Contents and personal liability

Storms – how to navigate the claims process with ease

If a storm leaves damage in its wake, your contents insurance can help. Source: iStock / AndreyPopov

Heavy storms and squalls – not a rare phenomenon in Switzerland. Storms can cause millions of francs’ worth of damage. After dealing with material damage, individuals may also find themselves in financial difficulty. Comparis lists the key points to bear in mind to ensure your claim is processed smoothly.

Whether due to lightning, hail or flooding – the consequences of storm damage can place homeowners and tenants alike in significant financial difficulty. Insurance can help to mitigate the impact. The best way to proceed is as follows:

1. Make your claim

Most insurers provide an online form for claims notifications. The advantage of this is that you can upload documents such as damage lists, photos and receipts directly. However, it usually takes longer for insurance companies to respond to claims submitted online than it does by telephone.

Online claims forms and helplines of the various insurance companies:

2. Clarify any outstanding issues

Many insurance companies have an extensive network of professional service partners who can repair storm damage. Home contents insurance also normally covers the costs of such services. When your home has suffered severe damage, you are entitled to receive assistance from the insurance company. If you contents insurer does not offer to help automatically, you can simply ask them. Professional services include:

  • Clean-up and restoration (often helpful for recording damaged items)
  • Drainage
  • Structural drying
  • Carpentry services
  • Electricians
  • Odour neutralization
  • Waste disposal

3. Document the damage

To ensure claims are paid as quickly and accurately as possible, make a list of damaged items specifying the purchase date, brand and price. Take photos of the damaged items.

IMPORTANT: When submitting the list of damaged items, you should also include your bank details so that the funds can be transferred.

4. Arrange the clean-up work with the insurer

For major claims, most insurance companies send out a claims inspector. The damage can then be recorded and the cost estimated more accurately on site. You can give your receipts and list of damaged items to the inspector. Keep a copy for yourself.

IMPORTANT: If it takes a few days for the damage to be inspected, ask the insurance company if you can start cleaning up beforehand. 

5. Stand your ground

Some insurance companies will cover the cost of overnight stays in hotels if necessary. Others will pay for psychological support. However, if you are still unhappy with the way your claim has been handled overall, it is best to bring this up with the insurance company directly.

6. Consider switching insurer

After the claim has been paid, you have the option of switching to a different contents insurer – just cancel your policy within 14 days of receiving notification of the claims payment. When choosing a suitable insurer, it is important to consider service quality along with potential cost savings. Service quality does not always become apparent until you have to make a claim.

Examples of insured storm damage

(minus the deductible stated in the policy)

  • Gales over 75 km/h: bent bicycle frame due to fallen trees
  • Hail: cracked glass tables on balconies
  • Flooding: flooded cellar
  • Rockfall: broken windows and glass doors
  • Landslides: forecourts covered in mud
  • Groundwater: seepage into interior rooms
  • Lightning: damaged electrical items