Hurricane in Berlin and Brandenburg: What Storm Damage Insurance Pays

Hurricane in Berlin and Brandenburg

What insurance pays for storm damage


Storm damage in Berlin (Source: dpa/Thomas Bartilla)
Audio: Radioeins | 02/18/2022 | Herman Joseph Tenhagen | Image: dpa / Tomas Bartilla

The low storm “Ylenia” has ended, but “Zeynep” is imminent. That means: What is still intact could now still break. But who pays in case of damage? And what insurance covers what? A general vision.

Meanwhile, the hurricane “Ylenia” has subsided, but there is not much calm before the storm, because the hurricane “Zeynep” is already approaching.

Images of extensive damage to houses and vehicles are still omnipresent. And: New hurricane force gusts of up to 120 km/h will certainly cause new damage from falling bricks and trees.

Comprehensive insurance for damage to the vehicle

Damage to the vehicle is covered by full and partial comprehensive insurance. However, the owner is responsible for any damage up to the chosen amount of the deductible. The insurance company pays for anything beyond that. With the all-risk insurance, only damage from force eight winds is covered. The comprehensive insurance also applies when the wind is weaker.

If the car is damaged by flying objects, comprehensive insurance will usually pay for it. However, it also depends on who owned the spinning object and whether the damage could have been prevented. “Normally, partial or full insurance pays and then recovers it from the ‘culprit’,” explains Finanztip expert Hermann-Josef Tenhagen at rbb.

drop tiles

If shingles come off a house and land on a car, then the first point of contact would be the property owner. But you only pay if you have not fulfilled your so-called road safety obligation. That would be the case if the roof structure was already in poor condition and the shingles were coming off because of it. If not, the all-risk insurance comes into force.

By the way: isn’t it particularly unwise to park your car under a tree when there’s a storm warning? In certain districts of Berlin, however, it is not so easy not to park under the trees. Tenhagen says: You shouldn’t expose your car to particular dangers. “But really a tree shouldn’t fall either.”

If comprehensive insurance kicks in, you don’t have to worry about being downgraded in the no-claims class. This normally does not happen. Y: If you cause an accident due to a storm, only the comprehensive insurance applies.

Wind force eight is the decisive mark

The following principle applies to apartment buildings and furnishings: If the roofs are covered or the chimneys are bent, the residential buildings insurance comes into effect. But the same applies here: only from the wind force eight. And only if so indicated in the policy. If this is the case, outbuildings such as a summer house or a garage on the same property are also insured. If the damage was caused by a fallen, diseased tree, the tree owner’s landowner’s liability insurance should pay.

In addition to damage to the house, the insurance also pays for cleaning work. However, not all insurance companies cover the costs of transporting them, for example, for fallen trees.

If household furnishings are damaged, household goods insurance will pay. But beware, the circumstances are decisive: if the windows or doors were open or the balcony furniture was not insured and this caused damage, the insurance will not take effect due to negligence.

Construction sites are particularly at risk

If a falling brick injures a bystander, liability insurance is liable. The same applies if the awning goes flying and hits and injures someone.

Construction sites are considered particularly vulnerable to damage during storms. This is what is known as construction insurance. This not only ensures that building materials are repaired or replaced, but also ensures that they are restored to pre-storm condition.

Train ticket refunds

If you have booked a Flexticket with Deutsche Bahn, it is relatively easy to return the ticket for a full refund. And there are also options for tickets with a train connection. Deutsche Bahn usually accommodates itself here: there are no train connections, the tickets remain valid for longer.

However, it should also be mentioned at this point that railway companies must at least partially refund fares in the event of cancellations or delays, even in cases of force majeure, and storms are one of them. This means that all clauses excluding a force majeure refund in the Conditions of Carriage are void. However, this does not apply to long-haul flights or long-haul buses.

What to do in case of damage?

If the car is damaged or the tree in the front yard has snapped, there are some tips on how to proceed:

1. Damage must be reported as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to risk insurance coverage.

2. Do not throw away damaged items and do not repair anything before the insurer has settled the claim. At the same time, however, the obligation to mitigate damage also applies. This means that if there is a hole in the roof and it rains, the owner must ensure that consequential damage does not occur. Invoices for temporary repairs should be kept.

3. Damage should be extensively photographed before cleanup begins. So that you have sufficient evidence ready in the dialogue with the insurance companies. If there is more than one damage, the following applies: create a list of damages.

4. Review what benefits individual insurance implies and, if necessary, improve them and include storm risks, for example.

Broadcast: Radioeins, February 18, 2022, 7:20 am


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