France's top court limits 10-year guarantee on heat pumps

The landmark ruling also excludes stove inserts in renovations

A heat pump
The ruling on heat pumps overturns a 2017 law which favoured people who installed them in their properties

The 10-year guarantee for building work does not apply for heat pumps and insert stoves fitted during renovations, France’s highest court has ruled.

The decision ends a case which has been dragging through the courts since 2013 and is binding for all work done after March 21, 2024.

It overturns a 2017 law which saw greater insurance rights for people who installed certain eco-friendly equipment, including heat pumps and wood-burning stoves/inserts.

Between 2017 and 2024, workers installing these had to – in theory – take out additional insurance that included a 10-year guarantee (assurance décennale) for defects from the installation. 

Read more: Heat pump insurance cover downgraded for many home owners in France

New ruling

Now, this only applies when the pumps are being installed in newly constructed properties. The case related to a house fire in February 2013, after an insert stove was installed the previous autumn. House insurance paid out €142,600 to the couple whose home had been ravaged, and they claimed another €79,000 from their installer who had a 10-year insurance policy for his work from Axa.

However, Axa refused to pay out, insisting that although the stove caused the fire, the property was an older home (ie, not newly constructed with the insert as part of its original design).

Before ruling, the Cour de Cassation took the rare step of launching a consultation – and received fervent replies from artisans who said the insurance for 10-year guarantees on older homes was too expensive, thus often shunned, even if they were liable to criminal proceedings for not having it.

Installations after March 21 can still be covered by civil liability insurance, but this does not provide as much protection as a 10-year warranty.