After the floods, what steps to take with the insurance

After the torrent of water and mud which rushed down the streets of northern Rouen (Seine-Maritime) on June 4, 2022 causing the death of one person, many homes were flooded. While waiting for a possible recognition of a natural disaster, steps must be taken without delay to claim compensation.

The stormy episode that occurred in Rouen at the end of the afternoon on Saturday June 4, 2022 was particularly intense and violent. In a few minutes, water trickled down the slopes of Bois-Guillaume before turning into a torrent carrying mud and all kinds of debris.
A torrent which descended in the direction of the Rouen station, by the Chemin de Clères then the rue Verte, mowing down and carrying away a passer-by who found herself drowned under a car…

During the storm, and with the force of the torrent which flowed along the streets of Bois-Guillaume, Mont-Saint-Aignan and Rouen, cellars, garages, basements and the ground floor of many houses were flooded. Water penetrated into the houses taking with it mud as in a housing at the bottom of the rue Verte, but also rue Malatiré where the office of a designer found itself under a meter of water…

In Rouen, the day after the storm, the inhabitants of the station district were in shock when they learned of the death of a woman, carried away by the waters. Among the victims of the floods, many relativized by explaining that material damage is nothing compared to a human life. However, and with the return of the sun, it was necessary to take care of the flooded premises and the damage caused by water and mud. Clean, dry and worry about insurance.

If with the long weekend of Pentecost, everyone was not able to contact their insurer on Sunday and Monday, you should know that in the case of a claim caused by a flood, it is necessary to report within five days. Another priority: make an inventory of the damage by listing all the damaged goods and taking pictures of them. To estimate their value, insurance companies also recommend finding and grouping all related documents such as invoices, receipts, guarantee certificates, etc.

Will damage caused by flooding be compensated?
It depends on the contract taken out. A (compulsory) contract covering water damage does not cover damage caused by flooding. Only a specific contract including, according to the companies, a “flood guarantee” “climatic event” or “storm” will allow to be compensated and this according to the ceiling and the deductible of the said contract as specified by the consumer defense association “Que Choisir”
For significant damage, and of a value exceeding more than 1500 euros, the insurance may request the passage of an expert. It is therefore strongly recommended, as soon as you call your insurer, to ask if you should leave the objects, furniture and rooms damaged by the flood in good condition.

Flood victims who have taken out a multi-risk home insurance contract for their property (the list of which is defined in the contract) will be able to benefit from “natural disasters guarantee”. For this it is necessary that the municipality where the flood took place makes the request “for recognition of the state of natural disaster. This request goes back to the Government, the only one authorized to recognize this situation” specifies the site economy.gouv. fr which adds that this “recognition” is then effective (if it is accepted) by an interministerial decree, of which only the publication in the Official Journal will allow the victims to be compensated.

As soon as the decree is published, the people affected will then have a period of ten days to contact their insurance in order to benefit from the conditions of compensation provided for in the context of a state of natural disaster.

In the case of the floods in Bois-Guillaume, Mont-Saint-Aignan and Rouen on June 4, 2022, if we did not yet know this Tuesday, June 7, where the requests were, the day after the storms, the Minister of the Interior declared that “under the authority of the Prime Minister, the State will be reactive with a rapid examination of requests for recognition of natural disasters and thus allow people to trigger their insurance.”

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