Check your insurance policy, you may be shocked


Languedoc Living reader Sally wrote to us to tell us that she had been burgled in France.  Her experience with the police and insurers are worth sharing.  You’ll be reaching for your insurance policy after reading her sad story.  Thanks for sharing Sally.

By Sally, Languedoc Living reader

I am sure some of you are well aware of how different it is making and receiving claims from insurance companies in France compared to the UK.   I  also thought I was fairly well informed. Wrong.   Due to a burglary,  I have been surprised, upset and down-hearted about the possibilities of receiving anything like the value of possessions stolen, in-spite of having a full insurance contract.

Here’s what I’ve learnt.  Firstly you must call the police immediately.  Within 24 hours you must make a report of your burglary and a list of things missing, this then goes to the police who give you an official, stamped piece of paper which must be with your insurance company all within the 24 hours.  (Luckily, I was advised to put a note “This list is incomplete” as it is impossible to know what is missing within the 24 hour limit).

Your insurance company will then give you an official claim form to fill in and will arrange for an independent assessor to visit.  I requested at least a week to give me time to sort everything out and come up with some sort of full list of my losses.

Now the fun starts.  The form requires: a description of the item,  the date it was bought and the value when it was bought. In addition, each and every item has to be supported by the receipt.  I did ask how I was to list an opal ring of my grandmother’s, circa 1890ish, and although the gendarmes and the insurance company were very helpful and kind, this request got the French shrug of the shoulders.

If the items with a receipt are supported by a photo of you wearing the item then this makes it more acceptable.  Where I did not have the relevant receipt,  I was told that if I had good photos of me wearing specific item this may be considered, but having trawled through 3000 photos the insurance assessor said that photos on their own would be very unlikely to be accepted.

With jewellery it seems that it is necessary for your name to be on the receipt too.

Lastly, maybe others knew this, I did not; when it comes to your compensation, given that all the above criteria are met, you will still only receive the weight of gold or silver of each item, not the final price of the item.  For me this was the final straw.   The assessor said if it was a very intricate piece of jewellery and there was a photo supporting this a little more might be addd to the weight of the metal.

I still have to confirm this with my insurers but for the future,  the assessor suggested that I should get my jewellery valued by a valuer acknowledged or recommended by the insurance company and as long as each document has my name on it, the date of the valuation and full details of each piece and this is handed to the insurer,   I would then be able to make a claim in the future.