These insurance policies pay out in the event of bad weather

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Construction insurance pays out in the event of a storm

O Homeowners insurance In classic triple protection, it replaces storm damage to the house with thunderstorms and hail. For example, the costs of covered roofs, broken chimneys, or damage to the home caused by fallen trees. Garden sheds or garages on the same property are also insured if stated in the policy.

Important: In the event of damage, the so-called obligation to mitigate damage applies. This means, for example, that homeowners must cover a hole in the roof – to the extent that it is safe to do so – with a tarp to keep out rainwater.

No performance when there is little wind

Insurance money will generally only be available if a storm reaches at least force 8. Customers do not need to assess whether it was actually a force 8. The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court ruled that it is sufficient for a weather station to have measured the intensity of the storms in the area in question (ref. 12 U 251/04).

Additional protection against natural hazards

O Homeowners insurance Classically includes triple protection against damage caused by fire (fire, lightning, explosion), storm and hail, as well as tap water (burst pipes, frost, moisture damage). Certain storm damage, such as flood damage caused by heavy rain, is not included. For this purpose, additional protection against so-called natural hazards or natural hazards must be withdrawn. This is absolutely recommended.

Protection against natural risks includes financial protection against the following natural risks: floods, backwaters, earthquakes, subsidence, landslides, as well as snow pressure, avalanches and volcanic eruptions.

Discover the risk to the house

Around 7.6% of all German addresses are, at least statistically, at risk of flooding. Owners can access the online portal with just a mouse click Flood Check from the General Association of Insurance Companies (GDV), you can find out, free of charge, exactly how much your building is at risk of flooding and other natural hazards.

Flood Zoning System

Insurers calculate the natural risk insurance premium based on the so-called “ZÜRS Geo” zoning system for floods, backwaters and heavy rains (Znation system for youflood, Rdelay and sheavy rain). More than 22 million addresses are entered into the system. Each address is assigned to one of four risk classes:

Hazard class 1: According to current data, it is not affected by flooding from large bodies of water.

Hazard class 2: Floods occur less frequently than once in 100 years, especially in areas that can also be flooded in a so-called “extreme flood”.

Hazard class 3: Floods once every 10 to 100 years.

Hazard class 4: Floods at least once every 10 years.

The higher the risk class, the more expensive the insurance coverage. Around 92 percent of houses are in risk class 1, including large areas in Berlin, Leipzig, Munich or Stuttgart – they can be insured against extreme weather conditions relatively easily. It is more difficult for around 1.5 percent of properties in risk class 3 or 4, such as houses in the old town of Passau on the Danube or in Cologne on the Rhine.

Hazard classes due to heavy rain

In addition, insurers classify residential addresses into three heavy rain risk classes (SGK), which have now been integrated into ZÜRS Geo:

Hazard class 1: All homes that are at the top of a slope or in the upper part of a slope are low risk. This applies to 22.5% of addresses.

Hazard class 2: For buildings located on level or at the bottom/middle of a slope when there is no stream nearby. 65.7 percent of addresses are classified in this class.

Hazard class 3: All buildings located in a valley or near a stream are at high risk. This represents 11.8% of addresses in Germany.

Protect buildings against backflow

Sometimes heavy rains mean hard work for your sewer system. It turns out that the public sewage system no longer drains precipitation. A backflow occurs when water returns to the home through the sewer pipes. The cellar and basement, including inventory, can then be flooded with brown broth. A backflow protection protects the building.

Danger. If there is no backflow protection, insurers generally will not cover flooding caused by backflow. Not every homeowner who has not experienced flooding is aware of the importance of this safety.

Backflow flap. Above you can see how water entered the basement of a building without a backflow valve during a flood; below you can see the effect of the valve; © Stiftung Warentest

Insure Snow Damage

Even if avalanches threaten the home or a roof collapses under snow load, natural hazard insurance is responsible. Normal construction insurance is not enough.

When there is snow pressure on roofs, homeowners must be careful: as soon as a dangerous amount of snow accumulates on the roof and the risk becomes obvious, they will have to clear the roof.

Homeowners must ensure that snow does not slide off the roof in the event of an avalanche. If avalanches or icicles hit cars or people, they will be responsible. One Personal liability insurance is indispensable; compensates even if the damage was caused by gross negligence.

Special case: GDR politics

Some East German homeowners still have an old GDR policy as home construction insurance. This means you are well insured because it also includes flood damage. Today Allianz continues to operate these policies. After reunification, the group took control of the GDR’s state insurance company.

Not everything is insurable

Some natural hazards are almost impossible to insure. For example, damage caused by a storm is often excluded. Damage caused by groundwater is typically only insured if it reaches the surface of the earth and causes flooding. If the cellar walls are damp due to rising groundwater levels, the insurance company will generally not cover the situation.

Speaking of which: Floods are often defined as “land flooding”. Flat roofs, balconies and terraces are not among the insured parts of the building.

Storm damage to shell buildings

Unfinished buildings are particularly at risk from storms. This doesn’t just apply to incomplete walls, scaffolding or beams. Construction site materials can also be blown away during a storm. O Construction insurance covers the costs of storm damage to the shell and construction site. This includes destroyed components or materials, as well as any craftsmanship necessary to restore the pre-storm condition.

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