The insurance you need depends on the location of your property
The first step is to clarify what insurance you actually need. There may be differences depending on personal requirements, but a robust basic package is generally a good place to start. To identify your specific requirements, it is not enough to assess the condition of the property and the structural fabric of the building. As with the general valuation of a property, it is the location that counts.
There are regions and locations that are more at risk due to their geographic peculiarities, such as their proximity to water or mountains. The level of damage risk varies from low to very high. Besides considering events of recent years, take expert assessments of future developments into account when making your decisions. You can also find useful tools for assessing regional risks to real estate on the internet.
Extreme weather events have occurred time and again since records began, but it is also scientifically proven that they may occur more frequently and more vehemently in the future due to climate change. The consequences can be all the more serious when real estate is affected.
Absolutely essential: homeowners insurance
Homeowners insurance covers all parts of the property. This includes the roof and walls, built-in doors and windows, as well as terraces and balconies. Also insured are fixed components such as an individually planned kitchen and built-in furniture, permanently laid floors and the sanitary installations including the heating systems. A stair lift would also be included.
Likewise, it covers damage to movable items that are a permanent part of the building, such as bell and letterbox systems and waste containers. An additional insurance is often offered for outbuildings such as garages and carports.
Homeowners insurance covers the following risks:
- fire and lightning
- storm and hail damage
- mains water damage (burst pipes)
Strongly recommended: supplementary "natural hazard" insurance
Weather-related events explained above require additional coverage through so-called natural hazard insurance. This covers damage caused by floods, heavy rain and backwater as well as storms with a wind force of 8 or more on the Beaufort scale. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and subsidence, avalanches and snow pressure damage are also included.
The natural hazards module can only be taken out in combination with a residential buildings insurance policy as basis.
Not to be overlooked: the household effects
On the one hand, the property or building itself must be protected, and on the other hand, its contents must be protected. This is because household effects can also be destroyed, for example by fire.
Household contents insurance covers all household effects against fire, robbery, burglary, vandalism, mains water damage and destruction by forces of nature. Since the replacement value is based on the purchase price of a similar asset at current prices, it is very important to make a realistic assessment when taking out the insurance policy. If necessary, consult an assessor to determine a sufficient insurance cover.
The potential follow-up costs arising from damage events are also insured, which can include overnight accommodation costs, the installation of new locks and much more. What is also interesting to know is that there are special agreements for household effects outside the home. The external insurance (with claim limits) usually covers your camera while travelling or your suit while being dry cleaned for up to three months.
In addition to furniture, household effects also include cash, jewellery, works of art and other valuables, furs, hand-knotted carpets, stamp collections and antiques. Our tip regarding household effects: Document these at intervals with photos and keep receipts of the amounts paid; this will save you hassle and undervaluations. If your last review of the existing policies was some time ago, it makes sense to review the documents from time to time. Take the time to see if, due to changes in life circumstances, optimisation is perhaps possible or even necessary in certain cases.