It has not been as bad as this year for a long time.

There is always damage from heavy rain and floods, but not so many deaths, the numbers are dramatic.

And if you are lucky enough to have remained intact, you still sometimes have to fear for your economic existence, because: Numerous houses have been destroyed - and not every home owner is covered for such cases.

Dyrk Scherff

Editor in the "Money & More" section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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Residential building insurance covers damage to the house, household contents insurance replaces destroyed furnishings, the partial and fully comprehensive policy replaces a broken car at least up to its replacement value.

But while damage from heavy rain and floods is also insured in car insurance, the same does not apply to the other two insurances.

This requires additional coverage for natural hazards.

This also includes damage from earthquakes and avalanches.

The number of insurance policies taken out is increasing every year, but still only around half of those insured have taken out this additional protection for homeowners insurance and less than a third for household insurance.

It's risky.

Avalanches and earthquakes do not occur at all or very rarely in many places, and the risk of flooding is very low on hills and away from rivers and streams.

But the heavy rain is underestimated by many.

It can occur anywhere and - as you can see - it can also cause a lot of damage.

According to evaluations by the insurance association GDV, the number of heavy rain has risen somewhat since 2002 and is around 300 per year.

The German Weather Service assumes that the number will continue to rise.

The damage from 2002 to 2017 totaled 6.7 billion euros.

Heavy rain raged the most in the Ruhr area, in Saxony and Thuringia and parts of Bavaria, while Baden-Württemberg was mostly spared.

The cities at risk are Wuppertal, Freiburg, Chemnitz and Hagen.

Here, the proportion of houses in Zone 3, which is most at risk, is between 12.7 and 13.9 percent, while in Frankfurt, for example, it is only 3 percent and in Munich 3.3 percent.

For each city, the risk can be checked on the Internet at naturgefahren-check.de and hochwasser-check.de.

The numbers come from the GDV.

Heavy rain can destroy existence

However, it is not recommended to do without insurance due to the low probability.

Not every rain obeys the statistics, an event can destroy the house and with it an existence.

After all, some families have invested all of their savings in the property; it is their retirement provision.

Often there are no reserves.

“An insurance against natural hazards, especially as a supplement to residential building insurance, makes sense, as extreme weather conditions increase.

Of course, it is urgently recommended, especially in endangered areas, if necessary with a high deductible, ”advises Claudia Frenz from the Consumer Association of the German Insured (BdV).

"It is very unlikely that you will not get any insurance coverage at all and in specific cases we are not yet aware of it." Providers may also be willing to take out insurance if the owner takes structural protective measures on the house, for example to secure the basement windows.

For example, some tariffs require a backflow flap in the basement.

It prevents water from entering when the sewer system is full.

Costs less than 100 euros

The additional elementary protection costs - depending on the age, the living space and the construction costs of the house - less than 100 euros per year, in risk areas it is more. If the premium is too high for you, you can increase the deductible. If you do not get a natural hazard contract anywhere, you should collect these rejections as evidence of your efforts in order to possibly get the damage reimbursed by a state aid fund - if there is one. The state government of Bavaria decided a few years ago that there would only be state aid for those homeowners who had tried hard and in vain to obtain insurance cover.

The home insurance covers damage to the house, but also, for example, cleaning or demolition costs, loss of rent and the costs for temporary replacement accommodation.

In the event of damage, the owners receive enough money that they can repair the damage and, in the event of a total loss, rebuild the house.

The insurance is usually a sliding new value insurance.

If, for example, the building has to be demolished and rebuilt, the amount will be paid that is needed to rebuild an equivalent building based on today's price level.

The maximum limit for the compensation is the sum insured agreed with the insurer.

For this reason, it is important that the value of the home is accurately determined when the insurance is taken out.

Windows must be closed

However, damage caused by storm surge, groundwater and the ingress of rain and dirt through improperly closed windows, external doors or other openings are excluded. So here the owner shares responsibility in the event of storms. Claudia Frenz from the BdV advises that you ensure that the insurer pays benefits even if an insured event is caused by gross negligence. In a test by Stiftung Warentest, the Max tariffs of the GEV landowners and the Premium tariff of the Rhineland are good residential building insurance with elementary protection.

In order for the insurance to pay, the owners are obliged to keep the damage to a minimum. So temporarily seal destroyed windows, bring household items to the upper floors and take photos of everything. Flooded cellars should only be pumped out when the water level outside sinks. Otherwise cracks will appear in the masonry.

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