The short-term letting of furnished property presents particular insurance issues for a landlord.
Although the landlord will need to insure the property against the usual risks (Gîtes de France recommend that property owners should get an assurance responsabilité civiles tous risques), this insurance policy is unlikely to cover accidental damage caused by tenants or guests.
It is possible to pass the responsibility for insurance onto your guests, and the Connexion’s helpguide Letting Out Your Home recommends owners insist tenants of short-term lets coming from abroad have travel insurance.
However, not all guests are prepared to take out travel insurance, so if you want to insist on it, you may end up losing the letting.
Alternatively, it is possible that the insurance policy of the main home of your guests covers them for holiday lettings, but without an examination of their policy, and confirmation from their insurer, you cannot be sure.
Neither does French law on the insurance of holiday lettings help a great deal. Those occupying seasonal and furnished lettings are exempt from any property insurance obligations.
As an alternative to insisting your guests take out travel insurance, one option is for the landlord to try and negotiate a clause of no recourse (called abandon de recours) against guests in their own insurance policy.
Under such a clause, the owner and insurer agree not to sue the occupant for any damage they cause, with repair costs picked up through the landlord’s policy. However, there is no guarantee your insurer would be prepared to agree to such a clause, which is also limited to damage to the property caused by fire or flood.
Alternatively, the landlord can take out a specific assurance pour le compte de qui il appartiendra (for the benefit of whomsoever it may concern) that specifically covers accidental damage to the property by their guests caused by fire or flood. The policy also covers claims by third parties against your guests.
Once again, however, this type of insurance does not cover all risks, and those risks not covered are the direct responsibility of the occupants.
In particular, there is likely to be an ‘excess’ in the policy, so that minor damage caused by a tenant would not be covered. The only way of covering your risk for such incidents is to insist on a damage deposit.