Picture this: you’re lounging on your couch, sipping some meticulously brewed tea, when suddenly, a rogue sausage tumbles off your kitchen counter, knocking over a porcelain figurine of the Brandenburg Gate!!! Don’t fret, mein Freund! Home insurance is your trusty shield against such sausage-induced catastrophes!
Let’s delve deeper and decode the enigma of “Hausratversicherung” (say that five times fast!), uncovering how it shields your cherished belongings from even the most unexpected oompah-band accidents.
Have you ever wondered if your policy covers that wacky collection of vintage beer steins or your prized autographed David Hasselhoff poster?!
Let’s find out…
In Germany, there are three different types of standard home insurance. As follows:
- Home Contents Insurance (Hausratversicherung): Covers moveable possessions such as furniture, clothing, jewellery, and equipment.
- Homeowners Insurance (Wohngebäudeversicherung): Covers fixed property, such as the walls, floors, ceilings, and installed units.
- Homeowners Liability Insurance (Hausrat- und Haftpflichtversicherung): Covers any mishaps in your house that harm third parties or their property.
These insurances are not mandatory in Germany, but certain contracts might call for them. For instance, in leases for equipped properties, contents insurance or building insurance is required. Building plus contents, building plus liability, or all three are examples of combined insurance that you can buy. At a discount, many businesses provide bundled programs.
Home insurance ranks with health insurance and auto insurance as one of the most popular types of protection in the country. In 2020, Germany paid private property insurance premiums of €12.6 billion, according to Insurance Europe’s figures.
Home insurance in Germany is governed by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), just like other types of insurance.
Is it possible to utilise home insurance from another country in Germany?
Since Germany is an EU member, insurers headquartered in other EU/EFTA countries are permitted to market their products there as long as they abide by EU insurance company regulations.
In addition, Germany is home to a large number of other international insurers. You should be able to transfer your policy if you have home insurance from a broker who is authorised to conduct business in Germany.
But you won’t be able to use home insurance coverage from another nation under the same circumstances.
Your new German residence and neighbourhood must be taken into account when recalculating any building insurance or combined policies. If you have an extended insurance plan that covers your possessions while you are away from home, you might be allowed to utilise it in conjunction with a contents policy under the same conditions.
Checking exactly what your policy says regarding this is a smart idea!
Germany-based Home Insurance Providers
There are 202 companies offering various types of home insurance in Germany as of 2020, according to the most recent information from the country’s insurance sector. These consist of Feather and Getsafe mainly.
A few banks in Germany also offer insurance products. Using a comparison tool like FinanceScout24, you may search around for German home insurance and compare rates.
Home Contents Insurance
As the name indicates, this insurance covers the contents of your home, especially the moveable possessions. In Germany, the majority of home contents insurance policies will cover pets, clothing, jewellery, sporting goods, and carpets, in addition to furniture. A more comprehensive all-inclusive policy that covers bicycles, garden equipment, and rental equipment is also available.
Fitted kitchen and bathroom units fall under separate building insurance, whereas contents used for commercial or professional purposes require a specific business insurance policy. A car insurance policy is required for motor vehicles.
Standard plans often provide coverage for theft, vandalism, severe storm damage, water damage from burst pipes, and fire.
If you wish to protect yourself from unintentional damage, harm caused by pets or visitors, or accidents that result in damage to or loss of property taken outside the home, you will typically require supplementary coverage.
Policies do not cover intentional harm or normal wear and tear.
The majority of businesses reimburse customers for the cost of lost or damaged goods, albeit common policies may constrain the maximum reimbursement. Some companies base their maximum payout on the square footage of the property multiplied by a predetermined amount (often between €500 and €600). With extended insurance, you can also cover other expenses like clean-up fees or the cost of replacing locks in the event of a break-in.
Most policies normally stipulate that you must notify your insurer if your absence lasts longer than 60 days.
Home Contents Insurance Costs
Home contents insurance premiums in Germany are influenced by a number of factors, such as:
- Value of your possessions and property
- Your neighbourhood’s security features, such as alarm systems,
- Your individual insurance profile, such as your history of claims
- The degree of protection you are acquiring
Costs for basic contents insurance packages range from €20 to €25 annually. For about €50–€60 per year, you may have coverage of up to €200,000.
Deductibles are available in most insurances. Before the business makes a payment, you agree to pay a specific sum as charges. In some cases, choosing to raise your deductible in favour of a cheaper monthly premium is an option.
Building Insurance in Germany
In Germany, building insurance is frequently referred to as homeowners insurance or residential building insurance. Although it is usually included with contents (and occasionally liabilities) in a house insurance package, several providers sell this as a solo policy.
This insurance covers the building’s exterior structural components, such as the walls, roof, floors, ceilings, garages and sheds. Glass window panes and heating systems are two examples of supplementary coverage typically available for an additional fee.
You must purchase combination insurance that includes contents coverage if you wish to protect any furnishings.
Storm, fire, water leak, and explosion damage are all covered by standard insurance plans. For damage brought on by negligence (such as unrepaired architectural flaws or overloaded electrical plugs), some natural disasters like earthquakes, and terrorist attacks, you typically have to pay more for the policies.
In a severe disaster, you should confirm that your insurance covers the costs of a complete rebuild.
A maximum payment cap may be present in some policies. If you are unsure, get an expert estimate of the costs of reconstructing your home.
Numerous extended policies additionally cover the expense of temporary housing, storage, and clean-up.
Building Insurance Costs in Germany
Building insurance costs in Germany depend on several property variables like the age of the building, its kind, size, condition, materials used and the cost of rebuilding it. The location of the building and the owner’s insurance profile are also considerations for building insurance costs in Germany.
Basic coverage for smaller homes can be purchased for between €120 and €150 per year in premiums. If you live in a larger family home, you would probably be required to pay between €250 and €300 a year. It will be higher for costlier residences in more upscale neighbourhoods.
Home Liability Insurance
In Germany, a lot of people get liability insurance as a precaution. This essentially protects you from liability if you are involved in an incident that injures others, damages their property, or causes them financial harm.
Individual liability insurance comes in two varieties in Germany:
- Private Liability Insurance / Haftpflichtversicherung
- Homeowners’ Liability Insurance / Hausrat-haftpflichtversicherung
Private liability insurance covers occurrences involving you both inside and outside the home, whereas homeowners liability insurance only covers accidents that happen in your home. For instance, if you accidentally cause harm to someone else’s property while within their home.
If you already have a strong liability policy, you might not need to worry about this when purchasing home insurance since private liability insurance typically covers the majority of what you need in terms of occurrences in your home. To ensure you don’t overlook anything, though, be sure you know what is and isn’t covered.
Homeowners liability insurance is a smart option if you purchase property to rent out since it will protect you in the event that tenants are hurt, or their belongings are damaged due to a problem with the property.
Numerous businesses provide extended liability plans that cover accidents brought on by pets, household staff like cleaners, or members of the entire family.
PS: Germany has no cap on how much someone can sue you for!
Personal liability insurance reduces the possibility of an unpleasant incident resulting in significant financial loss.
Home Liability Insurance Costs
The cost of liability insurance in Germany mostly depends on the kind of liability coverage you get, the extent of the policy, and your individual risk profile, including any prior claims. Basic insurance is available for as little as €20 per year. You will pay about €120 a year for comprehensive coverage that protects you against damages up to €100 million.
Comprehensive Home Insurance Packages
Companies frequently provide combination insurance packages for sale, usually at a bit lower cost than purchasing separate policies. These offers may differ between insurance and policies. One company might sell building plus contents, while another might sell contents plus liabilities. Additionally, bumper packages with all three—contents, building, and liability—are available.
In most cases, you can also select the precise level of coverage. For instance, deciding whether or not to cover assets or contents held off-site, or to guard against negligence-related damage, and determining the liability cap.
Depending on the combination you select, costs vary substantially. German home insurance premiums cost an average of €214 as per statistics from 2021.
How to choose your Home Insurance in Germany?
It’s crucial to ask yourself a few questions about the kind of coverage you want before choosing a premium. These ought to consider more than just the premium’s cost. You might want to think about the following:
- Does purchasing a combined policy make more sense? This can be the case if you own your home, but if you rent, the cost of building insurance might be covered by your rent.
- Do you have to cover a deductible?
- What are the coverages and exclusions?
- Has the business received favourable reviews and a solid reputation? (Look for consumer reviews on a few review websites.)
- How do claims work, and how long does it take to receive payment? Will you need to pass through any challenging hoops in order to submit a claim?
- What are the terms and conditions for cancellation?
- Does the business provide rewards for customers, such as discounts on other insurance or financial products?
- How does the business fare when it comes to morality, environmental accountability, and corporate social responsibility (CSR)? On websites like CSR Hub or Standard Ethics, you may check the ratings and performance of individual companies.
Home Insurance Application
You may normally apply for insurance in Germany online or by phone once you’ve decided on your insurance provider. Some insurers also have physical locations on prominent streets where you can submit an application.
If paying by direct debit, you’ll likely need to present identification, proof of address, and bank information. You will often receive the insurance policy and related paperwork electronically within 24 hours of submitting an online application.
While most policies last for a year, others can be set up to last for three to five years. There are many insurers who offer anytime cancellation plans, but some policies only allow early cancellations with a valid justification.
If you don’t provide some firms with at least 30 days’ notice that you want to cancel, they may renew your policy on an automatic basis. For information on renewal and cancellation, check your policy’s specifics.
How to file a claim for home insurance in Germany
The process for filing an insurance claim in Germany varies from insurer to insurer, so be careful to review it when you purchase a policy. Usually, you can file a claim over the phone or online. You must include information on what has been lost or damaged in addition to the claim’s specifics. Because of this, it’s beneficial to save receipts when purchasing pricey items so that you have documentation of their cost.
If you have been burgled, you might need to give specifics from the burglary’s police record. There may be differences in reporting and filing deadlines with your insurer from one firm to the next. Recheck the fine print for details to ensure you don’t lose out.
After you’ve submitted a claim, your insurer will look into it using the data you’ve given them, and they’ll let you know their findings.
Complaining “About” a Home Insurer in Germany
If you are unhappy with how your insurer handles your case, you should initially contact the insurer’s complaints department. When you enrol, your insurance provider should give you the relevant information.
If the result is not satisfactory or the complaints team does not respond, you have two options:
Bring the complaint to BaFin, and they will look into it and make a decision within three months.
Make a complaint to the Insurance Ombudsman by contacting them. The ombudsman is a neutral dispute resolution specialist who frequently has a strong background in law. More details about financial ombudsperson services in Germany are provided by BaFin.
Holiday Home Insurance
In Germany, house insurance policies often do not cover second homes or vacation homes. If you own a vacation home in Germany, you must obtain supplementary coverage for the structure and any belongings inside. In the UK, you can locate specialised brokers for building and contents insurance for vacation homes, like IntaSure.
Rental fees for German vacation homes often include insurance for any mobile property inside the house; however, this does not cover any extra items brought inside for the duration of the trip. See whether you can add trips and overnight stays away from home to your basic home contents insurance coverage.
Now that you know what home insurance covers and why it is required for your time in Germany, you can make an informed decision. You must determine whether you have the financial wherewithal to pay for any prospective harm or expenses.
No insurance is required if you can afford to cover the damage!
But consider purchasing insurance in case the amount needs to be clarified because it may climb suddenly and endanger your capacity to pay your bills.