House insurance after buying a house from previous owner

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I bought a house in February this year. Provinzial, the insurance company of the previous owner, contacted me by letter shortly after I moved in, to which we replied saying we would not be taking over whatever policy was on the house. Unfortunately this was not sent by registered email and Provinzial says they have no record of it.

 

Upon moving in, we signed up for a new policy with another insurance company and life went on.

 

Until a month ago when Provinzial called us (not sure how they got our phone number) to tell us that we owe them money. They claim they never received our letter and that they have been sending us multiple letters since (upon further enquiry during a face to face meeting, they admitted they sent these letters to the previous owner and not to us).

 

Apparently since then, and without letting me know, they have renewed a policy for another year. They also cannot tell me what exactly they renewed because the previous owner had a full insurance package (house, car, life, etc.) so that is not directly applicable to me.

 

Has anyone had this kind of experience when buying a property in Germany? And what my rights might be in this situation? I unfortunately don’t have a legal insurance and while I understand it may not be worth fighting for a relatively small sum, I don't like their their lies (claiming they sent me multiple letters after the first one but later admitting they sent them to the previous owner). 

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I am not a lawyer. However, I cannot believe that a contract can be binding on the basis of property unless it is a land lease. Legal contracts are drawn up between legal entities, moral (companies) and personal (persons). You have never signed anything. You have never asked for anything. Have they provided a policy ? You bet... I would be really interested to see in writing what they base their claims on. Don't pay them anything, as that may well be indicative of you accepting and entering into an agreement with them. They are trying to take advantage of your ignorance, surely.

 

Let me guess, the original letter says that unless they hear to the contrary from you, they will (kindly) insure you. That cannot stand. Thinking about it, I would feel like dropping into the police station and seeing what they say about that kind of practice. Free advice.

 

I hate insurance companies. Crooks.

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https://www.drklein.de/uebernehme-ich-beim-hauskauf-die-wohngebaeude-versicherung-faq.html

 

 

"In the case of a house purchase, the building insurance of the previous owner is transferred automatically to you. However, you have an extraordinary right of termination for one month from the conversion of the land register. You can terminate the contract either without notice or at the end of the insurance year. However, since the insurer is entitled to the full annual contribution, we recommend you to cancel the insurance only at the end of the insurance year. In general, termination may be worthwhile, as many older contracts are overpriced."

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It is a legal requirement that the property is insured during the handover, the Notar will not allow to sign the contract without an insurance.  Then the buyer is required to take over the insurance which he might later on cancel if that what the buyer wants.  The problem is in Germany you have to cancel contracts in written and you didn't do it in that way, so you are now stuck.

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Do you have a copy of the cancellation letter on your hard drive at least? Did you immediately buy insurance from another company or did you say you would stick with the old company through the end of the year? Either of these factors might be accepted as documentation of your intent to discontinue the existing policy, despite their assertions that they never received your letter.

 

I suggest you contact your local Schlichtungsstelle, which will take up the matter with Provinzial and be free of charge for you. Maybe they will let you go once they realize you're serious about leaving.

 

Sorry you have to go through this. Unfortunately, there are many reports of insurance companies "losing" correspondence that is unfavorable to them. That's why it's crucial to send all correspondence with them by return receipt.

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Has the "Grundbuch eintrag" been made?

 

This can often take upto 10 months....   Then you have a month in which to cancel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you all for your replies. I will certainly give the Schlichtungsstell a go. 

 

I was aware of the legal requirement to take the insurance but believed I cancelled it by letter (after receiving their "welcome to your new home"). I signed up for another insurance company around the same time and did not hear from Provinzial again until four months later. Looking back, I certainly should have made more of an effort to confirm the cancellation.

 

What makes things more complicated here (but I know does not take away from my legal obligation to take over the insurance) is that they cannot directly transfer the insurance from the previous owner since they had a full car+house+life package insurance. So for us to take Provinzial's insurance, they have to first make us an entirely new offer.

 

They also renewed the contract in May (again without contacting us). 

 

The Grundbuch eintrag was done very quickly (in NRW).

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Hello,

 

I am also facing the same problem now, I just got a paper saying I need to pay them for house insurance. I have not signed any paper with  Provinzial nor I received any packages.

 

@dessi: Have you sorted this out ?

 

Thanks in advance

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It looks like @dessi has not been active for a while. Are we referring to Hausratversicherung here, or to Wohnungsgebäudeversicherung?

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I am referring to the  Hausratversicherung ... bought a house in DE (NRW) and is happening for me same thing.. they are claiming to have sent me documents that extend my insurance with them and are demanding for me to pay now close to 500 E while I have insurance with Zurich Insurance Group.

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As far as I know, you do not overtake hausratversicherung from a previous owner.  Hausrat is your belongings that you moved with you to your new house and could be really different from the items the former owner had.

 

You do however overtake gebäudeversicherung which is the house itself, roof, walls etc.

 

According to https://www.hdi.de/privatkunden/versicherungen/wohngebaeudeversicherung/gebaeudeversicherung-bei-hausverkauf you could have given one month notice to cancel this insurance at the point that you were entered in the grundbuch as the owner.  If you didn't do that, you automatically enter into a one year contract.

 

Now that you are in the situation that you have two insurances, you need to talk to both of them and try to cancel one.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, letsocyo said:

I am referring to the  Hausratversicherung ... 

 

The home contents insurance (Hausratversicherung) is not a compulsory insurance, the home building insurance (Wohngebäudeversicherung) is, and this is what this thread was about so far. 

 

Please clarify. 

 

 

 

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Hello , thank you very much , indeed they were talking about gebäudeversicherung. I have talked with Zurich , new insurer , and they said they will reimburse my for all my downpaiments in the last 6 months until I settle with Provinzial.

 

Have a nice evening everyone and thanks again

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Hi letsocyo,

 

We argued and argued with Provinzial and eventually they stopped harassing us.

 

To be fully honest, I am not sure why they gave up but I suspect it is because they see themselves that they never sent us any letters. And I am not sure if they have the right to renew the insurance without any contact with you.

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13 minutes ago, dessi said:

To be fully honest, I am not sure why they gave up but I suspect it is because they see themselves that they never sent us any letters. And I am not sure if they have the right to renew the insurance without any contact with you.

 

According to my link I posted above, they are required to continue to insure the house until you cancel.  This is to stop people having gaps in their insurance, say if a house burns down after it was sold and the new owner didn't get insurance yet.  This also means that automatically, you take over the old insurance until you cancel it.  

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3 hours ago, LeonG said:

 

According to my link I posted above, they are required to continue to insure the house until you cancel.  This is to stop people having gaps in their insurance, say if a house burns down after it was sold and the new owner didn't get insurance yet.  This also means that automatically, you take over the old insurance until you cancel it.  

Hah,  knowing insurance companies if the house did burn down they would be the first to claim the policy had been cancelled and since the new owner had no contract they had no liability.

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Just as an add on how it usually works:

We bought a house and sent the info to the insurance. They sent us our policy, transfered with all the bells and whistles the old owners had signed up for. Talked to new insurance and signed contract. New insurance provided cancellation letter for me to sign and forward to old insurance. I didn't send it by registered mail, but I did keep a copy. Old insurance confirmed cancellation in a letter.

 

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11 hours ago, maxie said:

Just as an add on how it usually works:

We bought a house and sent the info to the insurance. They sent us our policy, transfered with all the bells and whistles the old owners had signed up for. Talked to new insurance and signed contract. New insurance provided cancellation letter for me to sign and forward to old insurance. I didn't send it by registered mail, but I did keep a copy. Old insurance confirmed cancellation in a letter.

 

Note that if you cancel once you are entered into the grundbuch, you can cancel with one months notice.  Otherwise, you may be stuck for a year.

 

The way it worked with me, I talked to an insurance broker and he advised me to stick to the former owners insurance because they already knew the house.  However, when I went to sign up with them, they didn't seem to know anything about the house.  In any case, I had to tell them everything.  They are ok though, maybe not the cheapest but when I've had problems, they have no problem paying up.

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Hi, we are having the same issue. We received a hefty bill 1 year after moving into our house from an insurance company. I have now read all about how the transfer happens automatically etc.however,  at no point during the whole purchasing process were we made aware of this. We received nothing from the insurance company informing us we were insured with them. So how is it meant to work? Who is supposed to inform you of this? The seller, real estate broker, notary, mortgage lender, the insurance company? I mean at the very least it is good to know who you are insured with! Even if I had been aware of this practice I would not have known who to contact to cancel. 

 

Thanks 

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