What should you do if you have no insurance?
Check with your region’s Disaster Fund to see if you may obtain financial assistance. This fund can be used to grant compensation in the event of an exceptional natural phenomenon that has been recognised as a natural disaster by the authorities.
Since 1 July 2014, the Disaster Fund’s competences have been transferred to the regions. We therefore recommend that you contact the relevant Disaster Fund for more information on how the procedure works in practice. The procedures for any intervention are determined by the regions.
You can find the links to the websites of the Disaster Funds below:
What should you do if you have insurance?
What to do in case of a disaster
Ward the most urgent off: prevent and avoid any aggravation
As the insured, you are obliged to take all necessary precautions to prevent any aggravation of the suffered damage.
Failing to do so may result in your insurer reducing the contribution you are entitled to by the amount of this aggravation.
Notify your insurer as soon as possible
Many insurers make declaration of disaster forms available online.
Do not hesitate to ask your insurance intermediary for advice.
While waiting for the expert’s report: keep a supporting file
Do not attempt to repair anything by yourself (except if it is urgently required of to prevent the situation from worsening) and do not throw anything away: the expert must be able to see the damage himself, including irreparably damaged goods.
Take pictures, keep receipts, keep record of any intervention, make an inventory of the damage… The more complete your file is, the better!
What is a flood?
A flood is defined as:
- an overflow of water from rivers, canals, lakes, ponds or seas;
- a water run-off from lack of soil absorption, that can be caused by:
- atmospheric precipitation;
- the melting of snow or ice;
- a dyke breach;
- a tidal wave;
- the resulting landslides and subsidence (article 124, §1, a of the law on insurance of 4 April 2014).
Please note! You might suffer water damage that is not caused by a flood, as per the aforementioned definition (leaks in the pipes, broken washing machine, forgotten bathtub…). As these risks are not considered natural disasters, they are not necessarily covered by home insurance, but are often covered by specific clauses in the insurance contract. Contact your insurance intermediary or read your contract carefully to check exactly what is covered.
Are you entitled to compensation from your fire insurer for flood damage?
Principle : If you have taken out a fire insurance policy for your home (as an owner or tenant), it must cover the risk of natural disasters, including flooding.
The insurer may refuse to cover the risk of flooding of a building, a part of a building or the contents of a building that has been built more than 18 months after the publication of the royal decree classifying the property in a risk area in the Belgian Official Gazette(art. 129 of the law on insurance of the 4 April 2014).
What damages are compensated by your fire insurer in case of a flood?
1° Damage caused directly to the insured goods, i.e. the home and its contents;
2° Damage caused to the insured goods resulting from measures taken to safeguard and protect property and persons;
3° Necessary clearing and demolition costs for the reconstruction or rebuilding of damaged insured property;
4° If the home has become uninhabitable, rehousing costs incurred during the three months following the occurrence of the damage (article 126 on the law on insurance of the 4 April 2014).
Other damages that could be compensated :
Every other damage is not necessarily covered. You should therefore refer to your contract or consult your insurance intermediary to check whether and to what extent garden furniture, annexes, terraces, plantations, etc. are covered.
In case of a flood, a special exclusion may be possible for the contents of cellars that have been stored at less than 10 cm from the ground. This exclusion does not apply to fixed heating, electrical and water facilities, or to premises that have been permanently converted into living quarters or for the exercise of a profession (art. 128 of the law on insurance of the 4 April 2014).
Beware of the deductible
Insurers may indeed apply a specific deductible to the natural disaster cover, so that part of the costs remains at your expense.
The Disaster Fund
If you have not been fully compensated, check with your region’s Disaster Fund to see if you may obtain financial assistance. This fund can be used to grant compensation in the event of an exceptional natural phenomenon that has been recognised as a natural disaster by the authorities.
Since 1 July 2014, the Disaster Fund’s competences have been transferred to the regions, which set their own possible intervention modality.
You can find the links to the websites of the Disaster Funds below:
Has your vehicle been damaged?
- If your vehicle is covered by a comprehensive insurance, your insurer will compensate you.
- If your vehicle is not covered by a comprehensive insurance:
- Check your fire insurance policy. The vehicle may be covered if it is parked in the garage within 1km of your home for example.
- Check with your region’s Disaster Fund to see if you may obtain financial assistance. This fund can be used to grant compensation in the event of an exceptional natural phenomenon that has been recognised as a natural disaster by the authorities. Since 1 July 2014, the Disaster Fund’s competences have been transferred to the regions, which set their own possible intervention modality. Each Disaster Fund sets its own conditions of intervention.
Beware of service offers in the aftermath of a disaster!
People who spontaneously offer their services after a disaster are not mandated by your insurer. They do not know what you insurance covers and may mislead you while still charging you for the service.
Check what you are signing and take time to think about it, especially before signing an agreement for an expert’s report or for a claim settlement!
In this case, consider a reservation. Ask your insurance intermediary for assistance and advice.
Do not hesitate to ask for explanations!
Request your damage certificate
If you are a flood victim, do not hesitate to ask your insurer or insurance intermediary for a damage certificate. This certificate will entitle you to a substantial discount on your purchases in the participating shops.
You may be able to use this certificate to benefit from other services.
Are you looking for a construction company?
The Confederation of Construction has made a list of construction companies ready to help you available on its website.
See also our tips on building, buying or renovating a home.
Are you experiencing difficulties with your insurer?
Do not hesitate to contact your insurance intermediary, the complaints department of your insurer and, if necessary, the Insurance Ombudsman.