So with Tracy and I “upping our game” from living in a “furnished one year vacation rentals” to taking on a “Bail de Trois” (standard three-year lease) of an unfurnished apartment (A Change of Address), our real estate agent Camille advised us we needed to obtain renter’s insurance before we can take possession of the new apartment’s keys. Contrary to renting a furnished apartment, there is an “obligation on the tenant of an unfurnished tenancy to take out insurance against the risk of fire, explosion, and infiltration of water etc. for which they may be responsible. The minimum insurance required by a tenant is for risques locatifs, but a more prudent policy would be for multi-risques d’habitation, which would include damage or theft to personal belongings. The tenant is required to supply the landlord with a copy of the insurance certificate each year.” (French-Property.com)
Asking Camille if she had any insurance companies she recommended, she advised us there are many insurance companies available, but the quickest and simplest way would simply be contacting our French bank for coverage. (Yes, in France you can get home, vehicle, and supplemental health insurance at the bank. Pet insurance, too. Equally odd to US expats, you can set up a bank account and buy cell phones at the Post Office.) With visions of 1.) a long difficult conversation in our stumbling French, 2.) difficult to understand contract options – all in French legalese, and 3.) a delay in obtaining insurance resulting in a delay in getting the new apartment, we steeled ourselves and headed to our local branch of BNP Paribas.
The bank receptionist was very helpful and was happy to try to complete our request for renter’s insurance, although she did not speak English, she was patient with listening to our poor French. After a moment she enlisted the help of Julien, a conseiller de clientèle bancaire (bank officer), who spoke English and who could make the transaction easier. Julien’s excellent English was the result of working in his youth for a year outside Detroit as an au pair and then spending his final month in the US driving Route 66 across America. His wife and he had just returned from a vacation in New York City.
Julien made the process easy with €20,000 worth of liability, theft, and damage coverage for about €14 a month. (More than enough coverage with Tracy and my minimalist lifestyle.) We elected to pay an annual premium rather than a monthly payment. Three signatures and we had the document required for our real estate agent, an Attestation d’Assurance Habitation. We don’t think we ever purchased insurance coverage as easily before. Quick, painless, and fun discussions with Julien about his experiences in America.