Renting an apartment or house in France means that you are absolutely required to invest in renter’s insurance, aka assurance d’habitation. When I first encountered this, I was severely confused, because back home in the United States even though renter’s insurance does exist, it is not required and most people don’t invest in it. However, it is a legal obligation in France if you are renting. Also, some places might not even let you sign a lease until you can prove that you have insurance or that you plan to get insurance.
It covers fires, accidents, water damage, break-ins, and responsabilité civile. La responsabilité civile, the civil responsibility, policy is a policy that exists in France to cover you if you cause harm to anyone or their belongings. So, if you accidentally break someone’s window because you thought it would be fun to throw around a ball at someone’s party, then you’re covered.
I was severely confused as to 1) what this is and 2) why it even exists. I have no idea why it exists in the first place, but it is required. It’s usually covered in your renter’s insurance though.
So, you need to invest in a renter’s insurance policy. Don’t worry. This is actually a lot easier than it appears.
You can get your insurance through a couple of places.
1. Through your bank – Because the assurance d’habitation is required in France, most banks offer it, and it is usually rather cheap as well, depending on where you live. So, depending on which bank you decide to open an account with, you should be able to get insurance from them. I have an account with Crédit Mutuel, and I pay less than 5€ a month for my insurance. I did have to pay an 11€ fee just to have the insurance, but it shouldn’t be that much every month. Even if it was though, that is still extremely cheap.
You will most likely have to sign a contract for a year of coverage, however, when you close your bank account, you should be able to close your insurance account without being charged the rest of the contract if you say that the reason is that you are moving out of your house/apartment.
I chose to go with my bank because my monthly payments just come straight out of my bank account automatically. So, I don’t have to worry about remembering to pay it.
2. Through private companies – Since I went through my bank for my insurance policy, I am unaware of any specific private companies that may offer this. If you will be a TAPIF assistant, then I’m sure your référent will be able to point you in the right direction or you can google it. As I’ve said throughout many of posts in this series, Google is your friend.
The price you pay for insurance will vary according to the city you live and where you live, whether it’s a house or an apartment, how big it is, etc.
You should also look at the specifics for the length of the contract and what will be required of you if you break contract, such as when you leave the country after 7 months of the one-year contract.
Overall, I think the simplest option is getting insurance through your bank since it is rather cheap and automatic, but it is definitely up to personal preference and needs. So, do your research and choose the best option for you.
Getting renter’s insurance is actually one of the least complicated parts of the whole process of moving to France. I can assure you of that. So, have confidence and good luck!