Protect your house. How to ensure you're well covered.
When you buy or build your dream home, you want to protect it. There are various ways of insuring a house. Find out which types of home insurance are required and what other types of insurance might be sensible.
Buildings insurance is mandatory in many places
It's a terrible shock to have a fire in your house or find your apartment underwater after a storm. There is financial loss in addition to the emotional strain. Repair work and new purchases can be incredibly expensive. It is therefore important that homeowners be well insured against these types of losses.
Buildings insurance is mandatory in most cantons. Only in the cantons of Valais, Geneva, Ticino and Appenzell Innerrhoden is it not mandatory. There, homeowners can insure their property with a private company. Buildings insurance covers damages caused by fire and natural forces, which includes flooding, hail, storms, landslides, rockfalls, and avalanches.
Additional home insurance for earthquakes and water damage
Buildings insurance does not cover water damage that cannot be traced back to natural forces. For example, it wouldn't cover damages from an aquarium overflowing. However, the consequential losses can be great. Owners who want to insure themselves against such damages can voluntarily purchase water damage insurance.
The same applies to losses after an earthquake, which are also not covered by the buildings insurance. The canton of Zurich is an exception, where buildings insurance does cover losses arising from an earthquake. Earthquakes are rare, but they can cause tremendous losses. Owners should consider purchasing earthquake insurance depending on the region and risk level.
Household insurance and liability insurance
Buildings insurance pays for damages to the house itself. This also includes fixed installations such as the stove, bathtub, built-in cupboards, fireplace, or window shutters. Damage to furniture and other moveable objects, on the other hand, is not covered by buildings insurance. It is therefore advisable to have household insurance. However, glass is often not included in household insurance. If you own an expensive glass display case, for example, you can insure yourself with an additional policy for glass breakage. The sum insured should be periodically checked in order to prevent a shortfall.
It isn't mandatory, but it is advisable to have liability insurance in addition to household insurance. It covers third party claims for damages. For example, if a child climbs a tree in your garden, breaks a rotten branch, falls and hurts herself. Or if an icicle comes loose from the gutters and causes damage.
Property owners' liability insurance and legal expenses insurance
Private liability insurance only applies to owner-occupied single family dwellings as well as to owner-occupied multi-family dwellings with at most three apartments. If the building is bigger or is rented out, the condominium association can purchase property owners' liability insurance. The condominium owners or landlords can protect themselves from claims by third parties with such insurance.
Legal expenses insurance can also be sensible for landlords. This voluntary insurance provides support when there are tenancy law disputes and covers any litigation costs. Legal expenses insurance can also be helpful even in the case of owner-occupied property. For example, it can help when there are disputes with neighbors.