the unpleasant surprises of the landscaping of the garden

If an insurer guarantees the permanent installations carried out outside, in the garden, it is possible that the contract excludes the essential repair of the ground which is used to support them. The question, according to the Court of Cassation, relates to the specific clauses of the insurance contract and the exclusions that they may contain.

Justice had been seized by an insured who claimed in vain that his insurer repair the access road to his property, damaged by heavy rains declared a natural disaster. The contract provides for the guarantee of the exterior real estate fittings, which include the terraces, walls, fences, independent staircases, barbecues, etc., argued the insured.

The insurer did not dispute but agreed to pay, according to the contract, only the development itself consisting of the surface coating of the road. He refused to take charge of the earthworks because the recovery and restoration of the land, he said, is not the repair of a development.

Justice found this insurer wrong. As soon as he promises to bear the cost of rebuilding the development, he must naturally bear the cost of repairing the land which serves as his necessary support. For this path, there can be no reconstruction, said the judges, without repairing the earthwork which has also been damaged.

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But this solution can only be imposed, said the Court of Cassation, in the face of the silence of the contract on this subject. This document could perfectly well have expressly excluded earthworks.

Multi-risk home insurance: damage covered by the guarantees

(Cass. Civ 2, 19.1.2023, E 21-17.936).

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