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Snowed in – what is paid for by insurance?

We are cut off from our surroundings in our holiday home and can only return home in three days. During this time, our dentistry practice is closed. What is paid out by insurance?

29 January 2018, author: Hansjörg Ryser, Foto: iStock

A wooden cabin is located under a thick layer of snow. In the background, you can see snowy mountains.
This winter, many tourists have had to prolong their holidays against their will. The question arises: what are the costs covered by the insurance?

In many places in the Alps, guests such as you had to extend their holidays involuntarily this winter, because so much snow made their planned return home impossible. If you have taken out assistance insurance as a private customer, the insurance pays you the costs for the extended stay up to a specific amount. If you cannot even begin your holiday, most insurances also reimburse you the cancellation costs and also the additional costs for the delayed journey out of goodwill. Basically, the cancellation is only insured if avalanches or other natural events actually prevent the journey.

If you are flown out by helicopter because the roads are closed and rail transport is cancelled due to the danger of avalanches, these costs are generally also reimbursed by private assistance insurance up to the insured amount. However, it is important that the flights are organised by official centres. You cannot order a helicopter on your own. Whether the interruption to your dentistry practice is insured depends on the specific insurance. Basically, it is not property damage that resulted in the interruption to your business. Therefore, the respective insurance does not compensate for loss of income.

However, some insurance policies, such as Helvetia for example, offer additional coverage if access to your business is no longer possible due to an official rerouting of traffic. The benefit is often only provided, though, following a specific length of time after the loss event occurs.
If you have employees who cannot work because the practice remains closed, then you still have to pay them wages. However, if your employees cannot come to work because they are trapped in a holiday resort, then you do not have to pay them wages for that time. Vacation days can also not be taken, because the reason for the absence is not rest and relaxation. The absence counts as unpaid leave.

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