It is not yet possible to say exactly how extensive the damage is. Firstly, the disaster is not over yet and secondly, it always takes a while before victims have filed a claim with their insurer.
And while the Dutch Association of Insurers can estimate the damage in severe storms with models based on wind speeds and direction, this is not possible in this ‘special situation’, says Richard Weurding, director of the umbrella organisation. “We will have to be patient and wait and see what the total damage will be.”
Home and contents insurance
He has a reassuring message for residents and entrepreneurs in the hard-hit region. Damage to homes and business premises caused by the heavy rainfall, is reimbursed through the home and contents insurance.
“And that applies to both water that comes in through the roof and water that flows in through the front door,” says Weurding. In addition, insurers also check whether “you have looked after your house and your belongings as a good family man.”
There is also a ‘piece of personal responsibility’, according to the foreman of the insurers. “If you have left the windows open or have been very careless, yes, an insurer can of course question that,” he explains.
Car damage often not reimbursed
Less obvious is the compensation of damage to drowned or drifted cars by insurers. They only reimburse damage to victims with all-risk insurance. Anyone who has only insured his car third-party liability or with a limited hull will therefore be responsible for the damage.
There is, however, still a big caveat, namely what the exact cause of the damage is. Damage caused by the flooding of large rivers is often not covered by insurance, according to Weurding.
Floods not covered
And that will also apply to the Roer and Geul rivers in the area for many insurers, which are now overflowing their banks. The risk of these rivers overflowing is not an ‘unforeseen circumstance’ for many insurers, explains a spokesperson for the Association.
And that means that damage caused by the floods will probably not be covered. Anyone who thinks: ‘but those rivers do overflow because of the rainfall’, you will be disappointed. That is only one of the causes, in addition to the enormous amount of water that comes to our country from Belgium and Germany, according to the spokesperson for the Association.
Check your conditions
Because of the risks of flooding in the area, there are supplementary insurance policies that cover this and also damage from ‘local dike breaches’, but not every resident or entrepreneur will have this. “Always check your policy conditions”, advises Weurding.
The above also applies to entrepreneurs, but whether they can claim any consequential damage again depends on their insurance. Damage because they cannot run their business for a while is only covered by a separate so-called business damage insurance, according to Weurding.
Farmers also have to take out separate insurance for damage to crops or livestock. Damage caused by a power failure is again covered by the home insurance, says Weurding.
Holidaymakers are in any case unlucky. Anyone who cancels his or her holiday because of the washed away tent or flooded hotel room will bear the costs. Weather conditions are no reason to cancel with cancellation insurance, according to Amanda Bulthuis van the blog money.nl.
Any damage to luggage or costs because you are forced to stay longer can be claimed from the travel insurance.
There is also another financial life buoy for residents and entrepreneurs, if the insurance does not cover the damage. Suppose the situation is declared a disaster, then the Disaster Compensation Act (Wts) can be deployed. The government can then compensate part of the damage. Mayor Daan Prevoo van Valkenburg has already called for this. “The damage is incalculable.”
There are conditions attached to the use of this law. First, it must be a disaster like ramp this is described in the Security Regions Act. The situation in Limburg easily qualifies for this, given the threatening situation for residents and the deployment of emergency services and the army.
In addition, the damage must be uninsurable and unavoidable. Finally, the damage must also not be recoverable, for example from the government.