH Insurance?

Most lease contracts include the automatic termination of the contract with a one-month notice if a summons is rendered ineffective due to a lack of insurance. So, if you did not purchase MRH insurance, you risk having your rental contract terminated immediately. Furthermore, you will be required to cover the financial consequences of a potential loss. This includes your and the third party affected by the event (neighbors etc.).

Where To Purchase The Insurance?

Suppose you live in another country and want to sign an MRH contract for accommodation in France. In that case, you can inquire with the insurers in your home country to see if they accept real estate property elsewhere. You can also contact a French insurer directly, for example, through its website; some insurers offer online subscriptions. Finally, you can seek the assistance of an insurance broker.

Which Amount Will Be Refunded In The Event Of Damage?

The contract determines the amount.

An obsolescence-quota (“taux de vétusté”) may be applied by the insurer. The amount of money to be refunded will be determined by different factors, including the age of the goods, the average lifespan of the product, the state of the product at the time of the damage, the characteristics of the item, and so on. The basis for calculation and the coefficient of “vétusté” must be specified in your contract’s terms and conditions.

Another option is for the insurer to cover the replacement value. The insurer will cover the damaged items at their original purchase price under this option.

Before entering a contract, it is critical to carefully read the terms and conditions. In the event of damage, the reimbursement method can completely alter the amount granted by the insurance.

What Is A “Franchise”?

If you’ve already signed an insurance contract, you’ve probably heard of the deductible (“franchise”) amount. This figure will determine how much money you will keep at the consumer’s disposal. The rate or amount must be specified in the contract’s terms and conditions.

These amounts can vary depending on the insurance company, so don’t be afraid to shop around.

The Reimbursement Ceiling Or “Plafond de Garantie”?

You must assess the value of your possessions when purchasing your insurance policy. Be cautious; if you undervalue them, the insurance will not be obligated to pay more than the declared amount. The insurance cost will also be determined by the number of goods insured.

For valuable items, you can request specific insurance and, in any case, keep a copy of the corresponding invoices to prove the value of your items, as well as photographs of them (in case of theft). If you have inherited valuable items, you should create a list and estimate to send to your insurance company. You can increase the insured value if necessary.

Water Damage Insurance

If you moved to France, whether temporarily (for studies or a job) or permanently, you almost certainly purchased home insurance. Such insurance is required if you rent your apartment. The law does not require it if you are the owner, but it is strongly advised.

Water damage insurance is one of the guarantees typically included with home insurance. What exactly does it cover? How do I turn it on? What must you do if you disagree with your insurer? Here is a quick rundown.

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The Warranty Coverage

The warranty coverage is not legally defined. As a result, the insured events are specified in the contract. Please refer to your contract’s terms and conditions to learn about the situations covered.

Nonetheless, most contracts cover property damage caused by rupture, leaks, or overflow of non-buried water pipes or water-using devices (bathtubs, washing machines, and so on) and heating appliances. Water or grail ingress through the roof, and gutter/eavesdrop swamping or overflow are usually covered.

Covered Damage

Damage to property parts (walls, roof, parquet, etc.) is usually covered, as is damage to furniture, household appliances, clothes, or embellishments (paint, wallpaper, floor covering). So, the loss of use of the lodging, if you cannot stay there due to the extent of the damage, is also covered.

The contract does not always cover the costs of leak detection and water loss as a result of water damage. Concerning water loss, you should know that you may be eligible for capping if you submit your water bill.

Excluded Damage

Guarantee exclusions may be included in your insurance policy terms and conditions.

Groundwater disasters, infiltration through walls and windows, flooding, and disasters caused by a lack of maintenance and surveillance are frequently excluded from the package.

As a result, it is critical to carefully review all terms and conditions before signing your insurance contract.

The final consideration before signing the contract is the potential company’s deductible (“franchise”). Some insurance contracts may impose a deductible, which must be specified in your terms and conditions. Your compensation may be severely reduced depending on the extent of your injuries.

What Do You Do In The Event Of Damage?

If you have suffered water damage, follow the necessary emergency procedures: quickly notify your neighbors – or the caretaker (“concierge”) if you are unable to reach them directly – if the leak appears to be coming from their apartment, turn off the water, protect your furniture, and call the fire department if the flood is severe. Notify the landlord if you rent the apartment.

You must act quickly whether your neighbor or the co-ownership property representative informs you of the problem or you notice it yourself. Contact your insurer quickly to report the claim and call a plumber to take emergency measures to prevent further damage. If you do not act quickly, your insurer or the water damage victims may accuse you of negligence. So, your insurer may refuse to cover a portion or the entire amount of damage; your neighbors or the co-ownership property representative may sue for damages.

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If You Have Caused Water Damage, You Are Responsible If

  • You have home insurance that includes water damage insurance (for example, multi-risk home insurance, see above), and your insurer will replace you to compensate the third parties.
  • If you did not purchase insurance (which is required if you are a tenant), you must compensate third parties at your own expense.

What Is The Compensation Procedure If You Are The Victim Of Someone Else’s Water Damage?

Depending on the damage assessment based on your statement and the written proof you will be able to provide (bills, etc.), two solutions can be found:

If Your Damage Amounts To Less Than 1600€

Your insurer will send you an expert to assess the damage based on the reasons identified. The insurer will make a compensation proposal based on the findings of this investigation.

If you reject this proposal or the expert’s report, you must send a registered letter to your insurer justifying your decision. Without an agreement, you must request a second expert’s opinion following the contract’s procedure. You must then select a new expert, but you must bear the fees this time.

If Your Damage Amounts To More Than 1600€

There are agreements between insurers (CIDRE and CIDE COP) that allow for quick compensation of the insured by the home insurer or the insurance of the third-party responsible for the damage without needing an expert. These agreements do not bind the insured.

Suppose the third party’s insurance refuses or delays in compensating for damage. In that case, you can send a formal notice to your insurer, as specified in the contract’s general conditions, so that your insurer compensates for the damage.

Health Insurance

If you do not live in France but visit regularly, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will provide you with the same rights as a French resident while you are there.

It is important to note that this EHIC is not travel insurance. If you become ill while on vacation, this will not cover missed flights or accommodations, or repatriation. You might want to look into travel insurance, but first, check the terms of the credit card you used to book and pay for your flight.

If you live in France and are a member of the French health system, the French government will reimburse you for a portion of the cost. The amount reimbursed can vary, so contracting an additional cover may be possible via a private complementary insurance “mutuelle”.

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Emergency Treatment In France

This section provides basic information on emergency treatment while visiting France and what you need to know about healthcare access in France if you are an EU or non-EU citizen.

EU Citizens Traveling To France

  • Suppose you are a European Union citizen with mandatory health insurance. In that case, you have the right to emergency medical care following the legal benefits of the state where you are treated (in this case, France).
  • EU citizens with statutory health insurance should request the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) from the national insurance provider before traveling to France. This card is covered by your insurance and incurs no additional charges.
  • If you become ill or are involved in an accident, you must present this EHIC to a French doctor or a French hospital before receiving treatment. The required medical expenses will be covered.
  • Normally, you will not be required to pay for the treatment. Please remember that some health professionals may be unfamiliar with the EHIC’s mechanism. As a result, we recommend that you carefully review any form before signing it to ensure that all of the information regarding your insurance is correct.
  • The EHIC allows you to receive medical treatment under the same conditions as a French-insured person. These may differ slightly from the conditions in your home country.
  • If you are unable to present your EHIC, you will be required to pay for the treatment using the French health insurance tariffs.
  • Suppose you have a chronic condition and are likely to require treatment in another country. You should contact your health insurance provider for information on appropriate medical centers for your stay in France and any associated costs.
  • It may be beneficial to purchase travel insurance that covers additional costs, such as transportation back home. Compare their offer to the benefits provided by your current health insurance policy.

Be cautious: not all of your expenses will be covered. Depending on the care you received, obtaining additional health insurance (for health or travel) may be advantageous to cover additional costs such as repatriation.

Non-EU Citizens

Suppose you come from a country that isn’t a member of the European Union, and your home country does not have a special agreement with France regarding social insurance. In that case, you are not covered by France’s mandatory health insurance. Because you will have to pay for your medical treatment, it is advisable to obtain private health insurance to cover any medical or repatriation costs.

If you have been displaced from Ukraine and arrived in France after January 24, 2022, you may get a temporary residence permit (APS) which specifies that you benefit from “temporary protection”. You will receive universal health care and complementary health insurance due to this document. This means you will not have to pay for your care in advance: you and your family members will be covered for a year.

To obtain the APS, you must first check with the prefecture of the department where you are staying to determine where you must go to request protection. It could be the prefecture or a specific reception center (“centre d’accueil”):

  • With the specific completed form in French, Ukrainian or English ; 
  • A declaration of domicile
  • Documents in your possession justifying your situation (Ukrainian or English version) ; 
  • Accompanied by the members of your family (spouse and children)

Certain organizations may be permitted to assist you. Before you commit to any of these, check with the prefecture to see if they have the official authority to assist you.

If your file is complete and admissible, you will be granted temporary protection, which could include the following:

  • Issuance of a temporary residence permit for six months, bearing the mention “beneficiary of temporary protection ; 
  • Payment of the asylum seeker’s allowance ; 
  • Authorization to work ; 
  • Access to health care through medical care ; 
  • Schooling for minor children ; 
  • Support in accessing housing.
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Planned Treatment In France

The EU-directive 2011/24/EU has specified patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare since 2011. This section will give you the basics of planned treatment in France.

EU Directive On Patient Rights

The European Parliament and the Council officially signed Directive 2011/24/EU on all the applications of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare on March 9, 2011. Member States were required to comply with their national legislation by October 25, 2013.

The Directive mandates:

  1. to clearly define the reimbursement conditions for healthcare services obtained in other EU Member States; 
  2. to ensure the quality and security of cross-border care; and 
  3. to contribute to national healthcare system cooperation and, ultimately, cost savings.

Authorization For Hospital Treatments

Member States can implement a prior authorization system for hospitals and highly specialized treatments (such as MRI). The directive, however, does not define the term “hospitalization” clearly: it is up to each Member State to provide a list of all treatments requiring prior authorization to the appropriate authority and the European Commission. For example, the same treatment may necessitate prior authorization in France but not Germany! In this regard, the directive does not help standardize European regulations. However, the patient may consult the list ahead of time to comply with the applicable legislation.

End Of Legal Uncertainty Concerning Payment Of Healthcare Services

This legal text is critical because it establishes patients’ rights in Europe.

The same right applies to all EU citizens, regardless of whether the patient is from France, Romania, or Spain, for example. Previously, the applicable right in the case of cross-border healthcare was complex and difficult to understand: the jurisdiction of the European Justice Court clashed with national regulations, and even specialized jurists struggled to find their way. It had to come to an end to become clear and standardized.

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No Prior Authorization Is Necessary For Planned Ambulatory Care Anymore

Because it is possible for all European citizens to receive outpatient medical services in another Member State (for example, dental treatment, visits to the optician or general practitioner) without prior authorization from their health insurance fund, the rates and regulations in the patient’s country will determine the cost takeovers.

To avoid a two-speed medicine and to enable treatment abroad for patients in need, the Members of the European Parliament have planned an alternative to the principles mentioned above: the optional “prior information”. According to it, the patient notifies the health insurance fund in advance of the planned treatment, and in exchange, the patient receives written confirmation from the health insurance fund, on which it appears the maximum amount will be reimbursed. The confirmation is then presented to the attending physician, and the patient’s health insurance fund pays the reimbursement.

National Points Of Contact

The EU Directive also calls for creating a network of national contact points. The goal is to increase patients’ trust in the European Healthcare Market by providing concrete assistance and information. The Cleiss is the national contact point in France.

Click here for more information on cross-border health care and national contact points.

Insurance Contract Cancellation Procedures

The French law about emergency measures to protect purchasing power makes it easier for consumers to cancel insurance policies.

Currently, termination is usually communicated via a registered letter or directly to the insurance representative. If the contract is concluded online, the consumer can usually contact the insurer online to cancel it.

The consumer will be able to cancel the insurance contract online by June 1, 2023, at the latest, thanks to a “cancellation button.” It would not matter if the contract was initially concluded electronically or not. 

Important Tip & Final Words

Since 2015, consumers can cancel certain types of insurance contracts (particularly motor and home insurance) that are subject to automatic renewal at any time, without penalty or cost, and without notice, at the end of the one year following the contract’s conclusion. The law also requires insurers to notify their customers in the time frame of 3 months and 15 days before the deadline (termination) of their contract’s approaching anniversary. If a consumer wishes to change, they can apply for cancellation of the contract before the tacit renewal of their contract. The cancellation is effective one month after the insurer receives the letter. Within 30 days, the insurer should send a cancellation notice.