Storm depression Kirsten in the suit: what does the insurance pay?

25. August 2020, 16:35

For tomorrow, Wednesday, the German Meteorological Service warns of Storm Low Kirsten, which in some regions should reach full hurricane strength, i.e. over 120 kilometers per hour. The strongest wind with strong squalls is expected from the North Sea to the center of the country. Because the trees are still completely leafy and thus offer a large target area, there could be more trees falling over. Which insurance is responsible for which property damage.

Storms mainly affect property insurers’ claims balance sheet, while hail damage dominates motor insurers.

Homeowners Insurance
Residential building insurance, which is common today, covers all storm damage to the building. It also includes fire, tap water and hail damage. Consequential damage is also insured – if, for example, rainwater penetrates the house through a covered roof and damages walls, ceilings or tiles.

The insurance covers the costs of the owner to get the house back in shape after a storm. Legal experts at Arag Versicherung, Düsseldorf, point out that every homeowner needs such insurance. Building insurance for condominiums is usually taken out by the property manager. The amount of the insurance premiums depends on the region in which you live. The Federal Republic of Germany is divided into different danger zones: In areas where there are frequent storms, it is simply more expensive to take out insurance against storm damage.

Household insurance
In addition to standard services such as burglary, fire and tap water damage, it also replaces storm damage to furniture and other furnishings. Here, too, the consequential damage to household items is also insured if the roof was damaged or covered by the storm.

The glass insurance covers the breakage of window and door panes as well as glass roofs – including the costs of any emergency glazing that may be required. Construction insurance is required for buildings that are still under construction.

Comprehensive insurance
The comprehensive insurance covers all direct storm and hail damage to cars. If the vehicle is damaged, for example, by roof tiles flying around, falling branches or fallen trees, partial comprehensive insurance applies. It pays for the necessary repairs or, if necessary, replaces the current value of the car – minus any excess.

According to information from Arag, the partially comprehensive insurance does not cover indirect storm damage! A fully comprehensive insurance is required here. This replaces damage, including to your own vehicle, that was caused by your own fault. B. a careless driver drives into a car that has previously hit a tree that had fallen over by the storm.

Damage from trees
A recurring point of contention are falling trees or kinking branches that damage parked cars. In this context, the Arag experts point out a case in which a man’s car was damaged by a fallen plane tree branch. The repair of the dents in the vehicle roof cost around 1,500 euros. The driver sued the community for damages.

In his opinion, the latter had violated their duty to maintain safety and thereby caused the damage. She would have been obliged to examine the 15-meter-high tree not only – as happened – from the ground, but with the help of a forklift truck for dry branches.

However, the competent court did not share this opinion (OLG Frankfurt, Az .: 1 U 30/07; similar OLG Brandenburg, Az .: 2 U 58/99). It looks different, however, if the tree has not been examined for its condition despite external signs of disease (OLG Nuremberg, Az .: 4 U 1761/95).

The insurance also has to pay if trees break down and cause damage only days later after the storm. Provided, of course, that the twisting was caused by the storm.

In one specific case, a beech tree fell on the neighboring house six days after a hurricane with over eight winds. The home insurance of the injured neighbor settled the damage immediately. But when the owner of the tree informed his building insurance with the request to take over the damage of almost 18,000 euros, the insurer initially refused.

But an expert found that the storm was clearly the cause of the tree toppling. So the building insurance had to take over the damage (OLG Hamm, judgment of 25.09.2017, Az .: 6 U 191/15).

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