Flood Damage: What Insurance Pays? | tagesschau.de

Frequently asked questions

Status: 07/15/2021 14:57

Collapsed homes, flooded basements, damaged vehicles: what insurance can help with damage? All important questions about flood protection at a glance.

By Claudia Kornmeier and Alessa Böttcher, ARD Legal Department

What insurance pays for flood damage?

For financial security in case of damage caused by floods and heavy rains, special additional insurance is required, the so-called natural hazard insurance. It can be purchased as an extension of property or home contents insurance, which typically only covers storm and hail damage.

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Tagesschau 15:00, 15.7.2021

Homeowners insurance helps with home damage, so it’s relevant to homeowners. Household goods insurance, on the other hand, covers damage to personal property, i.e. furniture, rugs, or technical equipment, and can also help renters. Important: This elemental damage insurance does not help if groundwater penetrates the masonry from below. The water has to come from above. This can lead to difficulties in providing evidence in individual cases. In case of doubt, an expert should be consulted. Partial and comprehensive insurance can also help in the event of vehicle damage.

How many people have insurance like this?

According to consumer advice centers, only around 45 percent of all private households in Germany are insured against damage caused by floods and high tides. However, there are large regional differences. In the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which is currently severely affected, it is only 35 percent. In neighboring Baden-Württemberg, on the other hand, it is 94 percent. North Rhine-Westphalia is roughly at the national average. The problem here is that homeowners whose homes are in flood risk areas or have already been affected by floods often have difficulty obtaining natural hazard insurance. Or they have to pay a lot for it.

How are commercial and industrial buildings insured?

Insurance contracts are designed more individually. Companies are free to choose which natural hazards they want to insure against. The scope of insurance (buildings, inventories, machines) can also be selected individually.

What do those affected have to watch out for now?

Those affected must now quickly document the damage, for example by photographing or filming it, so that there are no problems with evidence later. Consumer advice centers even advise that you take photos of the cellars regularly for comparison images. Ideally, those affected also inform the insurance company and report the damage on the same day. This can make it easier to process damage later on. It is also important to take a look at your own contract. Insurance conditions can be quite different.

At the same time, you now need to make sure the damage is as low as possible. Those affected have the so-called harm reduction obligation. This means that they have to pump water, for example, as far as possible. Or take household items to a safe place. But even beforehand, you need to make sure that the damage is minimal in case of doubt. For example, do not store things in the basement directly on the ground. Damage caused by backwaters, that is, when water enters the house from the drainage pipes, is also insured only if a “functional backwater protection” was installed, according to consumer advice centers.

Flood Insurance: What Should Affected People Pay Attention To?

Claudia Kornmeier, SWR, 7/15/2021 3:02 PM

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