Property with usufruct: who pays for home insurance?

Property with usufruct: who pays for home insurance?

Property with usufruct: who pays for home insurance?

When the rights associated with a home are divided between a usufructuary and a bare owner, practical problems arise. Including: who takes care of home insurance?

Explanation of usufruct and bare ownership

Marc is a widower and father of Antoine andBénédicte, who are now grown up. His wife Véronique and him bought their family home, for which the mortgage is now fully repaid. Upon Véronique’s death, the status of Marc and his children changed: Antoine and Bénédicte inherited the bare ownership of their parents’ home, while Marc remains a usufructuary. 

In this situation, Marc is no longer the full owner of his home, but retains permanent enjoyment of it. This means that he can occupy it or rent it out and collect the rent. However, he cannot sell it without his children’s agreement.

The rules have changed for insurance in case of usufruct

The question of property insurance has recently been clarified by lawmakers. As of 1 September 2021, the usufructuary is obliged to insure the property “based on full ownership”, as if the property belonged to him or her. This is similar to the principle according to which the usufructuary has to pay charges arising from the enjoyment of the property. 

In our example, this means that Marc has to take care of the insurance and cover both the usufruct and the bare ownership. 

So, Antoine and Bénédicte, his children, have no say in the level of cover of the property of which they are the bare owners.

In any case, the usufructuary has an interest in his or her property being insured. If the home is destroyed by afire when it is not insured, the benefit of the usufruct is lost de facto.

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