Damage to property

“I swear it was OK when I left”

The culprit (the chap who does the lawn) has fessed up, he’s checking with the insurance. Apparently he was manoeuvring around a car parked on our gravel in front of the house which caused him to prang the gatepost. The wall badly needs repointing but it wasn’t especially on the point of falling down.

That was an “Errr WTF, what car??” moment - probably the other neighbour that I asked to keep an eye on the property but I wasn’t asked for and didn’t give explicit permission (would have if asked).

The damage itself is hardly the end of the world but any legal pratfalls I need to watch out for? My instinct if the insurance says “non” is just to rebuild it myself, or maybe find someone to do it and ask for a bit of a contribution. I don’t want to fall out with the guy who does the lawn - too useful. I don’t want to fall out with the other neighbour but might need to ask why they parked the car without asking (I’m open to the possibility it was something like wanting to give the impression someone was in residence) but they do have their house up for sale so…

@billybutcher so sorry to hear of the damage to your property.
IIRC, simply asking the insurer whether a claim would be countenanced could lead to a loss of any no claim discounts in France. @fabien will confirm that I’m sure before you compromise your position.
I’m sure others will chip in (not monetarily perhaps) with suggestions as to rebuilding it - maybe with an RSJ embedded in it to avoid future mishaps :grinning:
We had a strong wooden post installed to protect our access to the water meter from vehicles driving over it. Some plonker reversed into it and broke it in half and left the scene without admitting their fault. We got our local builder to re-install it and just took the cost on the chin rather than involve any insurance claim.

Nah, firmly in c’est la vie for this one.

It’s the gardener’s motor insurer - he’d already approached them before emailing me.

ah… ok then perhaps the insurers will sort it between them without any penalty to you. His car insurance though… down to him!

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I deffo wasn’t involved mate, by dint of being in another country, and so far it’s just one insurer - I don’t think there was damage to anything other than the wall and the gardener’s trailer.

If, as it sounds like, the gardener’s fessed up, let him/her sort it with their insurance company and by the time you get back with any luck you’ll have a nice new bit of wall.


That would be nice :slight_smile:

My experience has been that French people use their insurance far more than I am used to. For a few things here with friends and neighbours we have been quite surprised that they made an insurance claim. And when our dog broke a friend’s new glasses it was fairly obvious that they expected us to hand ove our insurance details. Although being friends they said they would pay any franchise. Personally I would have just bought the guy a new pair of glasses…

Hi @JaneJones funny that you think that, I actually think that’s the other way around but from the look of the insurance premium in France it tends to support your version rather than mine (much more expensive here). Food for thoughts on my side definitely :wink:

Not really, in France (as in the UK for that matter) if someone makes a claim that involves a vehicle and a property both policies will need to be involved. The vehicle insurance will ask the customer to see with the other party as to trigger their policy too so that the property insurance can use the “recourse” section of their policy in order to file the claim through the other policy (the vehicle insurance). So, technically, it always involve both policies and even if @billybutcher doesn’t call his own insurance company they may contact it for him so my advise would be that billy doesn’t disclose with whom he is insured to avoid that situation to happen.

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I confirm that the bare questioning of an insurer can be considered as filing a claim (often is). Just as a side information, in France the value of the claim doesn’t matter. Whatever you file a 100k claim or a claim that ends up being voided, a claim is a claim. Just for future information :wink:


That seems a bit unfair if a claim is never actually made.

I’ll await developments. The property is insured, obviously, but he’ll need to get the details from me which, so far, have not been requested.

In this case I would not be inclined to claim on our house insurance. Materials to rebuild the wall will be about 5€ and it will take me a morning at most. Getting a builder will take ages and be much more expensive - but if it is at someone else’s expense…

If it does go through the insurance I take it there wouldn’t be any problem me cleaning and stacking the old stones when I am over, hopefully in a couple of weeks?

Take photographic evidence at every stage from multiple angles to be certain of recording every possible aspect to be as certain as you can be with a claim that it was necessary to secure the site and prevent further loss - children entering your property and injuring themselves for example which would be a claim under your public liability cover aspect and to mitigate your loss. This would be advisable whether or not you continue with the claim.

Said children would not have my permission to be on my land - which in a sensible system would mean the risk was theirs, not mine.

But I planned on taking photos anyway.

sadly, not in France - you are absolutely liable whether or not they have your permission…

on the same page obviously…

This is, of course, why I posted - I’ve come to realise you just can’t map expectations from the UK legal system to France. It is one of the things that is superficially similar but different in almost all aspects when you dig into it.

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Getting a builder will take ages and be much more expensive

To be noted that very often the insurance company will offer a “flat rate” for small repairs if you are willing to do that yourself or on your own. If’ve had a claim like this a couple years ago involving the fence. It repaired it myself for a couple hundred euros and the flat rate was circa 600 euros (if my memory is not failing me). So, sometimes you can be “winning” at the insurance game although it’s often due to fortunate circumstances.

and not always the case eh? :wink:

Presumably the couple of hundred euros did not involve the cost of your time to do the work.

Any artisan worth his salt would be a couple of hundred euros/day