BERLIN/WIESBADEN/MAINZ (dpa-AFX) - The extent of the damage caused by continuous rain and storms in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate cannot be estimated for at least a few days. The water must first have completely drained away before the damage can even be assessed, the German Insurance Association (GDV) said in Berlin on Tuesday. This will take a few more days and will also depend on how the forecast rainfall develops. R+V Versicherung in Wiesbaden warns against repairing water damage hastily and without specialist knowledge.

According to GDV, 46% of people in Rhineland-Palatinate and 47% in Saarland have taken out insurance against natural hazards such as heavy rain and flooding. The national average is 54 percent insured against all natural hazards. "Many homeowners are not aware of their individual threat from natural hazards."

Storm and hail damage to the house is covered by homeowners' insurance. Damaged household contents are covered by household contents insurance, according to the GDV. In the case of damage caused by heavy rainfall, natural hazard insurance is necessary. Damage to the car is covered by partial accidental damage insurance.

Those affected should first check their insurance policies to see whether they have taken out cover against other natural hazards in their home insurance, advises R+V-Versicherung. The damage should then be reported to the insurance company immediately; most have set up hotlines for this purpose and also provide tips on how the insured should proceed with the clean-up work. Tenants should contact their landlord immediately, advises the GDV. The damage should be documented with photos if possible, and proof of purchase is also helpful./irs/DP/tih