INSURANCE: Risk of heavy rain

While nature urgently needs rain, rainfall spoils the spirits of many. Massive rainfall can even cause damage: streams overflow, cellars fill. The owners then have to take care of saving their belongings. Financial compensation is only available with proper insurance.

In Germany it has been raining more and more frequently for almost 20 years. It is often in narrowly defined areas that masses of water rain heavily for a few minutes. “Short and heavy precipitation events in particular occur with an equally high probability throughout Germany,” says Katharina Lengfeld of the German Weather Service (DWD).

Rain is underestimated by many

Although heavy rain and flooding can be expected almost everywhere, homeowners underestimate the risk according to the German Insurance Association (GDV). Only six percent are aware of this, according to the industry representative based on a survey. This results in enormous damage: in 2018 it amounted to around 500 million euros.

Most of the time it hits the basement. But “neither normal household content nor residential buildings insurance covers damage caused by floods, sudden storms and heavy rains,” explains Julia Alicia Böhne, from the Association of Insureds. This means that there is no protection for what is normally housed in the basement. Homeowners generally have to replace destroyed items out of their own pockets. This can cost money, especially since it is often not only inventory that is affected, but also the home itself.

risk can be insured

If you don’t want to pay for it yourself, you should consider taking out natural hazard insurance. “These are available as supplements for residential buildings or home insurance,” says Böhne. The policy covers both natural hazards such as heavy rains, floods, snow avalanches and earthquakes, as well as backwaters. This occurs when water enters the building through the sewer system.

Structural measures can help

Private Builders Association (VPB) adviser Marc Ellinger recommends paying attention to protection against bodies of water when building a house. The building must be profiled in such a way that the water escapes from the house, the basement windows must not drain into the basement. Ellinger believes backwater protection is a must. He prevents water from the sewage system from flowing back into the house. Light wells or basement windows should be designed to be water pressure tight in the event of water pressure or seepage water build-up.

Document Maintenance

If water enters, the elemental damage insurance will take effect. A prerequisite, for example, is that the owner operates regularly and has the backflow protection repaired. “Everybody forgets about that,” Ellinger warns from experience. The maintenance must be documented, so it is better to keep the invoice.

Source: Public Oldenburg

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