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What happens if you have a leak in your Paris apartment?

Whether you are an owner, non-occupying owner or tenant, you have a high probability of one day being the author or the victim of water damage. Water damage is the first item of declared claims. How will you deal with it?

What insurance to take out?

Each co-owner is required to insure himself against the risks of civil liability for which he must answer in his capacity as an occupying co-owner or a non-occupying co-owner (rented accommodation). Article 9-1 created by the law of March 24, 2004 (law alur) requires each co-owner to take out insurance. The tenant must, under penalty of termination of the lease, take out comprehensive home insurance and justify it to his lessor. He must insure himself against the risks of “fire, explosions and water damage”.

If the owner rents furnished, he must take out a guarantee for the rented movable property, obviously excluding the tenant’s furniture. Insuring family housing with comprehensive housing is not compulsory when you occupy your home yourself. But few are reckless because the risks involved are great.

When to declare?

When water damage occurs, you must make a declaration of loss to your insurer by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt within the time limit set in your contract. In general, it is within five working days (Saturday and Sunday not included) from the moment you become aware of it.

More and more, insurers accept a telephone declaration and thus send by return mail “an amicable report”. If you are the only one involved, you will complete it on your own. Otherwise, you will have to complete this amicable report with your neighbors. Each will send the first sheet to their insurer and the third sheet to the trustee.

Who reports the claim?

Sometimes the water damage is invisible. It is then one of your neighbors who is the victim and who informs you that he suffers water damage from your apartment. In co-ownership, it is very difficult to know the origin at first glance. Is it a common part loss having an impact on the private parts or only a private part loss? Is the leak upstream or downstream of the shut-off valve? So many questions that deserve a clear answer. But before any conclusion, you must not waste time: you must declare the claim. When in doubt, those who suffer as well as those who submit must notify their insurance.

Insurance for occupants who are perpetrators or victims (tenant or owner), building insurance (condominium insurance) and sometimes even non-occupying owner insurance is generally found in the case of a rental property. In multi-family buildings, implementation is often complicated due to the multiplicity of stakeholders: owner, property manager, tenants, etc.

Everyone must declare the loss suffered or initiated. However, recently, the rules for handling claims have changed and have been greatly simplified with the aim of rapidly compensating policyholders. In fact, a new inter-insurer agreement for compensation and recourse for building claims (IRSI) was created on June 1, 2018. It is common to water damage and fire claims and entails the repeal of the Cider convention from that date.

The IRSI convention (Compensation and recourse for building claims)

Since June 1, 2018, all damages of less than 5,000 € excluding tax come under the IRSI agreement, including furnished and seasonal premises. It is the insurer of the damaged premises who is in charge of managing the water damage. He is said to be the “manager” of the file. Before, dealing with a claim involved a multitude of stakeholders, which was the source of numerous disputes. From now on, this manager is responsible for ensuring the reality of the damage, organizing the procedures for finding a leak, appointing an expert (for expertise common to all insurers) and assessing the damage. He must then designate the insurer(s) who must take charge of the damage according to the new stipulations (installments).

Indeed, the IRSI establishes two installments of claims based on material damage and other costs:

Installment 1: Damage less than 1,600 € excluding tax (claim indemnified by the managing insurer with waiver of recourse).

If the damage falls into Installment 1, there will be a global coverage by the managing insurer (therefore the insurer of the damaged building) and he will not have the possibility of turning against the other insurers to have a quota refunded, unless there have been more than two water damage or fire incidents in the last 24 months.

Installment 2: Damage greater than 1,600 € excluding tax and less than 5,000 € excluding tax (claim indemnified by the managing insurer with recourse).

If the damage falls within this range, a single expert is appointed by the managing insurer. His report is opposable to the various stakeholders (both insurers) and it will be up to the insurer of the damaged property (therefore to the manager) to take charge of the claim for him to then turn to the other insurers to recover the cost incumbent on each according to an inter-insurance distribution scale.

The main advantage of this agreement, both in Installment 1 and 2, is a considerable reduction in the indemnification time of the insured, thanks to the respect of a common scale and the coverage of the indemnification of their insured by the insured parties’ insurance companies.

Warning ! Beyond 5,000 € of damage, other existing agreements take over (Cide-cop) or even common law remedies.

Note: With IRSI, the cost of the leak search initiated by the manager is paid by him, excluding any repair (example: gasket, valve change). On the other hand, if the occupants of the damaged property carry out a search for a leak before the declaration or carry out investigations in order to avoid the aggravation of the loss, these costs remain the responsibility of their own insurer.

What else you need to know about IRSI:

-The water damage guarantee is now exercised according to the “all risks except” formula now including claims of unknown origin.

-IRSI is applicable for furnished or seasonal premises, fire is also governed by this convention.

-In the event of a claim within a condominium, the building’s insurance will now come in third after the occupant’s insurance, then that of the co-owner-lessor.

-With the old Cider convention, insurers could oppose their deductible.

-With IRSI, these deductibles or exclusions are no longer enforceable. The agreement and its deemed guarantees take precedence over contracts which would exclude, for example, the coverage of the search for leaks or others.



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