According to the German Weather Service (DWD), Germany is very likely to be faced with an “extreme storm” with thunderstorms, hail and storms. According to meteorologists, the highest warning level (level 4) should be declared in many places.
Those affected should know: According to insurance conditions, a wind force of 8 or more (from 62 kilometers per hour) is considered a storm.
Insured persons should definitely submit proof that this wind force occurred at the insurance location. Corresponding proof can be requested from a weather service in your place of residence. “We therefore recommend documenting all damage to other buildings in the area and contacting other affected building owners in order to make it easier to provide evidence,” explains David Sahlender from the insurance law firm Wittig Ünalp.
For those affected, the more evidence you bring, the better.
Those affected should take videos and photos of the damage. Make a note of exactly when the damage occurred (time and date). Arrange the photos and videos by home, furniture, and car categories. You then forward these files to your responsible insurance company with the damage report.
Ideally, you should do this using your insurance company’s online forms. As the telephone lines of the larger insurers will usually be overloaded after the storm, you should only report claims via the Internet. At the same time, inform your insurance advisor if there is damage. In principle, the insurance company sends a confirmation e-mail after receipt of the damage report. Be sure to keep the message.
Insured persons often have to wait a long time for the sum insured to be paid out, especially when it comes to larger sums. The reason is that insurance companies examine every claim in detail with their own experts.
Much of the storm damage to the home and yard is obvious and visible. But some things are only discovered much later. Those affected should look for damage after the storm in order to avoid long-term consequences. You should pay particular attention to the following points:
Storm damage to property is not automatically covered by homeowners or contents insurance.
Pure building or household contents insurance, for example, does not cover damage caused by the effects of natural forces. This typically includes damage caused by heavy rain, hail, lightning strikes, tornadoes, avalanches or floods. Consumer advice centers told FOCUS Online that only half of all private homes are insured against damage caused by high water and flooding.
If you also want to insure your house or apartment against storms, you also need natural hazard insurance. However, there are conditions. For example, the insurance company wants to know how the damage occurred. This is one of the reasons why those affected should take photos and videos of indoor and outdoor areas.
The natural hazard insurance is not available separately, but only as an addition to an existing household or residential building insurance.
If you have not taken out elementary insurance and the insurance is in the way, the federal and state governments may help. However, there are no such applications. Those affected can also submit invoices for repairs to their tax return for 2022, which will then be taken into account.
Partial comprehensive insurance can cover storm damage to the car, motorbike, mobile home or caravan. This applies in principle to damage for which no third party can be held responsible, according to the Association of Insured Persons (BdV).
This means that vehicles are protected against hurricane gusts, storms, hail, lightning strikes or fire and there is protection in the event of damage, destruction, total write-off or loss of the vehicle and the insured parts.
The replacement cost of the vehicle is comprehensively insured. According to the BdV, different deductibles can be agreed depending on the tariff. If you only have the mandatory motor vehicle liability insurance, you have to pay for the damage out of your own pocket.
If your apartment can only be used to a limited extent or not at all due to the storm damage, you have the right to a rent reduction, explains the Munich Tenants’ Association. This is the case, for example, when windows and doors have been damaged. However, the landlord must be notified of the defect beforehand. It is good if tenants also document the damage.
Depending on the extent, reductions of different amounts are possible: If the rent is uninhabitable, the rent can be reduced by 100 percent. If the damage is less severe, the reduction is also lower.