Forest is becoming an increasingly popular investment object for private and corporate clients. In times of climate change, energy shortages and resource shortages, many people see great benefits in having their own retreat and wood source. As property is required, forest ownership also involves risks. What forest owners should pay particular attention to, we summarize below.
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Liability claims against forest owners
All owners of land are liable according to BGB for damages that third parties suffer. This can e.g. Be the case if you have not complied with your traffic safety obligations. For example, if a mushroom picker is damaged by a falling branch, you may be liable for personal injury if it is proved that you should have detected the damage to the tree. Although it was in the past again and again to liability alleviation for forest owners. However, enough courts spoke to the victims of damages and compensation.
Even with the utmost care, such damage can never be completely ruled out. Due to its size, a forest always carries the risk of personal injury. It may also come to claims of the environmental protection authorities should you or third parties bring environmentally relevant substances on the forest property into the ground. So you can practically never effectively protect against the fact that unidentified people dispose of used oil in your forest. As a forest owner, you are responsible for the costs involved.
In some cases, insurance against personal injury can be insured against the risks mentioned. There are two requirements for this:
- The tariff provides for co-insurance of undeveloped land. Your forest has a maximum size that is covered by the non-contributory insurance (often 10.000 square meters).
- Your insurer recognizes forests as “undeveloped land”. In our experience, this is regularly the case, but in individual cases should be clarified with the insurer as a precautionary measure.
Risk forest fire
For a long time we only knew forest fires in Germany from the television. Often the forests of North America, southern Europe or in exotic countries were affected. Here, illegal slash and burn is at least as important as natural fires due to heat and drought.
The current heat wave in Germany in the summer of 2018, however, shows that the risk of forest fires is also real in Germany. The forest owners in the region of Potsdam had to experience this painfully, they lost but partly large parts of their forests. The press also deals intensively with the topic.
Considering that one hectare of forest can easily have a wood value of 50,000 to 100,000 euros, depending on the species of tree, the damage caused by the margins of a small forest of e.g. Imagine 5 hectares.
Since fires can threaten the existence of forest owners, you have the opportunity to insure yourself against this risk. A forest fire insurance is offered by a few insurers. It is available to individual forest owners as well as to forestry associations. As a rule, the forest value is insured according to recognized calculation methods of the forest value calculation.
Devastation of forest by storm
Not only fire, but also storms can affect your forest. The storm depressions Friederike, Xavier, Kyrill and many others have not only hit homeowners hard in recent years. Through many forests, too, cutting was wreaking havoc.
The economic loss consists of two components. On the one hand is the loss of wood value. The wood must be sold at a possibly unfavorable time, which results in low yields. In addition, tidying and replanting require considerable effort.
As a rule, the insurance covers a lump sum per hectare of forest, which is paid out after a storm event.
Advice on forest insurance
Not every forest owner necessarily needs a forest insurance. Depending on the size, tree species and use of the forest, it may be sufficient to have insurance coverage over the existing private insurance. However, it may also be economical for owners of smaller forests to hedge their forest through a forest insurance. This can be discussed as part of a consultation.
You are a forest owner and you want to protect yourself and your forest? Please feel free to contact us.
©picture: Ayrat A./ Fotolia