Who pays for exceptional storm damage?

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One of the major attractions of buying a property in Marbella is the weather. A marvellous microclimate sheltered by the Sierra Blanca mountain range ensures mild winters and 320 sunny days a year.

But occasionally Mother Nature does make herself known in a less benign way, as shown by the storms that heralded the start of November—the worst to hit the Costa del Sol in 20 years. Marbella itself, although subject to ferocious winds and heavy rain, escaped the worst of the damage, although some beachfront areas were subject to localised flooding. Elsewhere though, considerable damage was caused, particularly in seafront areas. This raises the question of what to do in the event of severe storm damage to your property?

Providing cover for natural disasters

Of course, every homeowner should have insurance cover, but in Spain, as elsewhere, ‘acts of God’ are usually excluded from policies. That may make sense to the insurance company, but where can the owner of a seafront villa flooded by the stormy seas, or a home damaged by high gusting winds, turn to for help?

The answer is the Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros. It is a public entity that was set up to deal with claims arising from extraordinary and unpredictable events, including extreme weather. It does not normally cover people who have no insurance policy at all, but it does deal with claims where your insurer specifically does not cover the risk; for example damage to property by sea and river flooding due to extreme heavy rain and storms, or by winds gusting at over 120kph. It is also the body that provides compensation for damage caused by forest fires, as well as by uninsured drivers or unknown vehicles and for ‘exceptional catastrophes’ like earthquakes, seaquakes, meteorite strikes, riots, rebellions or terrorist attacks.

The body also takes on the responsibility of providing cover should your insurance company go insolvent or be unable to pay a valid claim.

Insurance is a must

In order to pay for this cover—which includes loss of earning by businesses—a percentage of all premiums paid to insurance companies is diverted to the Consorcio. In order to make a claim extensive documentation is required. For more information (in English) view the Consorcio’s website here.

It is reassuring for homeowners that this public body exists for the worst case extraordinary risks, but please note, it is not a substitute for your own comprehensive insurance cover. The Consorcio is not there to provide cover for the uninsured or to make up the value if you are underinsured, so be sure you have adequate cover while knowing that there is an additional safety net for worst case scenarios.

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