Flood insurance can be dispensed with

Insurance cover for natural hazards

Natural damage is understood as the damage caused by the action of nature. For example, damage caused by hail, storms (from wind force 8), floods, earthquakes, subsidence, snow pressure or even volcanic eruptions are considered natural hazards. Depending on the type of damage, one or the other insurance will take effect: Storm damage, hail damage and damage after a lightning strike are covered by building insurance and household contents insurance. For other damage caused by the effects of nature, such as flooding, backwater, earthquakes or snow pressure, what is known as natural hazard insurance is usually required. It is taken out in combination with a building and household contents insurance or by extending these contracts. As a rule, individual hazards cannot be selected or deselected.

What is (not) covered by the natural hazard insurance?

  • A flooding occurs when a body of water overflows or when the property is flooded by rain. If groundwater comes to the surface and then into the house, insurance cover is also provided for this. The insurance does not cover damage caused by a storm surge or damage caused by groundwater if it does not reach the surface. If groundwater penetrates the basement masonry from below because it has risen significantly, this is not an insured loss. In practice, there is often the problem of proving the way in which damage was caused by groundwater.
  • A Backwater occurs when water from the building's drainage pipes enters the house through rain or flooding. Attention: The insurance does not cover damage caused by backflow if there was no functional backflow protection!
  • Insurance coverage for Earthquake, subsidence or landslide exists only if the event is natural. Damage caused by human influence is not insured. This applies, for example, to damage caused by coal mining or construction activities.
  • A damage by Snow pressure For example, if the roof collapses from the weight of the snow. If snow or ice masses fall on mountain slopes, it is an avalanche. However, there is no insurance cover if the snow comes down from trees.

Insurer decides on protection

Whether or not an insurer accepts the application for natural hazards insurance as additional insurance cover to building and / or household contents insurance, it decides on the basis of the claims history over the last few years or decades. Many insurers assess the insurability of individual buildings according to hazard classes, which are broken down according to the statistical frequency of floods.

To this end, a distinction is made between certain risk regions (so-called ZÜRS zones): In the first and at the same time cheapest risk class, insurers assume that floods occur less than every 200 years. In class 4, insurers calculate with a flood within ten years. Owners of a house that is in hazard class 4 only have a chance of elementary protection if they pay extremely high insurance premiums for it. Four hazard classes can be found in Zürs:

  • Class 4 (high risk): statistically once every 10 years a flood
  • Class 3 (medium risk): statistically once every 10-100 years a flood
  • Class 2 (low risk): statistically once every 100-200 years a flood or buildings that are protected by higher dykes
  • Class 1 (very low risk): statistically less than once every 200 years a flood

It is also taken into account whether there is a stream in the immediate vicinity of the building. According to the GDV, 1.7 percent of the buildings are in the two high-risk zones.

And even if the house is not in a flood risk area, the insurer can refuse insurance cover if water has run into the basement several times during heavy rain. The final decision as to how far and under what conditions insurance cover is to be obtained therefore always rests with the insurer.

Policyholder Obligations

In the case of natural hazards insurance in combination with residential buildings or household contents insurance, the policyholder has to install non-return valves in rooms at risk of flooding and ensure that they work. In combination with the residential building insurance, it is compulsory to keep the drainage pipes on the property clear. And if the household contents insurance was combined with the natural hazard insurance, things in the basement area usually have to be stored at least 12 cm above the floor. If policyholders breach one of these obligations, the insurer may not have to pay or only partially pay. In principle, the company can terminate such a contract properly on the next main due date or extraordinarily (for example after a loss).

Home and apartment building insurance will not pay for damage if it was just raining in. That is why windows and doors must always be closed during storms. But precautionary measures are also called for around the house and cellar: If water can penetrate into the house through cracks, for example, problems with insurance cover are programmed if they take care of "land under" during storms. Waterproof sealing of cellars or the installation of rainproof cellar windows are also suitable measures to protect against flooding in cellars and the like.

Natural hazard insurance - yes or no?

On the Homeowners Insurance no property owner should do without. Since the storm damage has increased in recent years, the additional protection of a natural hazard insurance can be useful in combination with this. The conclusion of a Household insurance makes sense if the loss of large parts of the household effects (e.g. due to a fire) cannot be financially supported. Whether the combination with insurance against natural hazards makes sense at all depends on the individual case. Tenants and homeowners can often save themselves this additional protection, at least if they do not store valuable items in the basement but on the upper floors.

In the former GDR, the so-called "Household insuranceThese contracts already contain elementary damage protection. After reunification, these were continued by Allianz, but in many cases also terminated by the insurer. If such a contract exists in its original form, elementary damage insurance is often not required.

Instead of building insurance in combination with natural hazard insurance, a photovoltaic system can also have a special Photovoltaic insurance be insured. This is what is known as all-risk insurance, i.e. only the risks that are expressly excluded are not covered.

For Building shell Residential building and natural hazards insurances do not yet offer protection in the event of storm damage. During the construction phase, the construction services insurance takes over - but only for damage after unforeseen, unusual weather conditions that deviate significantly from the normal value. Payment is then made, for example, for damage caused by rainfall that has not occurred in the past 20 years.