I confess I didn’t know that moving full time into a holiday home ie to make it our principal residence could adversely impact our house insurance…
We recently moved into our Seine-Maritime holiday home full time. This week I received the annual renewal and noticed that the house was categorised as a holiday home. In my innocence, following the standard instructions to advise the insurers of all changes, I called the insurers to tell them of the change to a principal residence, thinking there would be zero consequences.
I was slightly taken aback when the insurance agent said my insurance costs would now increase…and by 15%. She added that this change was obligatory in France as it’s considered there is more scope for damage and accidents if a house is occupied full time.
I would have thought insurance risks arguably diminish if a house becomes fully occupied, in that (for example) water leaks can be dealt with immediately rather than building up unnoticed over a long absence and then aggravating the damage, buildings clearly unoccupied may be better targets for burglars, fire can hopefully be spotted before taking hold etc.
I wonder if anybody else has come across this change in occupancy status causing insurance premium increases, which seemed counter-intuitive to me….
The question of any difference never arose for us because the requirement of the policy provided by Groupama was that we were on the premises a minimum of 90 days per year.
We knew we would easily meet that even for as long as it remained a second home so we happily confirmed. I cancelled that policy last year because its price had doubled in just under 10 years with no increase in risk and they wanted to increase it further.
Does Fabien (link at the top of Survive France homepage) do house insurance? I’m dealing with them on health insurance, and will probably look at them for motor insurance late next year. The good feedback on here seems justified so far.
It depends on the insurance company. Some are cheaper for main residence insurance and others will actually be cheaper if that’s a second home so it’s not some generic rule across insurance companies but rather a case by case thing. Hope that helps?
Thank you all for your thoughtful, helpful guidance. Prior to seeing your suggestions, I was resigned to accepting the increased premium for our house becoming a principal residence, but based on your advice, I will now seek other quotes.
I smiled when I saw Peter’s post - guess who my insurer is… at least Pacifica seem to be consistent!
We have been with Pacifica since we arrived in France. We have had to claim for a new roof, car broken into and two car accidents. All the claims were dealt with rapidly and more than financially satisfactory for us. The cheapest is not always the best. Plus they regularly improve the cover through loyalty.
We were with Pacifica for many years….then we got fed up with the above inflation increases every year, plus a very bad experience with a claim. Since then we regularly change companies and have saved a fair amount of money for exactly the same level of cover.
Seems insurance companies , like banks, are infinitely variable in France.
I had health insurance for several years with Generali with no problems, then one year they jacked the quote right up so I cancelled and moved to another which was about 25% cheaper. Generali then threatened me with huissiers for not paying the €1,400, despite proof that I had cancelled, which was an acceptance letter and another letter from them complaining that I had made a claim (an oversight by me at the pharmacie for not updating their records) after my coverage had ceased. I ignored them and they went away without another word.
The new one proved (can’t remember the name) no better, they said I wasn’t covered for things they said I was covered for.
So to Aviva, with everything, health, car and home for several very satisfactory years until they refused to cover my, legally dangerous but provably gentle, Rottweiler for 3rd party insurance. This despite it being a pillar of the law that nobody should be left without insurance legally required however outrageous the premium. I eventually got it with ECA, albeit with financially punishing terms for just €5/month. (They only covered him provided I also paid for his health insurance at a further €20/month, even that did not completely cover his annual vaccs.)
Now with Axa for cars and health, and happy so far. I have a feeling that the house insurance may have run out though because I can’t get a reply from Aviva to an email requesting the renewal cost. As I always pay up front, not by prelevement, I suppose I should just ignore them and get a quote from Axa and bring them all together again.