What insurance pays for storm damage?

Brown masses of water run down a staircase at Altensteig in Baden-Württemberg after heavy storms. Photo: Aaron Klewer/Einsatz-Report24/dpa



When heavy rains flood basements, there can be many reasons: rooted gutters, lack of backflow protection, overloaded pipes. The Federal Court of Justice has basically clarified who is responsible for what.

Stuttgart/Karlsruhe: Residential building insurance is one of the most important types of insurance. It applies to damage that can affect and even destroy any building, such as fire, storm, hail or water damage. However, there are a few things to consider when purchasing this insurance so that there are no loopholes.

What is covered?

The risks derived from fires, storms, hail and damage by mains water are insured. “It should be noted that only the residential building itself is insured, but not its contents,” emphasizes Anna Follmann of the Rhineland-Palatinate consumer advice center. “In case of damage, the insurer covers all the costs of repairing the property or its total reconstruction. But not all insurance covers all risks.

Do you need insurance against natural hazards?

This protection against natural hazards is becoming increasingly important. “However, natural risk insurance cannot be purchased individually, but in combination with residential building insurance,” explains Bianca Boss, spokesperson for the Federation of Insured Persons.

“Due to climate change, heavy rains, storms and other natural hazards are increasing and are also affecting areas where residents have largely been spared so far. That is why all homeowners are advised to insure against such damage,” says Annegret Jende, insurance expert at Stiftung Warentest. The higher the risk, the more expensive the insurance company will make you pay for protection.

Who pays for storm damage?

Building, home contents, and comprehensive insurance are responsible for storm damage, but only for force 8 (62 to 74 km/h) winds. If an official storm warning has been issued beforehand and neighboring houses have been damaged, insurance companies are usually proof enough.



Who is responsible for fallen trees?

If a tree falls on a car, the collision damage waiver covers the damage. If it can be shown that the tree was rotten, the owner of the tree or their liability insurance company must pay for the damages. However, the evidence is difficult, especially in the case of storm damage. If a healthy tree falls, this is classified as “force majeure” and the owner is not responsible for the damage.

Snow and avalanche insurance

If the roof of the house collapses under the weight of the snow or an avalanche crushes the house, you will only be financially free if you have purchased natural hazard protection in addition to the building insurance.

What insurance takes care of water damage caused by rain?

The elemental damage policy also applies if continuous rain floods basements and ruins walls and inventory. Building insurance does not cover damage caused by water ingress. The elemental damage policy is offered in addition to home and residential building insurance and also covers other types of damage: flood (except storm surge, backwater only if backwater protection device is in place), earthquake, subsidence, landslide and avalanches.

Building insurance is responsible in the event of a lightning strike

If lightning strikes the house, the building insurance will cover the damage to the building. Damage caused by overvoltage, overcurrent or short circuit is covered by the building insurance and household insurance, provided that the so-called overvoltage clause has been agreed.

Hail: difference between house and car

Hail pieces can cause significant damage to roofs, windows, doors and shutters. The building insurer is responsible for this. If you hit cars, partial comprehensive insurance is responsible.

When does the insurance pay in case of fire?

In the event of fire, household insurance indemnifies all damage to household objects up to the amount of the agreed insured sum. Residential building insurance covers everything that is permanently attached to the house (doors, windows, stairs). As always, the details are in the fine print of the insurance policy.

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