Decennial insurance, also called decennial legal liability, is set by articles 1792 to 1792-2 of the Civil Code. It enshrines the principle of presumption of responsibility for an irreducible period of 10 years.
Some professionals must protect their clients by taking out a specific insurance contract. Since 2014, it has therefore been compulsory for those working in the construction industry to take out a ten-year guarantee covering the work up to 10 years after the official date of the end of the work.
What is the ten-year guarantee?
The ten-year insurance provides coverage for damage that compromises the solidity of the structure or renders its use non-functional. It applies to the owner but also new successive buyers in the event of resale of the property.
To be valid, the ten-year guarantee must imperatively be taken out before the start of work.
Who are the professionals affected by this insurance?
The law requires all building professionals to subscribe to a ten-year guarantee when their activity consists of carrying out or designing works.
More specifically, this contract concerns:
- The study, consulting, and management professions: architect, real estate developer, design office, consulting engineer, etc. ;
- Structural and structural work trades: mason, carpenter, roofer, zinc work, etc. ;
- The planning and finishing trades: tiler, electrician, carpenter, plumber, heating engineer, door and window installer, kitchen and bathroom designer, etc.
Public works companies are also affected by the obligation to take out a ten-year guarantee.
Micro-enterprises: is ten-year insurance compulsory?
If you are a self-employed person and if your professional activity involves carrying out construction, renovation, or fitting out work, you are required to take out ten-year insurance.
By the Pinel law of 2015, the references of this contract must imperatively appear on the quotes provided to customers.
Ten-year guarantee and subcontracting
In principle, the ten-year insurance obligation does not apply to subcontracting activities. The contractor is responsible for the quality of the work carried out about the client who placed the order. While certain tasks are entrusted to subcontractors, they remain under the responsibility and supervision of the service provider.
In the event of damage affecting the work, it is up to the main contractor to invoke his ten-year insurance unless he can prove the fault of his subcontractor. In this situation only, he will be able to turn against him. As a reminder, the subcontractor is subject to an obligation of result and must produce work free from defects.
Mandatory ten-year insurance: for what work?
The ten-year guarantee is compulsory for builders involved in major works. It also concerns the items of equipment when their defects make the structure unfit for the use for which it was intended or uninhabitable. In other words, this insurance is essential, whether it concerns construction work for a new building or an existing building. It may be necessary for work that concerns only a single part of the property.
When the ten-year guarantee is compulsory, the professional must provide his client with an insurance certificate. This document mentions, in particular, the contact details of the insurer and the geographical area covered by this contract.
Example of damage covered by the ten-year guarantee
This warranty covers damage that affects the solidity of the construction or which renders it unsuitable for its purpose.
Here are some examples of damages covered according to the profession exercised:
- For a plumber: the most common example leaks. If after you intervened in a kitchen, the customer notices that a leak has damaged all his furniture, you can use your ten-year insurance to avoid paying the related costs.
- For an electrician: during the construction of a property, the electrical assembly may experience a fault resulting in a short juice setting fire to the kitchen and household appliances. The financial consequences of this damage can be significant.
- For a mason: masonry work, even when it is limited to one part of the building, can generate a ten-year risk. This is the case, for example, when a wall surrounding the home collapses.
- For a carpenter: a collapse caused by an error in the installation of a shutter, a thermal and sound insulation defect making the property uninhabitable, a sealing defect resulting from a bad installation … All damage is covered by the ten-year guarantee.
As you can see, ten-year insurance can be implemented in many situations. Without this coverage, you will have to compensate the injured customer yourself. However, the repair sometimes amounts to tens of thousands of euros.
What is the price of a ten-year guarantee?
The price of ten-year insurance varies according to the insurance organizations but also according to the profession exercised, the turnover achieved and the geographical area covered. Its average price is generally between 650 and 2,500 euros per year for a self-employed person. For a company, it is between 7,000 and 20,000 euros.
Before purchasing this insurance, you are strongly advised to compare ten-year insurance offers using a 100% free online tool. To obtain personalized ten-year insurance quotes, all you need to do is complete a quick form indicating certain information about your company (sector of activity, amount of turnover, number of employees, areas of intervention, etc.).
Another solution: use a decennial insurance broker who will compare the offers for you. The broker has an extensive network of partners with whom he can negotiate prices and subscription conditions. After having precisely analyzed your needs, this professional will be able to offer you a contract adapted to your budget. He can also provide you with personalized advice and answer your questions throughout the subscription.
So, if you work in the construction industry, do not hesitate to start your research for ten-year insurance several months in advance. We must not forget that the lack of insurance is punishable by imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of 75,000 euros.