Decennial liability insurance, commonly called a decennial guarantee, is taken out by any manufacturer before the start of work. Its purpose is to guarantee damage that may occur after delivery of the site, within the limit of 10 years. Article L 224-1 of the Insurance Code makes thecompulsory decennial liability insurance for any party involved in the construction of a new structure or the rehabilitation of an old structure. Who can subscribe to it? What does it cover? For how long ? How to buy it at the best value for money? In this case, we take stock of the ten-year guarantee.
Who should take out ten-year insurance?
The law is clear on the matter and reiterated in articles 1792 and following of the Civil Code: “Any builder of a work is fully liable, towards the owner or the purchaser of the work, for damages, even resulting from ” a defect in the floor, which compromises the solidity of the structure or which, affecting one of its constituent elements or one of its equipment elements, make it unsuitable for its purpose. ”
By this law, the legislator subjects the ten-year guarantee obligation to numerous building workers, whether or not they are professionals. Thus, are reputed builders of the work:
- The technician, the project manager, the design office or any person related to the project owner
- The real estate developer, the developer or any person who sells, after completion of the work, the work that he has built or has built
- The agent of the owner of the work, in the capacity of lessor of the work, such as the architect or the building company, etc.
Any building professional, in the capacity of advisor or craftsman, must therefore be covered by a ten-year guarantee insurance. Likewise, any legal or natural person exercising an advisory and coordination activity must take advantage of appropriate cover. Thus, all trades involved in the construction of a new or old building take out a ten-year guarantee: from the project manager to the mason, from the architect to the electrician, from the consulting engineer to the carpenter, etc.
What guarantees are included in the contract?
The ten-year guarantee covers construction defects and damage which result from your work or from a hidden defect linked to the land where the work is built. Thus, the following are systematically guaranteed:
- Damage affecting the solidity of the structure and due to a construction defect (collapse, subsidence or observed fragility of the built structure due to a construction defect)
- Damage rendering the building uninhabitable or unfit for its use (major cracks, leakage, improper insulation, fire due to a fault in the electrical installation, etc.)
Only the major work, that is to say the fixed elements, such as the frame, the floor or the walls is guaranteed, as opposed to the minor works, that is to say the movable elements, such as doors, windows, sanitary facilities, etc.
What are the information obligations relating to the ten-year guarantee?
Decennial insurance must imperatively be taken out before any opening of a site to be valid. A valid insurance certificate must be given to the project manager before the start of the work.
Professionals for whom the ten-year guarantee is compulsory must mention on their quotes and invoices the insurance number taken out, the contact details of the insurer as well as the geographical area covered.
Finally, in the event of the sale or resale of a home within 10 years of its construction, the mention of the existence or not of compulsory insurance must be appended to the compromise and to the deed of sale signed at the notary.
How long is the ten-year guarantee?
The ten-year guarantee takes effect from the date of signature of acceptance of the works and is valid for 10 years. In the event of legal action following a construction defect noted by the contracting authority, the action period suspends the warranty period. For example, a 2-year legal proceeding will increase the duration of the ten-year guarantee to 12 years in total.
What penalties in the absence of ten-year liability subscription?
Since ten-year coverage is compulsory, you, as a construction professional, incur heavy penalties for default of insurance : up to 75,000 euros fine and 6 months in prison.
In addition, you remain responsible for the work carried out and are personally liable for the compensation due in the event of a claim. Most of the time, these situations result in the compulsory liquidation of your business, but also in the loss of your personal assets.
The importance of choosing the right ten-year guarantee
As you will have understood, the financial risks engendered by your profession are high and can be the subject of procedures as long as they are costly. It is therefore necessary to carefully choose your ten-year guarantee to exercise your activity with serenity. You have to choose the best guarantees to be well protected.
In practice, how to take out ten-year insurance at the best value for money?
Before taking out a ten-year guarantee, you must compare the following points between several insurance proposals:
- The insurance price: quotes can vary from single to double, sometimes for the same guarantees, be careful
- Effective management of all your activities: each risk must be mentioned in the contract, such as electricity, roofing, framework, etc.
- Warranty exclusions: an essential element of your contract, you must know the cases in which your insurer will not intervene
- The coverage area: due to seismic and landslide risks in particular, the geographical extent of the guarantee must be indicated and correspond to the actual situation of the site
When subscribing, a certain number of supporting documents will be requested from you by the insurer before any membership. It is most often:
- Insurance quote duly completed and signed
- Your proof of activity (KBIS or situation in the SIREN directory)
- Your means of payment, transfer, bank card or more rarely check
In any case, we recommend that you respond seriously to the questionnaire that the insurer submits to you. Erroneous information or omission, whether voluntary or not, can render your contract inoperative and therefore useless.
Compare and choose the best deals on the market online!
Choosing your contract carefully is crucial. Decennial insurances are often expensive and personalized according to your needs. Fortunately, the increase in online offers makes it possible to reduce costs through competition.
Price should not be the only criterion to remember. You must check that the chosen offer covers all your activities and those of your employees. It is your responsibility to take out a guarantee perfectly suited to your interventions.
By using an online ten-year guarantee comparator, you can access many offers while saving time and money. We advise you to study at least two to three quotes corresponding to your expectations before any signature and payment.
As a reminder, do not forget to subscribe upstream of the site, to be covered as soon as it opens and to meet your legal obligations. The online decennial insurance comparison is simple, fast, free and without obligation!