How to protect your property from hailstones bigger than golf balls

In some parts of central and southwest France, the storms have caused power outages and extensive damage, the likes of which inhabitants of those areas have never seen in their lifetime.

For people who are uninsured, that’s bad news because there is no guarantee that anyone will help and the chances are that they won’t be fairly compensated. People who are insured, even at the minimum level, may receive compensation, but only if the state or local Mairie declares the event a “natural disaster”. In that case, they also decide what the excess should be.

Whilst the government may step in to help farmers and wine producers, insurance premiums are increasing exponentially as weather patterns become more unstable each year, so where does that leave ordinary citizens and residents?

The short answer is that you are responsible for making sure your own property is sufficiently protected by good insurance. Key to that is declaring your property properly. For example, if you have installed solar panels but forgotten to include them on your insurance, you may find that they are not covered even if a “natural disaster” is declared – and that could be a very expensive oversight.

Our friendly team at French Connections HCB can help you get it right.

We work with trusted insurance partners, Fab French Insurance. They cover every type of insurance and also speak English, which is an advantage when the fine details of an insurance policy are so important. With some clients already affected and violent weather predicted in the coming days, we spoke to Fabien, founder of the business, about this week’s storm damage in particular.

“If the damage to your property is important or alters the safety of the premises, you can arrange to get it fixed a s a p. However, you must make sure that everything is properly documented, including quotes from the artisan, as many photos as possible, videos and a detailed description of the circumstances. A potential refund will still be valid as long as everything is documented.”

As Fabien points out, sometimes damage to property can be so bad that it renders your home unliveable and forces you to move out.

“In that case, inform your insurance company immediately. You should expect a response from them within 48 hours. You will initially need to pay for the temporary accommodation yourself (hotel, gite etc).”

Storm damage can also be enough to render your vehicle undrivable. If you need a replacement vehicle, Fabien’s advice is to contact your insurer before going to the garage.

“Insurance companies sometimes have agreements with specific garages so you may be entitled to a courtesy vehicle free of charge. Often a courtesy vehicle isn’t covered, but it’s always worth checking. Calling your insurance provider is even more important if your vehicle needs to be moved. In the case of an emergency, never call the tow truck directly or the claim may be denied.”

Meanwhile, if insurance falls into the ‘too hard basket’ and you are looking for help with everyday fiddly admin such as connecting water, opening gas or electricity accounts, setting up a mobile phone contract, signing up with a local doctor or dentist etc, you might like to consider our new monthly subscription service.

A small payment of 89 euros a month (or 129 for a family) gives you unlimited access to French Connections HCB’s resources. It’s like having a personal assistant. Whatever you need, we’ll do it – including sorting out your insurance policy or contacting your current insurance company if you aren’t confident on the phone – and you can opt out at any time. Simply click here to learn more.

Finally, our new brochure is out! If you would like a FREE copy to keep handy for whenever you might need our services, simply reply to this email with your address and we’ll pop one in the post. Or you can read it online here.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

French Connections HCB Team

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