Water damage in the property – and now?

Damp patches on walls, floors or ceilings and a musty, damp smell are the first signs of damp in the house. Water damage is then not far away. There can be a wide variety of causes for this and not all of them directly mean high costs and major damage.

Water damage – insurance, cause and your rights

Whether it’s a leaky roof, a clogged drainage system or a faulty water pipe. Moisture is never a good sign, but some damage can be repaired more quickly than others. So as soon as you notice the consequences of possible water damage in your property, it’s time to act, because water and moisture spread faster than you think.

Causes of water damage – roof, drainage or a pipe after all

First of all, it is important to find out where the moisture comes from. And there are a variety of causes for this. Whether a leaking roof or a burst pipe. Depending on the cause, there are various ways to treat the water damage. Consult an expert and get good advice.

Damage to the roof

Often, damaged roof coverings or boggy roofs are the reason for moisture in the house. To prevent water damage caused by roof damage, you should regularly inspect all roof surfaces, whether flat or pitched, for damage. Particularly important places are chimneys, light and ventilation openings but also skylights. After heavy storms or thunderstorms it is worth checking the roof itself. A look out of the skylight or from some distance with binoculars allows you to discover even slipped or missing tiles or damage. A residential buildings insurance policy with storm and hail risk protects you from such damage. This covers the costs of roof repairs and renovations in the house after the penetration of moisture after rain, hail or storm.

Damage to the rain gutter or downpipe

Damage to broken or clogged gutters or downspouts can also result in water damage. During rain or thunderstorms, it is therefore worthwhile to check the rain gutter regularly. Leaks are easy to spot and major damage can be prevented. With rain gutters you should pay particular attention to the fact that they are usually not broken or have a leak, but are simply heavily contaminated with leaves, moss or dirt. The rainwater can then no longer drain off well and a backwater occurs which leads to the water overflowing. This can also cause water damage. Avoid this problem best by good maintenance of your gutters and remove leaves and dirt from them regularly.

Damage to the drainage

A drainage system can cause water damage if the ring drain is missing or blocked and the seepage water can no longer be properly drained. Soaked floors or walls can then be the result. You can prevent this with a moisture measuring device. This quickly checks whether there is water damage or not. You should invest in such a device, because the earlier water damage is detected, the lower the follow-up costs.

Damage to the water pipe

Damage to a water pipe is probably the most common reason for water damage. If you notice damp patches on ceilings or walls, you should check immediately to see if it is a faulty pipe. Check this by not using any water throughout the house. Neither at the tap, the dishwasher or washing machine, nor the toilet flush. If the water meter continues to show consumption, there is a leak in the line somewhere. Notify your homeowner’s insurance company immediately. This will cover the costs in the event of water or heating pipe damage.

Damage to the backwater protection of the sewage pipe

There is a so-called backwater level if construction is carried out below this level and pipes are laid, it must be clarified whether the backwater level is specified in the wastewater statutes. This backwater level is usually the upper edge of the street. In the event of exceptionally high precipitation, it can happen that water then backs up inside the house. In order to prevent this, there is the backwater protection of the sewage pipe which in this case leads the backed up water back into the sewage mains and thus prevents water damage in your house. So, check this fuse regularly, if any, to avoid such damage. These damages are not covered by the homeowners insurance and require the conclusion of a special natural hazards insurance.

Storm damage & rainwater – who is responsible for the damage?

Particularly heavy thunderstorms and rain lead again and again to flooded cellars and water damage. Especially in rented apartments, the question always arises afterwards who will take over the damage if the insurance does not take effect. In some cases, the tenant is in other but also the landlord to remove the damage, which depends in particular on what the damage is due.

If the damage can be attributed to faulty behaviour on the part of the tenant, he must also pay for it. For example, the tenant is obliged to ensure that no water enters the apartment through open windows during longer absences. It is also his duty to keep the balcony drain clean so that no water can enter through the balcony during a heavy thunderstorm. If he does not comply with these obligations and water damage occurs due to the tenant’s negligent behaviour, he must be liable for the damage.

The landlord, on the other hand, must generally pay for water damage caused by rain, storm or tempest and also remove it. Damage to furniture or furnishings caused by water damage must only be borne by the landlord if he is responsible for it. Such a case occurs, for example, if the landlord has not taken care of leaks in insulation, although the tenant has drawn his attention to it.

Insurance – what water damage is covered?

Water damage is not necessarily covered by insurance. It depends on the cause of the water damage whether the insurance will cover it or not. So before you take out an insurance policy, find out what is included. Building, storm and household insurance only cover water damage under certain conditions.

Water damage due to tap water

If the water damage was caused by tap water, for example, by a broken pipe or the like, the building and contents insurance usually takes over the cost of repair without any problems.

Water damage due to sewage

Water damage caused by sewage is only covered in certain cases. In such cases, the building and household insurance will only cover the costs if the water has leaked from a drainage pipe of the water supply. In this case, however, the insurance usually covers the costs without any problems.

Water damage due to a leaking roof or rainwater

Water damage of this kind is not normally covered by buildings insurance. This is because it only applies if the water has leaked from a water supply pipe system and not if it has entered through the roof. In this case, you could fall back on storm insurance if necessary. However, this only protects damage caused by a storm with a minimum wind speed of 60 km/h. In this case, the damage is not covered. In this case, the damage is insured if fixed building components such as roof tiles or well-sealed windows or exterior doors were damaged by the storm. In all other cases, the owner must pay for the damage himself.

Water damage due to flood

Water damage caused by floods must be insured separately and is not included in the building and household insurance. Flooding in this case means the inundation of land and soil caused by water bodies that have overflowed their banks.