Best insurance for a small business in France?

By Valérie Aston on 3 August 2009 · Viewed 15712 times · Questions

For many professions insurance cover is compulsory for all business and when it comes to apportioning liability for the self-employed (entreprise individuelle or auto-entrepreneur) there is no distinction between the business and yourself - which means you need to protect yourself. The following are the different types of insurance available to small business.

Assurance responsabilité civile professionnelle - professional liability

The responsabilité civile professionnelle covers you for acts that may cause damage to your customers, suppliers or third parties while working with or for you. The acts concerned are: professional misconduct, omissions or negligence, errors in your business advice and lack of technical assistance. This insurance is key to any business whether you are a translator (translation errors on medical terms for instance) or receiving customers in your workshop located in your home (to cover accidents).

Assurance décennale for the building trade

For regulated professions in the building trade such as builder, plumber, electrician and heating specialist, the law requires a minimum duration of cover for the work done as well as a minimum amount of compensation. The assurance decennale covers any defect that affects the quality of the work done and therefore makes it unfit for its intended use or purpose.

An assurance décennale will cover your work for 10 years and also protect against prosecution. In principle voluntary, this insurance has now become mandatory for all artisans who are required to repair problems which may occur up to ten years following completion of the work. The insurance premium for one year is calculated on your turnover and the number of employees. It is usually the most expensive insurance for artisans and costs from 2000 euros to 3000 euros.

This is usually offered as a single contract along with Assurance responsabilite civile professionnelle (professional liability). This type of insurance is not compulsory but recommended as it covers those things not covered by the assurance decennale.

La garantie de parfait achievement

As the name suggests, it is a guarantee of completion of good quality. When handing over the building site to the customer, that later can list remarks of reserves on pieces of work which may not meet his expectations. The completion guarantee will cover problems occurring on these listed remarks, as well as any others for one year after the work has been completed, ensuring the artisan/builder repairs all problems reported during that year. This insurance is not compulsory. If you have one for 10 years why would you have this one? Decennale is more for structural problem, this one is more for the finishing and defects which you can notice when handing over the building.

Assurance multi risque et perte d’exploitation

This covers your business premises and your equipment - property, machinery, equipment and stock for damage caused by fire, water or storms, with the aim of allowing you to start your business again after a disaster.

If you want to cover yourself against loss of earnings, then you also have to take out an assurance perte d’exploitation - this will cover payment of wages, fixed costs such as electricity and phone, taxes and extra charges due to the accident, including hiring new material or buildings, publicity to find new customers, etc.

Car, stock and building assurance

If you are using your personal car or setting up your business at home, you will need to inform your insurer as these could have an impact on your home insurance policy. For people selling goods online and storing their stock at home, check whether your home insurance covers the value of your stock in the event of fire or floods. A premium might be requested to cover this.

Micro insurance for micro enterprises and auto entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs de la Cité has recently launched micro insurance which is aimed at small businesses, such as micro entreprises or auto entrepreneurs. It offers a first aid insurance kit entitled trousse premiere assurance covering multi-risk (professional liability, accidents, operating loss) as well as health. The premium starts from €15 per month. In order to benefit from what are low rates, you will need to contact Entrepreneurs de La Cité via their partners - Boutiques de Gestion, Chambre du Commerce.

More Information

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.