Home insurance in Germany, although not mandatory, is an important insurance policy if you want to be on the safe side when it comes to enormous bills. Although it is often not placed among top priority insurance policies, as is the case with medical insurance, which is mandatory for all persons residing in Germany, home insurance can be a necessary asset for peace of mind, especially if you want to keep your home possessions (contents) safe.
Many people are skeptical about this type of insurance, so, in the following sections you will be able to find everything you need to know about home insurance in Germany, from A to Z.
What is Home Insurance?
Home insurance in Germany is also known as home contents insurance (and often mistaken with homeowners insurance, but we will get to that later). A clear definition of home insurance is an insurance policy that protects (read: insures) the belongings and possessions within your house/apartment in case of any unexpected emergency. Such items could be your furniture, kitchen utensils, electronics such as your laptop or TV, or any other gadgets inside of your home. It is basically things that are important to you and you choose to insure. Might seem tedious, but it can be perfect for your finances. You’ll find out why, just keep reading.
What Is Covered by Home Insurance in Germany?
In general terms, anything inside of your apartment is eligible for compensation, but the questions that should be answered are what could those home contents be and in what circumstances would they be covered. You will basically be covered (financially) in case any of your movable objects within your home get damaged or lost.
Home contents insurance covers your belongings in case of:
- Theft, burglary, or vandalism.
- Damage by water (burst pipes).
- Natural causes (storms/hail, lightning).
- Fire (accidental causes).
Home contents that are covered by home insurance policies in Germany include:
- Clothing, shoes, and sports equipment.
- Electronics (computers, TV, refrigerators, coffee machine, etc)
- Furniture (kitchen, carpets, etc).
Some other costs generally covered by home insurance in Germany include:
- Cleanup: Costs associated with cleanup, removal, or disposal of insured items.
- Movement: Costs associated with the movement and protection of items when the property is being restored.
- Transport: Costs associated with the transport of insured items when the house/apartment is uninhabitable.
- Lock change: Costs associated with a change of lock in case of a break-in.
- Hotel stays: Costs associated with theft in a hotel room/elsewhere outside of your home.
Keep in mind that different home insurance policies cover different things, and the above mentioned services may or may not be eligible for compensation, depending on the insurance company. This is why it is essential to shop around for the best policy and make sure to read the fine print on the insurance contract.
What Is Not Covered by Home Insurance in Germany?
Although so much of your household contents are insured through home insurance in Germany, there are some things that either need their own insurance policy or are simply not eligible for compensation. Sometimes, even furniture (which is typically insured) lost or damaged due to certain circumstances is not eligible for compensation. Learn more below.
Some items that are typically not covered by household insurance in Germany include:
- Vehicles (cars or bicycles). For car insurance, read this article.
- Rental equipment, business equipment, or equipment not owned by you (the policyholder).
- Fixtures, installed parts, walls, or other fittings (you need a homeowners policy for this coverage).
Your home contents will not be eligible for compensation in the following circumstances:
- Stolen items due to negligence (unlocked doors).
- Damaged items caused by pets, rain, or snow.
Types of German Home Insurance
Home insurance policies, or household contents insurance in Germany, may come in different forms and different coverage levels depending on how much you are willing to pay and the home insurance company you choose to insure your household items with. Generally, home insurance in Germany can be divided into two main types. See below.
Types of home insurance in Germany are:
Home Contents Insurance
Home contents insurance in Germany (Hausratversicherung) is basically the insurance we have been describing in the above sections. This type of insurance policy basically protects you from enormous bills related to losses or damages of your household items, including electronics and jewelry. However, this type of home insurance is only related to movable objects within the household and does not cover the costs of damages caused to fixtures/installed items.
This is also an extremely important home insurance policy in Germany for anyone who owns a house or an apartment in the country. In German, Wohngebäudeversicherung, this insurance basically covers the costs of repairs and reconstruction in the case that your house is damaged by either storms, fire, or tap water. Homeowners insurance protects the home, for example, if there is damage to fixtures such as walls, the roof, or the foundation.
Some homeowners insurance policies cover the cost of damages to other certain fixtures as well, such as bathtubs or heating systems. Almost all home property owners in Germany have this type of insurance. Keep in mind that this is not an obligatory insurance policy for homeowners, however, it is largely recommended. If you are renting a property, the responsibility of obtaining this type of insurance policy falls on the landlord and not you.
Homeowners and Contents Insurance
A combination of both homeowners and contents insurance is typically more affordable than obtaining two separate home insurance policies. Many people decide to buy this combination, considering that the homeowners insurance policy will cover the fixtures and fittings while the home contents policy will cover individual possessions or belongings within the home. If you are renting, and bringing your own furniture, you will only be responsible for the home contents insurance policy.
Cost of Home Insurance in Germany
The cost of home insurance in Germany, just like all other types of insurances, depends on the level of coverage you are purchasing. For example, basic home contents insurance policies start at approximately €20 per year, while if you pay more, let’s say €50-60 a year, you will be eligible for coverage of up to €200,000. However, some home insurance policies include deductibles (a set amount you pay before the company compensates), which means if you increase your deductible, you can pay a lower monthly premium.
In general, the cost of home contents insurance in Germany depends on the following factors:
- The total value of the property/possessions.
- The level of coverage you obtain.
- The location of your home.
In terms of compensation…
Home insurance companies usually pay the sum based on the value of damaged items. Usually, they use an equation which multiples the total square meter size of the property and approximately €500-600 per square meter (property in square meters x €500-600) which equals the maximum amount that can be paid out.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
How to Apply for German Home Insurance?
To apply for German home insurance you should first choose your insurance provider and the policy you wish to obtain. The application process is quite simple and many companies also have the option of applying for insurance online (and in English), in addition to applying in-person. You will be asked to provide documents like your ID, bank details, and proof of address, as well as answer a series of questions related to your house/apartment.
The duration of a single policy can last from 12 months to 5 years and often you will need a really good reason to change your policy, meaning terminate your contract early. However, you will also be able to find insurance companies that offer the possibility of cancelling your policy anytime. Make sure to check the details of your home insurance policy and read the contract to see when/how cancellation or renewal happens.
How to Cancel Home Insurance Policy?
If you want to cancel your home insurance policy in Germany, the cancellation is usually done in writing, either by email or through a letter. Many insurance companies will ask you to provide a strong reason for terminating the contract (moving, selling the house/apartment, etc). However, depending on the insurance company, you might have no problem cancelling your contract, considering some companies offer anytime cancellation.
How to Make a German Home Insurance Claim?
In Germany, it is possible to make a home insurance claim online or through the phone. You will need to provide exact details on the claim and include the information on what has been damaged or lost. In case of a burglary, you will also be asked to provide the police reports in the claim. Make sure to keep the receipt of valuable items you purchase. After you file the claim, and the company investigates it, your insurance company will inform you of their decision. If you do not like the insurance outcome, you have the option of filing a complaint.
What is Liability Home Insurance in Germany?
You might have heard the term liability insurance in Germany, but it is not related to home insurance. Liability insurance (haftpflichtversicherung) is another essential insurance, which can prove to be quite beneficial to insured persons. Basically, this type of insurance covers you if you have done damage to another person, their belongings, or possessions. This basically includes personal injury, wealth damage, or property damage done to another person. In case for example, you’re a guest at someone else’s house and break one of their valuables – liability insurance makes sure to compensate that cost without you having to worry about paying for it.
Liability insurance is a great type of insurance and a majority of German residents have it. However, it differs from home contents insurance in terms that home insurance insures your belongings, while liability insurance covers damage done to other people’s belongings, by you.
(There’s a whole article on liability insurance in Germany and you can find it here).
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