Axa claims to be picking up the holiday-home market in France by offering UK owners a homes and contents insurance service that is bi-lingual.

Half a million Britons have holiday homes in France alone, many of whom the AA said were disappointed by service from local insurance companies following flood claims.

“However, policy documents are often quite detailed, so you need to understand fully what is covered, which can be a problem if documents are not in English,” said Kerry Richardson, managing director of AA Insurance.

“And sadly, it's usually when a customer needs to make a claim that the detail is properly examined.

“With our policy, our underwriter will send a bi-lingual loss adjuster in order to discuss the claim with the customer.”

AA Holiday Homes Insurance covers properties in the UK and Europe (except Switzerland, Malta and Cyprus). Whereas cover on other schemes is reduced if the holiday home is unoccupied for a number of days, the AA policy provides full cover throughout the year.

In the UK, buildings cover costs 20p for every £1,000 of value and contents 48p per £1,000 of value.

For properties abroad, buildings cover costs 22p per £1,000, and contents 54p per £1,000 value.

Most other holiday home insurance schemes charge the owner the first £100 of any claim. But this applies only to properties in Greece and Italy with the AA policy.

All other homes attract a £25 excess, although customers may choose to take a 10% discount if they opt to pay the first £250 of a claim.

In the event of an emergency in the holiday home, the scheme provides up to £1,000 for the insured and spouse to travel to the home and for temporary accommodation.

Policyholders are also insured for up to 10% of the building sum insured for loss of hiring charges, as well as liability cover of up to £2m at no extra charge.