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Storms in France: Insurers advise action to limit damage to home

They also recommend checking contracts to see you have the appropriate cover

Storms regularly cause damage to properties so it is important to be prepared Pic: Harrison Jeffs/Shutterstock

Every year a number of storms hit mainland France, regularly leaving extensive damage in their wake. Here are some of the actions insurance firms advise you undertake to minimise the damage before it occurs

If you live in a high-risk area, it is essential to be prepared; organisation can limit damage.

There are simple steps such as checking that the roof is in good condition, unplugging non-essential electrical appliances or closing your garden gate to prevent it from being damaged by winds. 

Another priority is to secure any outdoor furniture. Objects such as chairs, trampolines and flower pots can be carried by the wind and as a result damage your or neighbouring property. 

It is advisable to move your vehicle to a sheltered place and not to leave it under a tree, a lamppost or a power line to lessen chances of damage. Garage your car if possible.

Also make sure all the windows and shutters are closed. If your shutters are electric it is recommended to leave a small opening to be able to leave the house in the event of an electrical failure.

Insurers recommend that you scan all of your important documents and take pictures of your home and your personal belongings before the storm as these can be used afterwards in the event of a disaster (and there is a chance that the originals may be lost in the damage).

Check your contracts

As well as acting to prevent damage to your property before a storm it is important to ensure you will be compensated if an event does occur.

Particular attention must be paid to the guarantees that become relevant in the event of a storm. Natural disaster cover (assurance catastrophe naturelle) is often but not always included in multi-risk home insurance policies.

This coverage cuts in when there is an official declaration of natural disaster opening up a timeline for claims and reimbursement.

Read more: France’s ‘catastrophe naturelle’ insurance system: how to claim

If there is not such a declaration, storm insurance (garantie tempête) can cover a certain amount of related damage. 

This element of insurance is often optional and is not always integrated into multi-risk contracts. 

Under this repair costs are met as are potentially some of the cost of clearing and relocation, dependent upon the level of cover. 

What exactly is insured

Other elements that may not automatically be covered under your policy include swimming pools, solar panels, greenhouses, barbecues etc.

As far as cars are concerned, basic coverage may not include insurance against storm damage, whereas a more comprehensive coverage can so this is also a point to check.

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