What is the qualification of the owner within the framework of fire insurance?

What is the owner?

The owner is a person to whom a specific thing belongs. Property is the right to enjoy and dispose of things in the most absolute manner, provided that it is not used prohibited by laws or regulations (cf. 544 of the Civil Code). The main insurance interest of the owner is the maintenance of the thing, such as its building and / or its contents.

Incidentally, an owner may have an interest in preserving his heritage against a liability debt:

extra-contractual (mainly on the basis of articles 1382, 1383, 1384 and 1386 of the Civil Code). This is the subject of the additional “third party recourse” guarantee;
contractual , in particular with regard to the tenant on the basis of article 1721, paragraph 2, of the Civil Code (infra). This is the subject of the additional guarantee “tenant recourse”.

What is the co-owner?

The insurable interest of a co-owner is the same as that of an owner, but for his part in the co-ownership. The insurance to which he subscribes in his name is only valid for his own part in the co-ownership (except in insurance on behalf of which it will belong or on behalf of others).

With regard to apartment buildings, the subscription of a common policy for the whole building is often made compulsory by the basic deed. Such joint insurance is often taken out by a trustee, in the name and on behalf of the general meeting of co-owners.

To remedy individual differences, for example in completion, co-owners can separately and individually take out additional insurance to cover the capital shortfall, preferably with the same insurer in order to avoid possible disputes. Co-owners have an interest in insuring their contents with an insurer other than the one covering the building. This provides the advantage of additional coverage for third party claims.

What is the usufructuary or the bare owner?

The interest of the usufructuary The usufruct confers on its holder the temporary right to the use and enjoyment, in a prudent and reasonable manner, of a property belonging to the bare owner with the obligation to return it. at the end of his right. By his right of use, the usufructuary has a right:

of use (in Latin: “usus”);
with fruits (in Latin: fructus ”, hence the word“ usufructuary ”).
These fruits can be natural and / or civil (such as rents). If the property disappears and he cannot reconstitute it, the usufructuary will no longer be able to exercise his right of use. By his right of enjoyment, the usufructuary therefore has an interest above all in the maintenance of the thing. For this reason, he must insure himself as a (full) owner.

Book 3 – “Property” of the new Civil Code provides for an insurance obligation.

From September 1, 2021, the usufructuary is obliged to insure the property in full ownership for the usual risks, in any case against fire. The usufructuary is required to present to the bare owner, at the first request, proof of the insurance policy.

The usufructuary may also have an interest in preserving his assets against a liability debt:

extra-contractual, also for defect of the thing, since it must preserve the substance of the good;
contractual with regard to:
bare owner. He has the contractual obligation to return the good at the end of the usufruct, given his obligation to preserve the substance of the good;
possible tenant, on the basis of article 1721 C.Civ. 3.3.2 The interest of the bare owner.
The “bare owner” retains the right to dispose of the thing or the property, provided that the rights of the usufructuary are respected. He can therefore alienate the value of the bare ownership, while respecting the rights of the usufructuary.

Its main interest also consists in the conservation of the thing since it will become fully owner of it at the extinction of the right of usufruct. Indirectly, the bare owner may have an interest in protecting his assets against a liability debt. It must in fact normally maintain the structure of the building.