Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2015:262

Case C‑96/14

Jean-Claude Van Hove


CNP Assurances SA

(Request for a preliminary ruling from the

tribunal de grande instance de Nîmes)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Directive 93/13/EEC — Unfair terms — Insurance contract — Article 4(2) — Assessment of the unfairness of contractual terms — Exclusion of terms relating to the main subject-matter of the contract — Term intended to ensure that mortgage loan repayments are covered — Borrower’s total incapacity for work — Exclusion from cover in the event of recognised fitness to undertake an activity, paid or otherwise)

Summary — Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber), 23 April 2015

Consumer protection — Unfair terms in consumer contracts — Directive 93/13 — Scope — Terms defining the main subject-matter of the contract or concerning the price or the remuneration and the services or goods supplied as consideration — Concept — Term included in an insurance contract, related to a mortgage loan, intended to ensure that loan repayments payable to the lender will be covered in the event of the borrower’s total incapacity for work — Included — Conditions

(Council Directive 93/13, Art. 4(2))

Article 4(2) of Council Directive 93/13 on unfair terms in consumer contracts must be interpreted as meaning that a term of an insurance contract intended to ensure that loan repayments payable to the lender will be covered in the event of the borrower’s total incapacity for work falls within the exception set out in that provision only where the referring court finds:

–        first, that, having regard to the having regard to the nature, general scheme and the stipulations of the contractual framework of which it forms part, and to its legal and factual context, that term lays down an essential component of that contractual framework, and, as such, characterises it, and,

–        secondly, that that term is drafted in plain, intelligible language, that is to say that it is not only grammatically intelligible to the consumer, but also that the contract sets out transparently the specific functioning of the arrangements to which the relevant term refers and the relationship between those arrangements and the arrangements laid down in respect of other contractual terms, so that that consumer is in a position to evaluate, on the basis of precise, intelligible criteria, the economic consequences for him which derive from it.

The fact that the insurance contract forms part of a broader contractual framework and is related to the loan contracts could be also relevant in this context. The consumer cannot be required, when concluding related contracts, to have the same vigilance regarding the extent of the risks covered by that insurance contract as he would if he had concluded that contract and the loan contracts separately.

(see paras 48, 50, operative part)