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Insurance - damage settlement in the event of flood damage
Insurance - damage settlement in the event of flood damage

Floods can destroy livelihoods. Floods are an elementary event, such as a storm, and are treated by insurance companies. Here you can find out how you can insure yourself against floods and in which cases the insurance pays.

According to information from the Federal Office of Insurance, household contents insurance can already provide full protection against storms and lightning, provided that a few additional clauses are concluded. The same applies to storms, the consequences of which are only taken into account in normal household insurance from wind force eight - unless otherwise agreed. Insurance companies usually pay for damage to buildings caused by falling trees, but not for the removal of the fallen tree itself.

In addition to storm and lightning strikes, with extended household contents or residential building insurance, the dangers of flooding, earthquakes, subsidence, landslides, snow pressure and avalanches can also be insured, except for mining damage. With elementary damage insurance you are covered in any case.

No unlimited insurance coverage

Insurance companies do not pay unlimited for the consequences of so-called elementary events. As in auto-comprehensive insurance, deductibles are usually agreed in the contract and additional coverage limits are set.

It is also very important in which region the insured person lives. Where, as in the low mountain ranges, it is extremely rare for century rains to swell the local stream into a stream, the premiums for covering flood damage are far lower than in river plains. And those who live in an area where flooding “can be foreseen due to the season and the local conditions” cannot take out insurance against flood damage.

Storm surge and damage are excluded from insurance coverage due to backwater

When in doubt without any insurance cover, the people on the German coasts are the main ones. When a hurricane coincides with a tide, storm surges occur occasionally, which push the water of the North Sea by more than six meters above sea level and wreak havoc in the estuaries of the Elbe, Weser and Ems.

Damage caused by the flooding of floods is also excluded from insurance cover. However, there are exceptions to the rule here too: when, at Pentecost 1997 in Husum, heavy rains caused water to be pushed into the countless cellars from the ground and, because it no longer drained off, caused considerable damage in many houses, the insurance companies moved closer together and set up an emergency victim fund for the cover law borderline: the victims were helped.

Insurance companies want to draw consequences

However, it is becoming apparent that insurers will soon draw consequences from the natural disasters that have been worsening for two decades. Not only are premium increases under discussion, but also the exclusion of certain risks. Insurance companies in northern Germany, for example, are considering removing damage caused by falling trees from the winter cover list for storm damage: Due to global warming, the trees usually no longer freeze in the ground in winter, but fall over at the first hurricane gust because of the loose soil Does not enclose roots sufficiently tightly.


It is important to report the damage to the insurer immediately.

Photo: fotolia / kasto

Document flood damage and other natural hazards

Many, whose belongings have destroyed or damaged the flood, are unsure whether there are now problems with claims settlement. The Saxony-Anhalt Consumer Center and the Association of Public Insurers provide tips on how to get your rights. In any case, it is important to report the damage to the insurer immediately. Flood victims should photograph all damage and document it in writing - preferably with witnesses. The claims reports must be filled out truthfully - ideally together with an insurance agent - so that the insurer cannot refuse to regulate. If possible, the damaged items should be kept.

The right insurance against flooding

It is also important to contact the right insurer to avoid delays in claims settlement. Damage to the residential building can be reported to the residential building insurer if flood damage is included. All those who have continued building insurance from the former GDR state insurance are insured against natural hazards.

If the risk of flooding was also insured as part of household insurance, this damage will also be regulated. Those affected who have continued household insurance from the GDR era are also insured against flooding.

Comprehensive vehicle insurance covers damage to the vehicle that is caused by flooding.

Compensation - in what amount?

The Association of Public Insurers reports that damage to buildings and household goods caused by the flood is generally replaced at replacement value. In the case of the car, total damage at the current value is also insured under the comprehensive insurance.

Save after a flood what can be saved

According to the insurance conditions, the person concerned must strive to minimize consequential damage by taking appropriate preventive measures.

  • The drying of the building fabric should be given the greatest attention from the start. In order to keep consequential damage as low as possible, especially ceilings, walls and floors into which water has penetrated must be professionally dried out. It is helpful to remove coverings such as linoleum, PVC, laminate, but also panels and wet wallpaper from the walls. If the wet rooms cannot be completely cleared, the remaining furniture should be stored as far away as possible from the wall and floor (on pallets / trestles) so that sufficient air circulation facilitates the transport of moisture. Moisture-retaining structures such as carpets, absorbent insulation materials or similar materials should be removed if possible.
  • In the case of minor moisture damage, the excess moisture can be removed by conventional ventilation. Pull-through is the quickest remedy. In cool cellars, the hours of the night should mainly be used. With conventional ventilation, a drying time of several months must be expected.
  • In the event of greater moisture damage, i.e. if the moisture has penetrated to the core of walls, floor structures and insulation layers, professional help for drying the building should be sought. Built-in vapor and moisture barriers can literally trap moisture. To ensure that there is no permanent damage and that there is no mold infestation, it makes sense to use modern drying systems. There are a wide variety of drying methods here - a specialist company decides which technology is used depending on the local conditions. State-of-the-art measurement technology can guarantee seamless documentation of the drying process.

    However, it is also important to obtain various offers here.

    If you trust yourself to dry properly, you don't have to buy a drying device yourself. Good devices can hardly be got under 1, 000 euros. Rather, you should ask rental companies at companies / hardware stores.

  • Only a second look should be taken to the wet household goods. Furniture that is found to be good can be gently dried outdoors if the weather is good, of course after thorough cleaning. It is hardly worth drying out furniture made of chipboard. They swell and are usually unusable.

    Dishes and pots can be reused after thorough cleaning with hot water (boil if possible). Textiles that can be boiled can also be reused after washing. For textiles that do not allow washing at temperatures above 60 ° C, a "rescue" can be attempted by adding disinfectants or by chemical cleaning.

  • Cleaning can be considered for valuable carpets. In the case of poor quality carpeting, the effort is usually not worth it.
  • First aid for motor vehicles: Disconnect the battery and never start the car!

Advice and help for renovation

Although the desire for a quick transition to normality is understandable, the renovation work should only begin after the building fabric has completely dried. Anyone who has signed a home savings contract can use it for all renovation work. In consultation with the landlord, this also applies to tenants. Talk to your advisor at your building society.

The Consumer Advice Center Saxony-Anhalt offers advice and help with the selection of moisture-regulating building materials and paints. The hotline of the consumer advice center is available to those affected from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Short help after a flood

o The Reconstruction Loan has special loan programs.

o The tax office deferred tax liabilities to flood victims.

o A special depreciation applies to the reconstruction (three years, 30 percent).

o Landlords can deduct up to EUR 45, 000 in maintenance costs.

o Discard replacements for household items as an extraordinary burden!

o Flood victims can receive up to 800 euros tax-free from the employer.

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