Gebäudeversicherung validity issue

22 posts in this topic

There are a few threads on Gebäudeversicherung, but I could not find one with a case like mine - I really doubt there is one. 

We own a flat in a 2-dwelling building. We took over this flat in 2017, so it is not a question of immediately cancelling citing owner change (like mentioned in other threads on this). We simply took over payments of half the annual premium from the previous owner of our flat. 

We would like to change the Gebäudeversicherung provider as we are not happy with the current price and cover. There is no Verwaltung or agency, both flats are currently not rented out and as such are owner-occupied. 

The correspondence for this goes to the other owner and copies are emailed to me. My name has been added to the policy in the name and address section, in fact the letters that come are addressed to both parties, which is already an erroneous way to send a letter as of course the postman can only put them in one mailbox - usually it is put in the mailbox of the other owners - which is itself not an issue as I receive copies and have the policy number and details. 

However, I am wondering about a couple of things, specifically:

 

- Bearing in mind that we didn't sign anything, are we legally obliged to pay 50% of this specific policy and what if anything can the other owners do if we do not pay? 

- Could I send a signed (my signature) cancellation of this policy so that it doesn't automatically renew? Since my name has been put on the policy, can an insurance accept the cancellation from any one of the part-owners, without the other owners of the building being even consulted? 

- By sending a signed cancellation am I myself at least getting out of having to pay anything to this insurance company in the future i.e. even if the other party revokes, with their signatures, my signed cancellation? 

 

It is our intention to take out our own policy as we feel we need to scrap some things and add others. The policy I think remains largely unchanged since the other owners set it up over a decade ago. 

To set up a new insurance I must mention the current policy to the new company. If the other owners revoke our cancellation and we take out our own policy regardless, does somehow one policy invalidate the other, - I mean can a building legally have two lots of the same type of insurance with different companies? Would each insurance company even know about the other cover? Could this create complications for claims, or would no one notice and each owner make their own claim with their own policy? 

 

Any thoughts and knowledge on this would be most appreciated. :)

 

 

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The problem is here, that the Gebäudeversicherung is always for the full building. So you can't partially cancel and then partially set-up something else.

You will need to convince the other owner that there is a better solution out there. If it offers better coverage for same price or a lower price for the same coverage, that should not be too hard. But just by yourself is not possible, I am afraid.

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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We wouldn't be partially cancelling. We would expect the policy to be cancelled entirely if we cancel it with my signature since my name is on the policy also. 

Are you saying it won't be accepted and that we're stuck with it? 

I'm obviously fully aware that in case of disagreement, I would have to pay the entire new policy myself. But the other owners would be in exactly the same position for the policy they want to keep.

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I must admit that I have not come across a situation yet personally where it is just two owner/landlord sharing such building insurance and not several. Hence I am not 100% sure on this. But when applying the normal logic of insurance laws in Germany, you can't cancel the insurance by yourself, neither in parts nor in full. It would require the signatures of all owners of the building that is insured (or, if there is a Hausverwaltung as a designated representative, which you said is not the case here).

That does make sense because if just one would be allowed to cancel, the other insured party might become uninsured without their knowledge. Or be forced into something new that - for whatever reasons - would not like to consent to.

 

Therefore your best course of action is to get one or several quotes for alternative insurances in (and make sure you aren't comparing apples with plums, i.e. that coverage and quality of the insurance match the "old one" for sure) and pass them on to the other landlord. If what you have is better, you guys can decide to switch. With building insurances, it is usually 3 months' notice time before the next renewal (usually not per end of the year but within the year). And more often than not its a 3-year contract anyway. Therefore you'll need to check first at what point you can switch the insurance jointly in the future if you have a truly better comparative offer at hand.

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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There are no landlords (at the moment) and there's no Verwaltung, there are just the owners living in their own flats. In fact there are 3 owners of 2 flats. One flat is owned by my 2 neighbours jointly (but apparently unequally, the woman owns three quarters and the man a quarter), but for some reason only the woman's name is on the policy! The woman added my name to the policy when we arrived - I didn't suggest, endorse or oppose this and just went with continuing the policy that was already running - this was in late 2017. I own our flat, my partner lives in with me. 

 

The policy can be cancelled for the end of this calendar year (it runs from 1st Jan to 31st Dec) and we're not tied in for another number of years as it has already been running for many years. So I need to cancel by 30th Sept apparently. 

 

The neighbours will in no way agree to a change - this they have already said in the past and now we don't speak so there is no chance of any discussion other than through lawyers which neither party wants to get into as it costs too much. This is why we feel we should simply get our own policy, but at least if I cancel the old one - I personally would have no obligation to continue to pay it.

 

The reason I want to change is because certain things are not covered which I want to be covered. The neighbours have no interest in covering these things. 

I've looked into solutions with household/contents insurance - but didn't come across any policy which would cover what we wanted covering. Most said this comes under Gebäudeversicherung - and even then not all of them offer what we need. 

The new policy (I've found a suitable one) would be more expensive than the old one because it covers more things. 

 

I think I'm going to cancel myself out of the old one and see what happens. In the meantime I basically have until the end of the year to decide what to do and set up a new one myself for 1.1.21. 

I'm not particularly worried about the higher cost of the new policy and having to pay it myself, for as I said, if the cancellation is not accepted (which I would personally find very odd) or if the neighbours reverse it and reactivate it - they have to pay the whole thing as well. 

Even if there was a Verwaltung, I doubt this would change anything other than drive up costs.

 

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well, technically the building is an Eigentümergemeinschaft and as such has to have an annual meeting of all owners, where details like insurance, or the lack thereof, will be discussed. During the meeting, if you can get a two-thirds majority vote for your proposed insurance changes, it's a go.

 

"Two thirds" in this aspect refers not to the number of people in the house, but their share of the property, as documented in Grundbuch.

In your example it seems like you own 50% of the building, "the woman" owns 37.5%, and "the man" owns 12.5%.

 

To get to the required 66.67% vote for your plan, you'd have to convince "the woman" - concentrate on her.

 

Your plan of "getting your own" insurance will not fly - unless the building is really divided vertically (as in Doppelhaus where you are the owner of one Doppelhaushälfte), not just horizontally (like the "flats" you are describing).

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Thanks Karin. Yes the division is unfortunately horizontal and diagonal, not vertical. 

 

There is no way we will speaking to the woman, even if she is key to the percentage of ownership thing. She is pure evil and we want nothing whatsoever to do with her. We're in the process of suing the man (her partner) for around €13'000 for deliberate damage to our property. Just waiting for a court date. 

I've had to call the Police over a dozen times. 

He is a violent drunk and from suffers slow-onset dementia as well, which according to her started 20 years ago. Why she puts up with such a life I don't know. Well actually I do know, it's because without his pension she can't make ends meet.

We believe she has also has dementia, but is still at the beginning of the illness. 

We will definitely try to cancel and set up our own policy, - I don't see why we have to put up with this. They are basically deliberately trying to stop us insuring something that they can then damage - and the only way to get the money for the damage is to sue. It's ludicrous. 

I can only try at this stage.

 

 

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oh boy.... :( I feel sorry for you.

Which is why I always tell people: when you invest in real estate, planning to live there personally, you need to check out the other people (especially owners) before you check on the building. Buildings can be renovated, neighbors cannot.

 

At this point, I guess you'll have to dodge the bullet, get a lawyer, and take them to court - or just pay for "double" insurance. Maybe you can offer to pay for their half of the new policy, if they'll let you pick what insurance to get?

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2 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

Which is why I always tell people: when you invest in real estate, planning to live there personally, you need to check out the other people (especially owners) before you check on the building. Buildings can be renovated, neighbors cannot.

We actually did this and there were no signs of problems with the neighbours. Moreover I initially bought the property not knowing if I'd move in or rent it out and live somewhere else nearby. We opted to move in as initially everything seemed to be in order and things went smoothly. It was only after about a year that problems started to crop up and multiply. It's been downhill ever since. 

There were similar issues between them and our predecessors - for 11 years! 

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50 minutes ago, karin_brenig said:

if they'll let you pick what insurance to get

If I take out a policy on my own, they'll not know about it, so they won't have a say. They will realise at some point when the old policy is cancelled that something is going on I guess and may then start something up. Either way it's going to be interesting. I'll have to report back here in time. B)

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23 hours ago, lunaCH said:

If I take out a policy on my own, they'll not know about it, so they won't have a say. They will realise at some point when the old policy is cancelled that something is going on I guess and may then start something up. Either way it's going to be interesting. I'll have to report back here in time. B)

 

As said above: I would be very surprised if the insurance company will accept your cancellation because only the combined/joint owners can do this.

The other idea of yours, to set up your own insurance on the side - which I can fully understand if you find the existing insurance lacking in coverage in important parts, which unfortunately often is the case - would also not hold in case of a damage claim later because you can not have two insurance side by side to cover the same risk. That would be considered "überversichert" in Germany and the newer insurance would then simply step back and tell you that the older insurance is the valid one and needs to settle the claim.

I am not sure if the rather complex German insurance laws allow any loopholes for such a case like yours' . Therefore I would suggest that you either contact the nearest "Verbraucherzentrale" who might be able for relatively small fees to analyze this for you and find a way. Or you hire a "Versicherungsberater", purely fee-based insurance advisors. There are some very experienced ones who have in parts similar rights like "power of attorney" and can assist you and perchance also find ways and means to solve this conundrum you find yourself in.

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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4 hours ago, Starshollow said:

The other idea of yours, to set up your own insurance on the side

would also not hold in case of a damage claim later because you can not have two insurance side by side to cover the same risk. That would be considered "überversichert" in Germany and the newer insurance would then simply step back and tell you that the older insurance is the valid one and needs to settle the claim. 

Thank you for pointing this out. I had a feeling that such a problem might be on the cards, but didn't know if this was the case.

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Update: I have spoken to the Insurer and they said that the termination does not have to be signed by all of the owners, but only by the person(s) whose name(s) is/are on the policy. My name and one other owner's name is on the policy. The third owners name isn't. 

I have requested that the name on the policy be corrected to just my name citing two reasons: 

1. The name of one of the persons whose name is on the policy has dementia, as does a further owner whose lives with this person and whose name has never been on the policy. 

2. The post office obviously can't deliver a letter correctly when two names from two separate households are on the same envelope. :rolleyes:

 

We also discovered that our predecessor's name was never on the policy and it was previously under one name only from 2008 until the end of 2017 when we arrived. And basically my name was added to the policy without my consent or signature. :rolleyes:

 

We are now waiting to see if this requested change is going to be accepted. If it is we may then have a way of cancelling the inadequate policy.

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On 24/09/2020, 13:36:45, lunaCH said:

We are now waiting to see if this requested change is going to be accepted. If it is we may then have a way of cancelling the inadequate policy.

Update: change of name has been accepted. And as the policy is now in my name only, I have sent a cancellation of the policy to them and am awaiting their confirmation. :rolleyes:

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Just a question, luna.. if I may. Why do you think the current policy is inadequate?

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There's a thread somewhere about the trouble they have had with damage to doors and the heating, if I remember rightly, and the buildings insurance wouldn't cover it and neither would the household, so they are left in a somewhat ridiculous mess.

 

Although I am glad for her sake that the insurance allowed a change of name, as a general principle it seems rather awful that the neighbour with whom you are feuding can simply remove you from a policy.

 

Hey ho, hopefully it all works out and in this particular case, the people who need professional help get it, otherwise there will be repeat offences down the line. Now insured against, so that is better I suppose.

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9 hours ago, john g. said:

Just a question, luna.. if I may. Why do you think the current policy is inadequate?

The building insurance refused to pay simply because vandalism isn't covered, so meantime we need a new policy. Their decision came fairly quickly as well, after a few weeks at the most. 

The home insurance (Helvetia) took 6 months to come to a negative decision. That's another policy I have cancelled as well as reporting them to the ombudsman for fraud. :rolleyes:

The story is in the thread which though I know you have read. :)

9 hours ago, kiplette said:

There's a thread somewhere about the trouble they have had with damage to doors and the heating, if I remember rightly, and the buildings insurance wouldn't cover it and neither would the household, so they are left in a somewhat ridiculous mess.

Indeed, it starts on page 2 of this thread: (direct link to page) https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/388025-neighbor-installed-ir-night-hunting-webcam-facing-my-garden-and-property/?page=2

Since neither covered we are suing the neighbour for the damages, a case we started up a long time ago though, months before the insurance decision came.

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9 hours ago, kiplette said:

as a general principle it seems rather awful that the neighbour with whom you are feuding can simply remove you from a policy.

Or indeed add you to a policy. My name was added to it without my consent. 

Only the person who is on the policy can act/make modifications apparently.

So her mistake was to add my name. This is now backfiring on the woman as I was able to act on the policy and remove her name, stating that she is possibly senile and we are part owners of the building and not receiving documentation and that if they didn't sort this out they wouldn't receive payment as we never signed anything with them. :rolleyes:

Further, there is a third owner is an alcoholic and has a form of slow-onset dementia who has never been on the policy - this is the person who causes all of the damage. 

Our predecessor was also never on the policy. So the rules on these things in Germany seem very sloppy indeed. 

The building is still covered as a whole whatever name is on the policy apparently.

 

Of course, I'm fully aware that the neighbour will contest the cancellation when she realises no invoice comes, I guess around the end of November as it has to be paid by the end of December. 

But by that time I will have set up a proper policy. I'm already looking at new ones, with a start date the day after the old one finishes, so there is no double cover even in part. 

At that point they can lump it as we're not paying for their useless policy that doesn't cover damage which they are deliberately causing in the knowledge that we have to pay the damage because neither they or the insurance will pay unless we take legal action which takes yonks.

The entire thing is absurd. :rolleyes:

 

 

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On 18/08/2020, 14:48:49, karin_brenig said:

well, technically the building is an Eigentümergemeinschaft and as such has to have an annual meeting of all owners, where details like insurance, or the lack thereof, will be discussed. During the meeting, if you can get a two-thirds majority vote for your proposed insurance changes, it's a go.

"Two thirds" in this aspect refers not to the number of people in the house, but their share of the property, as documented in Grundbuch.

In your example it seems like you own 50% of the building, "the woman" owns 37.5%, and "the man" owns 12.5%.

To get to the required 66.67% vote for your plan, you'd have to convince "the woman" - concentrate on her.

 

I'm now wondering if the fact that there are two owners of one flat and just one owner of the other is even relevant in the calculation you present. Could the fact that the woman legally owns 3/4 of their flat and the man 1/4 not just be a private matter between them, so irrelevant here and the flat just counted as one unit, so one vote, just like my flat would be one unit so one vote? 

Further, could it be that voting is based on how much of the building is owned by each owner (or rather each unit) in terms of Miteigentumsanteil? :unsure: If it were, then it's likely that neither party owns 66.67% you say is necessary and thus unless everyone agrees - you have a disagreement that through a vote doesn't ever bring about a result. 

On the original deeds of the house it is stated that our neighbours' flat has almost 52% of the MEA and mine a little over 48%.

However that was at the beginning of the 80s.

In the 90s some changes, officially i.e. through a notary were made and our neighbours' flat acquired the attic, logically as it is only accessible from their flat- this would give them more surface area, but it is not classed as living space and in most of it you can't stand up in it - so presumably this heavily reduces the amount it is 'worth' in an MEA calculation.

Our flat acquired a common room which at the same time acquired the status of living space, which would increase our surface area significantly.

The plot thickens.

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On 18/08/2020, 14:48:49, karin_brenig said:

well, technically the building is an Eigentümergemeinschaft and as such has to have an annual meeting of all owners, where details like insurance, or the lack thereof, will be discussed. Your plan of "getting your own" insurance will not fly 

 

On 20/08/2020, 10:01:45, Starshollow said:

As said above: I would be very surprised if the insurance company will accept your cancellation because only the combined/joint owners can do this.

 

The cancellation is currently marked in their system but blocked, but surprisingly not because it is opposed by other owners, but because the bank has a right on the insurance. I'd not heard of this. I asked which bank and they told me a bank in Switzerland! It seems it is the bank of our predecessor's mortgage and their 'right' on the insurance has never been 'deleted'. Seems a bit weird to me as that bank now has nothing to do with this building and in land registry they have been deleted long since.

Is a separate deletion required for the right of say on building insurance? :unsure:

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