Does insurance cover food in fridge ruined after power cut in France?

Some insurance policies will cover this, and in certain cases your electricity supplier may also be required to pay you compensation

There are guidelines in place regarding compensation for ruined food products
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Reader question: We had a power cut that lasted around six hours, making much of the food in our fridge unsafe to eat. As the power cut was not our fault, can we claim compensation from the supplier or our house insurance?

You may be able to claim money for the damage of foodstuffs due to the power cut – from your energy supplier – however a high minimum damage threshold must be passed.

Alternatively, you may be refunded if your home insurance policy contains specific clauses relating to foodstuff damage.

In cases such as this, it is also possible to claim a baseline compensation from your energy supplier, if the cut lasted a certain amount of time.

In most instances, if the power cut causes damage to electrical goods (such as via a power surge), you may have recourse to both your insurance policy and / or electricity supplier.

The information below also applies to food damaged in freezers (congelateurs) and not just fridges.

What compensation can my supplier provide?

You should contact your energy supplier as soon as possible after the power cut, sending it a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt (une lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception).

The letter should contain details about the power cut, and as much proof as possible (photos, information from neighbours, news stories about the cuts, etc).

Unfortunately, compensation for a power cut can be quite low – for a power cut lasting more than five hours, the electricity supplier must compensate you by €2 per 1,000 volt-amperes of subscribed power.

This comes with an upper limit of 40 consecutive 5-hour periods which you can claim compensation for.

In the event of a power cut lasting six hours or more, compensation rises to around €10 per 1,000 volt-amperes – compensation is not payable for cuts lasting less than five hours.

However the supplier can also be held liable for damage to goods caused by power cuts or power surges if the damage exceeds €500.

You must send a lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception alongside the estimated repair costs or a letter from a professional explaining that the product is beyond repair.

Whilst this usually relates to electrical appliances, this can also include the cost of food that was stored inside your fridge, provided you have the sales receipts for the items.

A more probable scenario is being able to claim compensation for the food in addition to other damaged goods, which together total more than €500.

If the supplier is unwilling to pay the compensation, you can report the matter to the Energy Ombudsman Sollen.

Should I contact my insurance?

Some home insurance policies will offer cover for losses incurred due to a power cut.

Electrical goods that are damaged from power cuts may fall under the dégats electriques cover which is included in most multirisques habitation (general home insurance policies).

Some policies will have additional – or opt-in – cover for damage to foodstuffs from a power cut (garantie pour la perte de denrées alimentaires en cas de coupure de courant).

If you have this, compensation for ruined food should be possible to claim.

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