Do you live in an area at risk for natural disasters? Are you sure you are covered by your home insurance in the event of a claim? Adopting good reflexes before and after a disaster can save you time with your insurer to get you compensated.
Natural disasters – The exact definition
Are considered as natural disasters, a disaster resulting from a natural event such as:
- A flood
- A mudslide
- A drought
- An avalanche
- An earthquake
- Mechanical wave action
- A landslide and subsidence.
Following one of these events, the affected municipalities must submit a request for recognition of the state of natural disaster to the government.
This one is the only authorized one to recognize this situation by interministerial order which determines the calendar and the zones where the disaster was located.
This decree also indicates the nature of the damage caused by this event.
The publication of this order in the Official Journal allows policyholders to be compensated by their insurance company.
How to anticipate a natural disaster with your insurance?
Examine your insurance policies. Make sure you have adequate cover against each type of disaster to which you are vulnerable. Also check the amount of your insurance to avoid being underinsured.
Take an inventory of your home and keep copies in a safe place or online.
This may seem tedious to you, but this document will allow you to save considerable time in the event of a disaster.
This inventory will help you determine the amount of compensation expected from your insurer.
Steps should be taken when a disaster strikes
The following are the recommended steps to take when any type of disaster occurs to your home.
1. Prepare an emergency plan
Determine a safe place to take refuge in the event of a sudden event. This can be a shelter at a friend or family member’s house or somewhere that feels safe to you.
For example, if you live by the sea, a hill could act as a refuge in the event of a tsunami. Discuss it with members of your household.
2. Plan a communication plan
Not all of your family members may be in your home when the disaster strikes. Agree in advance on the means of contacting each other or meeting in the event of an emergency.
Exchange phone numbers and watch out for elderly or disabled neighbors, or people with children – they might need extra help in the event of a natural disaster.
3. Adopt an evacuation plan
In some cases, when you need to evacuate, you may not have much time. Plan how to quickly evacuate your home and make sure everyone knows the escape plan.
Make sure everyone has a list of emergency phone numbers.
Practice the steps needed to disconnect your home’s gas, water, and electricity and make sure you understand them. If you are able, learn basic first aid procedures, which will enable you to help others.
Steps to follow after a natural disaster
- Safety first: Do not enter your home if the area is unsafe. Heed the advice of the emergency services on accessing your property.
- Secure yourbelongings: If the situation permits, recover your most precious belongings and put them in a safe and secure place.
- Contact your insurer: Call your insurer or insurance broker as soon as possible. Take advice from him before undertaking any repairs. Make sure they will be refunded to you.
- Provide evidence and keep a written document: You must provide enough evidence, such as photos, videos of invoices,to demonstrate the validity of your claim. It is in this situation that an inventory could be useful to you. Your insurer may also require you to retain any items for inspection if necessary, unless they pose a health hazard.
Not sure if your home insurance includes natural disaster cover? Do you want to benefit from the best support possible? Call your advisor to review your contract or find out about our home insurance offers. They have been studied to protect you from bad weather.
Home insurance and the state of natural disaster
What does the “natural disasters” guarantee include?
If your home or car insurance contract includes a guarantee covering events such as fire, water damage, theft and storms. On the other hand, basic insurance, such as “rental risk guarantee” for tenants or “motor third party liability”, are not concerned.
But beware, in some cases, this guarantee is not included. Below are the possible exceptions:
- When the goods affected are in unbuildable zones , after the publication of a natural risk prevention plan (PPR);
- When assets have been installed in violation of the administrative rules in force at the time of their installation and tending to prevent damage caused by a natural disaster.
Apart from these exceptional cases, an insurer cannot refuse to cover you.
However, to avoid unpleasant surprises, read your contract carefully to check:
- The goods covered. Indeed, the goods not appearing on your contract will not be compensated by your insurer.
- The amount of the deductible which corresponds to the sum remaining at your expense.
How to report a claim related to a natural disaster
Has your home been affected by bad weather and you want to be compensated?
First of all, you will have to wait for the authorities to recognize the “state of natural disaster” by issuing an interministerial order.
You then have 10 days after the publication of the order in the Official Journal to file a claim with your insurer.
You must attach to your declaration the various supporting documents necessary for its coverage (invoices, photos, list of damage suffered, damaged goods, etc.).
Depending on the severity of the claim, your insurer may request an expert report. While waiting for the visit of the expert, keep the damaged objects.
What is the compensation period?
If all goes well, following your declaration of loss and the recognition of the “state of natural disaster”, you will have to wait 2 months to receive a provision on the indemnities.
Full compensation will occur after 3 months.