French Language Blog

Is That Covered By Your Insurance In France? Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

"Broken Glass at Work-13" by Eric Schmuttenmaer on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Broken Glass at Work-13” by Eric Schmuttenmaer on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

France is famous for l’amour et le vin (love and wine), and its culture that extends throughout the la francophonie. Cependant (however), France is also known for la bureaucratie et la paperasse (bureaucracy and paperwork).

All countries have an element of la bureaucratie that can be extra difficult when you’re un étranger (a foreigner) and la bureaucratie française is no exception.

I had to deal with the confusing twists and turns of l’assurance recently when it came time to see if something was covered by mon assurance habitation (my house insurance).

I called mon assureur (my insurer) to make une demande d’indemnité (compensation claim, insurance claim) and start the insurance process, but there was an issue:

– Vous avez dit qu’il s’agit d’un bris de glace dans votre salle de bain ?
– Oui Madame, c’est ça.
– Je suis désolée, mais les bris de glace dans la salle de bain ne sont pas couverts par votre assurance habitation.

You said that it’s broken glass in your bathroom?
Yes Ma’am, that’s right.
I’m sorry, but broken glass in bathrooms is not covered by your house insurance.

A bit shocked as I looked at le papier (the paper) that stated mon assurance habitation covered les bris de glace, I asked l’agent d’assurance (the insurance agent) to explain why les bris de glace were not covered even though they were clearly there:

– Mais c’est écrit ici que les bris de glace sont couverts !
– Oui, mais comme la salle de bain n’est pas indiquée spécifiquement, elle n’est pas couverte.

But it’s written here that broken glass is covered!
Yes, but as the bathroom is not specifically indicated, it’s not covered.

After that phone call I emailed mon proprietaire (my landlord) to explain what mon assureur told me, and to figure out what to do next.

Un vrai casse-tête !

A real headache!

The good thing is that I learned how to talk more clearly about l’assurance and how to deal with un sinistre (an accident). Je suis sûr à cent pour cent (I’m one hundred percent sure) that I’ll have to make more phone calls and maybe send a few letters before everything is settled, but that’s a part of living abroad and learning a new language!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. apaula:

    Omg,I feel your frustration…
    I,mysel had my baby here in France.Papa is French by the way,but baby was not entitled to the baby benefit because we did not arrive in France in a specific time slot.And when we try to prove that we did, they asked for more paper work to make things complicated..
    Its annoying how France is and their paper work..Looking for a house to rent too is even more complicated…dont get me started on that..