Drought-cracked houses better insured?

There are lists that will make your head spin. An endless list of municipalities recognized as being in a state of natural disaster due to drought in 2022 (the decrees for 2023 have not yet been published): there are more than 6,800 municipalities.

In these areas, houses built on clay soils are cracking and their structure is threatened by successive droughts and heavy rains, which cause the soil to shrink and swell and sometimes cause damage in the order of tens or hundreds of thousands of euros. A massive phenomenon, half of the houses in the metropolis sit on medium or highly exposed plots.

But if so, the lists of municipalities with the status of Cat Nat (natural disasters) every year leave aside a number of territories, and therefore also victims, condemned several recent reports, in particular the report presented to the government at the end of 2023. representative from the north Vincent Ledoux (Renaissance). Homes also victims of shrink-swell clays, but were located in municipalities not recognized by Cat Nat because they did not apply for the order or were refused. The rejection rate varies greatly by year, at 27% for 2022 and an average of 52% from 2010 to 2020, according to France Assureurs. However, without an order, there is no insurance – that is the condition of compensation.

Decryption | Article reserved for our subscribers Drought-cracked houses ‘forgotten by public policies’

In order to expand the number of eligible municipalities, the executive amended the criteria in a circular published on May 6. It refers to episodes of shrinkage-swelling of clays that occur from 1ahem January.

17% more municipalities

The expected impact is significant: a study by Météo-France and the Central Reinsurance Fund “we expect an average increase in the number of municipalities recognized annually by approximately 17%”, reports the Ministry of the Interior, specifying that it is measured in the period 2018-2022, marked by several very intense droughts. In practice, a municipality with clay soil will now be able to benefit from the Cat Nat bylaw if it meets one of the following three eligibility criteria.

First: drought (measured by an indicator of soil surface moisture) of assessed intensity “abnormal”. For this to be the case, it will be necessary “the year for which recognition is required (year N) among the three driest in the last three decades », explains Albert Dehaudt, president of the Cat Nat Flandres-HdF victim association. A much more favorable way of calculating than before, because until now the year N had to be one of the two driest in the last five decades.

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