A state of natural disaster (catastrophe naturelle) has been declared in many more communes across France as drought conditions intensify following the hot summer.
However, the decree in question relates to drought in summer 2022.
Declaring this status officially means that residents can claim on their insurance if drought conditions have caused damage to their property. Shrinkage and expansion of ground due to drought can cause severe cracks in walls and the destabilisation of building foundations.
Catastrophe naturelle damage is always included in home multirisques insurance policies.
People who have affected property now have 30 days maximum to declare the damage to their insurance company. The deadline is October 26, 2023, as that will mark 30 days since the decree’s publication in the Journal Officiel.
More than 10 million homes are said to be at risk of drought damage in France, as drought conditions intensify nationwide. Soils with a large proportion of clay are at particular risk.
Authorities periodically test communes to see if they have been affected by previous droughts to be added to the list.
The full list of communes concerned by the latest decree can be found at this link.
An earlier list of communes - of which there are more than 1,000 - can be found here on the Journal Officiel’s website (declarations for these are due by October 8).
To search for your commune, you can use your device’s search function (usually activated by pressing the ‘ctrl’ and ‘F’ keys on a computer simultaneously) and then typing in the name of your commune.
Make sure however that your commune falls in Annexe I (those added to the list after being tested) and not Annexe II (those tested but not put on the disaster list).
How to claim
If your commune is listed, and you wish to claim for damage, you must do so within 30 days of the publication of the relevant Journal Officiel decree.
Depending on your insurer, you can make the claim by email, phone, or text. However, it is advisable to get proof of your claim being submitted via a lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception (an acknowledgement of receipt sent through the mail).
Next, your insurer will specify what they need from you (usually photos or videos of the damage). In most cases, your compensation should arrive within three months.
Edited October 5, to clarify relevant decrees
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