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Can we claim on house insurance if boars damage our French garden?

It is important to specify what cover is required when buying insurance

Despite their sometimes appealing appearance wild boars can be dangerous Pic: lukaszemanphoto / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Our garden was damaged by a wild boar and our insurance company says it will not pay out. Is this right?

Property damage to gardens caused by boars is more common than you would think, as there are estimates that up to one million wild boars (sangliers) live in France.

They are not confined only to rural areas and can sometimes live close to cities, running through the gardens of suburban properties.

However, this does not mean that their potential for destruction is always recognised by home insurance policies. 

As with most issues, whether you are covered for this type of damage depends on the specifics of your cover.

General ‘home’ insurance will not cover such damages because in France these policies only apply to a property’s structure/foundations and internal items.

Add-ons can cover damages to other areas of your property and this is almost always required in a case such as this, so if you do not have additional cover it is unfortunately unlikely that your insurance company will pay out.

Hunters could be sued if at fault – but this is unlikely

Pets and farm animals have legal designated owners (especially cats and dogs), with these owners being legally responsible for any issues arising from their pets.

An example of this is a pet such as a dog causing excess noise by barking, which we covered in a previous Reader Question below:

Read more: Noisy neighbours in France: How can I stop a dog barking incessantly?

Wild boars however, as with all wildlife, are legally classified as not having owners so there is no individual who is legally responsible for any damage they cause.

If you live in a hunting zone, and the damage was caused during or immediately after a hunt, you may be able to take the organisers to court.

However for most cases of garden damage by a wild animal this is unlikely to be the case, and even if it is, it can be difficult to prove a direct correlation.

Read more: Hunting season opens in many areas of France: what's good to know

Policies with ‘garden insurance’ are suitable

Home insurance policies do not cover damage in your garden unless you specifically have ‘garden cover’ (garantie jardin). 

This is offered as an optional extra and will increase your insurance premium. It covers damage to your garden in such an event.

It may also cover damage caused by storms or weather conditions, but usually only to the natural environment itself (such as trees, plants, bushes etc).

Alongside damage to plants and natural features, it may cover destruction of fences and walls by humans, animals, and the weather.

However, policies generally do not cover objects temporarily placed inside your garden, such as furniture or a vehicle and will often not cover damage to sheds (or items inside). 

Some insurers, such as Matmut, do offer modifiable garden insurance policies which allow the cover of additional named items within a policy.

Matmut gives examples which include vegetable gardens, terraces, certain garden furniture not fixed into the ground, pergolas, and barbecue pits.

Swimming pools are not covered under garden insurance and require their own separate cover.

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