The insurance principle makes it possible to cover any possible claims that may arise on what we are or what we have. Sometimes obligatory, often advised, taking out insurance is an act that concerns us all. However, by its specific jargon and the multiplicity of contracts offered on the market, it is easy to get lost.
To help you see more clearly, we invite you to unroll together the main concepts on the subject. Follow the guide and the intricacies of insurance will no longer hold any secrets for you!
Definition of insurance
Insurance is defined as the “contract by which the insurer undertakes to indemnify the insured, in return for an insurance premium or a contribution, for certain possible risks or losses ”. In other words, insurance is the commitment that will allow the insured to be covered in the event of a claim, by his insurance company.
There are two main types of insurance: property insurance and personal insurance.
Property insurance covers what you own - your assets - and therefore includes your house (home insurance), your vehicle (auto, motorcycle, boat insurance), your telephone (specific affinity telephone insurance), etc.
Personal insurance , for its part, covers the risks inherent in your everyday life. They are more numerous and include a wide variety of contracts such as school insurance, long-term care, death insurance, travel insurance or even mutual health insurance.
The insurance system includes a notion of solidarity and mutualisation of risks through the contribution.
What is insurance used for?
Being covered by insurance allows you to protect yourself against the risks of life. A fire in your home, a dismissal compromising the repayment of your loan, a conflict with your neighbor, hospitalization, car breakdown… are as many potential risks as they are reasons to protect yourself from them.
In some cases, you are required by law to be covered by insurance . Thus, if you have a car, it must be insured. Same thing if you are a tenant: your landlord will - to comply with the law - ensure that you are covered for the accommodation you occupy.
In addition to these insurance related to goods, French law requires everyone to take out Civil Liability. This is the minimum coverage and everyone must be able to justify it. Generally, it is part of the mandatory guarantees present in the insurance of your home or your credit card, and you will not have to take it out individually.
Then there are a multitude of insurances which, although optional, are strongly recommended. In fact, these additional guarantees are less risk in the event of a claim. Depending on your lifestyle and your lifestyle (playing a risky sport for example), it can be very useful to take out insurance on this point, otherwise you will take full responsibility in the event of a claim. This foresight makes it possible to avoid many uncomfortable situations.
Insurance: how does it work?
The subscription to insurance is materialized by the signing of a contract between the insured and the insurer. The application of this contract commits the insured to pay an insurance premium in order to cover the risks determined in the latter.
The premium depends on the potential risk: for example, the home insurance premium of an owner of a large 5-room house will not be the same as that of an owner of a T2.
The risk covered must be specified in this contract, as well as the type of coverage: insurance deductibles, amount of coverage, etc.
The insurance premium is paid annually or in the form of monthly or quarterly contributions.
In many cases, contributions and bonuses are the same thing. Some people distinguish the premium as the total sum of the contributions for the year. Others use the term “contribution” for mutualist contracts. If this does not seem clear to you in your contract, turn directly to your insurer.
The insured must respect a certain time limit to notify his company in the event of a claim . For a disaster such as a fire, water damage or an explosion, the declaration must be made within 5 working days. In the event of a natural disaster, the deadline of 10 days following the ministerial order recognizing the disaster as such must be respected.
Compensation periods vary according to the contracts and the nature of the loss. This is because the gravity and responsibilities can be more difficult to assess from one situation to another.
For auto insurance, for example, the deadlines are defined as follows:
In the event of bodily injury
The insurer has 3 months to make its compensation proposal;
In the event of material damage
The maximum period is 8 months;
In the event of a natural disaster
The compensation proposal must be made within 3 months of the ministerial decree declaring the event;
In some cases
As with theft or acts of vandalism, the compensation period is generally set at one month.
These deadlines relate to the obligation to give a compensation proposal, and not the immediate payment of this compensation.
Who are the main players in insurance?
The parties involved in an insurance contract
First of all, here is a small summary of the different actors revolving around an insurance policy :
The person exposed to the risk;
The person who must collect the compensation from the insurer. For example in the case of death insurance, the beneficiary may be the spouse of the insured.
Insurance and its products may be marketed by different players depending on the organizations you turn to. If they all have the same purpose, their operating mode differs:
It is affiliated with a specific insurance company and its purpose is to offer and sell the products created by the latter. If you subscribe to an insurer, this will be your direct and single point of contact, from subscription to claims management.
The insurance broker
It acts as an intermediary between the insured and the insurance. He is a trader because he works with different companies, compares offers and offers you the most suitable for your situation. By putting different insurers against each other, the insurance broker obtains negotiated rates and advantageous formulas. Some brokers - like Reassure me - are independent, that is to say they do not have the right to favor one insurer over another. The quotation offered will be determined solely by your situation. In addition, calling an independent broker like Reassure me is 100% free for the insured: all costs are the responsibility of the insurer.
The insurance expert
There are two types, those employed in an insurance company and those independent, mandated according to the needs of the insurance companies. Each of them is specialized in a specific field of insurance (health, auto, home, etc.) and has all the in-depth technical knowledge on the subject. It is his precise knowledge that will make it possible to analyze your profile and help you to insure yourself at best, in knowledge of the risks. In the event of a claim, the insurance company will also call on the insurance expert to analyze the situation and determine its resolution (amount of compensation, damage suffered, etc.).
What are the compulsory insurances?
In France, there are more than twenty different insurance products. Some are mandatory, while others are just recommended. It can be difficult to navigate, especially since certain guarantees can sometimes overlap. You will find in the table below a summary of the compulsory insurances and what the legislation imposes on you - or not - on them.