Zurich Prevention of natural hazards

Protect your property against natural hazards


Switzerland has so many mountains, streams and valleys that it is often a matter of perspective whether a person considers a particular site beautiful or hazardous. 

With the Zurich Radar for Natural Hazards, you can conduct a solid site and property analysis for your real estate. This tool is based on the cantonal hazard maps and hazard index maps as well as the maps issued by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

In addition we provide specific tips on how you can protect your real estate inexpensively and sustainably against natural hazards. Every Swiss franc you invest saves between six and ten Swiss francs in subsequent costs.

Information on natural hazards »

The Zurich natural hazards radar accesses a web service that has been developed exclusively for Zurich in collaboration with GEOTEST AG. GEOTEST AG operates and maintains this service, thereby ensuring that the underlying data is up to date.
This ensures that the consulting expertise of Zurich Insurance Company Ltd and the natural hazards expertise of GEOTEST AG are kept strictly independent of one another, thereby allowing in turn for an independent technical assessment.

Real property

Protecting what you love

Prevention pays off

Buying a piece of real estate is often the decision of a lifetime. We provide you with specific tips on how you can optimally protect your property at a minimal cost. Approaching natural hazards with foresight and awareness does pay off – your whole life long.

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Scenic but dangerous

As scenic as nature is, it can also be remarkably dangerous, especially if people build in hazardous zones or misjudge or underestimate the risk of a natural hazard. Flooding is the natural hazard that causes the greatest damage in the Alpine country of Switzerland. 

We will show you how natural hazards originate and how you can best protect yourself against them. Many hazards can be avoided, for instance, by cleverly selecting a site at a higher elevation against flooding and debris flows or choosing terrain protected against continuous and spontaneous slides, hillslope debris flows, material falls on different scales (involving rocks and boulders, cliffs and entire mountain slopes) or avalanches.

Natural hazard


Most significant natural hazard

Heavy and prolonged precipitation causes bodies of water to overflow their natural banks. Floodwater causes the greatest damage in Switzerland because of the heavy concentration of construction near riverbanks and lakeshores.

Natural hazard

Debris flows

Flowing debris

This mixture of water-laden debris generally flows through a stream bed and can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h. Steep terrain, strong rain and snowmelt promote debris flows.

Natural hazard

Continuous and spontaneous slides


Once set in motion, spontaneous slides in particular are almost impossible to stop. Rain or melting water softens the ground and causes entire slopes to start sliding. 

Natural hazard

Hillslope debris flows

Flowing earth

The mixture of water, earth and debris flows down the slope as a mud avalanche.  A lot of rain, snowmelt and a slope are factors that promote a hillslope debris flow.

Natural hazard

Falling rocks and boulders, rockslides

Rock-hard destructive forces

Falling rocks cause millions of Swiss francs worth of damage in Switzerland. There are usually advance indications of larger scale rockslides involving cliffs and mountainsides.

Natural hazard


The white danger

The steeper the slope, the bigger the danger of avalanches.
The time of day and year, the exposure of the slope, and the structure of the snow pack are all factors that influence the triggering of an avalanche.

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