Damage caused by flooding: How insured persons should proceed now


Lerato Khumalo

Flooded cellars, damaged household goods: Floods can devastate your own home. This insurance protects you from the financial consequences.

Persistent rain, thawing water and storms led to high water and serious flooding in many regions of Germany in December. When the water eventually recedes, damage to the facades, masonry and inventory of many residential buildings will remain. Property owners can count themselves lucky if they are properly insured.

The Association of Insured Persons (BdV) says that normal household contents and building insurance is not sufficient to cover damage caused by flooding after rain or heavy rain. Natural hazard insurance is needed as a supplement, which often has to be taken out in addition to existing household contents or building insurance. This then protects against damage caused by flooding, snow pressure, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, subsidence and landslides. However, it does not protect against damage caused by groundwater or storm surges.

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Source: t-online

If insured persons have this policy, they should inform their insurer immediately about the storm damage – preferably in writing, advises the BdV. Otherwise, the insurer can reduce or refuse the benefit. However, it can be a good idea to call the insurer’s claims department beforehand to coordinate the next steps.

In any case, the damage to the building and household goods should be documented – photos and videos are particularly suitable for this. In addition, insured parties should create a precise list of the damaged items.

Important to know: Policyholders are subject to a so-called duty to mitigate damage. They must take emergency measures themselves to prevent consequential damage. This includes sealing broken windows and putting household items in the basement to safety so that the damage does not become greater, says the BdV. However, this only applies as long as it is reasonable and the insured does not put themselves in danger.

If damage needs to be repaired before the report is drawn up because the house would otherwise be uninhabitable, insured parties should definitely discuss this with their insurer, recommends the BdV. Documenting the damage repair and keeping the relevant invoices from the tradesmen commissioned are advisable.

Insured persons who take all of these points into account will at least get off relatively lightly financially. However, the BdV points out that many insurance companies require a certain deductible. In practice, this is often ten percent of the damage, but at least 500 and a maximum of 5,000 euros.

However, if the damage to your own home was caused by a backflow from the overwhelmed sewer system and there is no functioning backflow valve on the house, things can look bleak for those insured. In such cases, insurance companies generally do not pay out, according to the BdV.