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Insurance: How to Protect Your Home and Family Sensibly

7.7.2022
  1. Insurance during the construction phase
  2. Compulsory insurances for your home
  3. Voluntary insurances for your home
  4. Special case of condominium ownership
  5. This is how you proceed in the event of a claim
  6. Disability or death: How to protect your family

Mr and Mrs Swiss like to insure what is dear to them. In our overview, we present all the important insurances for homeowners. Some you have to take out, others are voluntary. Which voluntary insurances you take out depends on your personal need for security and your risk capacity. Not everyone needs the same amount of insurance cover. Just as important as insurance for your home is financial security for your family in case something should happen to you or your partner.

Insurance during the construction phase

Construction sites can be dangerous. If the crane operator drops his load on a neighbour's car or a playing child falls into a construction pit, you as the builder are liable. Therefore, take care of the insurance cover before the construction or conversion work begins:

  • Construction insurance (or construction period insurance) covers damage caused by fire and natural hazards. For example, if the freshly concreted ceiling collapses. The insurance is compulsory and useful in all cantons with a cantonal building insurance.
  • Builder's liability insurance is voluntary and covers personal injury and property damage. For example, if the excavation work causes cracks in a neighbouring house. It also protects you from unfounded claims and supports you in construction disputes.
  • Construction insurance is also voluntary. It covers damage caused by construction accidents, theft or vandalism on the building site. For example, if the excavation pit collapses, sprayers decorate the house façade with graffiti or thieves steal all the kitchen appliances in the night.

Houzy Advice

Good to know

Your architect must explain the benefits of construction insurance to you as the building owner. You can take out the insurance yourself or the architect can take it out on your behalf.

Houzy Hint

Tip

In our article «Bauversicherung: Das Must-have für jedes Bauprojekt» you can read why insurance makes sense, what damage happens most often on construction sites and what is covered.

Compulsory insurances for your home

One insurance is compulsory in all cantons except Geneva, Ticino and Valais, the buildings insurance, all others are voluntary. In the cantons of Obwalden, Schwyz and Uri as well as in the Principality of Liechtenstein, you can take out buildings insurance with any insurance company, in all other cantons only with the cantonal buildings insurance. It covers fire, fire or smoke damage and natural hazards such as landslides, rock falls, hail, floods, avalanches, rain, snow and melt water, snow pressure, snow slides, falling rocks or gale-force winds. It also covers damage caused by burst water pipes or water backing up from the sewage system. As with health insurance, buildings insurance can be extended with supplementary insurance.

Houzy Advice

Good to know

When you buy a house or a flat, you take over the building insurance. In cantons without compulsory cantonal building insurance, you have 30 days after the change of ownership to cancel the contract and take out new insurance.

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Voluntary insurances for your home

How many and which supplementary insurances you need depends on your personal need for security and your risk capacity. These are five important supplementary insurances for your house or flat, from E for earthquake insurance to W for water insurance:

  • Earthquake insurance makes sense if you live in a region at risk and this cover is excluded from your buildings insurance. It covers damage after earthquakes, for example cracks in the masonry, damage to the statics or burst water pipes.
  • Building liability insurance covers personal injury and property damage for which you would be liable as a condominium owner. For example, if the pizza courier slips on the steps. Homeowners do not need building liability insurance because their private liability insurance would cover it.
  • The building services insurance covers damage to building services: heating, kitchen appliances, air conditioning, photovoltaic systems, pool, sauna, tumble dryer or washing machine.
  • Household contents insurance covers theft, natural hazards, fire, glass breakage and water damage. Household contents are everything that would fall out if you turned the house or flat upside down. This includes all furniture and clothes, but also the bicycle in the garage or the skis in the attic.
  • Water insurance covers damage caused by backed-up sewage, groundwater, broken pipes or rainwater that is not covered by buildings insurance. According to Baloise, these are the most frequent claims reported by its customers in the last ten years.

Houzy Hint

Tip

In the article «Gebäudeversicherung: Was ist gedeckt?» find out more about the building insurance and all the supplementary insurances that our partner Baloise has put together for you in a modular system.

Insurances: Photovoltaic system on the roof of a house
Damage to the photovoltaic system is covered by the building services insurance, one of the voluntary insurances for homeowners.

Special case of condominium ownership

Condominium owners need the same insurance cover as homeowners. However, some insurance policies that you take out as a condominium owner only apply to your units. This is why condominium owners' associations must take out joint building insurance and building water insurance. It also makes sense to take out building liability insurance and insurance against burglary, because the insurance policies of the individual co-owners would not cover the damage to the broken door.

Houzy Hint

Tip

In the article «Welche Versicherungen brauchen Stockwerkeigentümer» we go into detail about insurance in condominium ownership.

This is how you proceed in the event of a claim

Because it's urgent when it happens: Report any damage to your insurance company immediately. Do not remove any broken components or objects until an expert has assessed the damage or you have received permission from the insurance company. You must report criminal offences such as graffiti on the wall of your house. Document damage in detail with photos, sketches or videos, which you can submit with purchase receipts or workmen's invoices to the insurance company for claims settlement. This is especially important for damage to household effects. If you need to have damage repaired, wait until the insurance company gives you the green light. Otherwise, without a written agreement, you risk being liable for the costs as the client.

Insurance house: Broken open front door
If thieves break open the front door, the condominium owners' association needs insurance against burglary.

Disability or death: How to protect your family

You can not only insure your home ownership, but also your affordability in the event that something should happen to you or your partner. Without financial protection, affordability is at risk after a stroke of fate. This is especially true if the main breadwinner becomes unavailable. Often an income and a disability pension or a widow's and orphan's pension(s) are not enough to cover all housing costs (mortgage interest, ancillary costs and amortisation). With the capital from the life insurance, which is paid out after a stroke of fate, the family can repay part of their mortgage debt and reduce the financial burden. In this way, they can ensure affordability again and keep their home. This is especially important for the children, who should not be torn from their familiar surroundings in such a difficult situation.

Houzy Hint

Tip

In our article «Lebensversicherung beim Hauskauf: Ja oder nein?» you will find many arguments in favour of life insurance as a risk protection and a concrete calculation example.

Do you want to insure your home, protect your family or have your insurance checked for expensive over- or dangerous under-coverage? Our experts will advise you personally, analyse your financial situation and put together tailor-made insurance cover for you and your family.

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