Household insurance – comprehensively protected at home

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Household insurance – comprehensively protected at home

Household insurance is regarded as basic insurance in order to remain comprehensively protected at home. But what exactly does it involve? Who needs household insurance and for what damage does it pay? Eight questions and answers.

What is household insurance?

Household insurance is the combination of household contents insurance and personal liability insurance. You can insure the entire inventory of your home with household contents insurance, i.e. everything that "isn't nailed down". Contents are normally regarded as all movables belonging to the insured person serving their personal consumption. Objects that you would take with you if you moved, from the couch, crockery in the kitchen cupboard, book shelves with their contents, and clothing, through to your jewelry. The surfboard and snowboard in the garage, the chest with winter clothes in the attic or the old table in the basement all belong to the contents. All objects or furniture permanently attached to the apartment, such as radiators, built-in kitchens or built-in cupboards, are not regarded as contents.

What is personal liability insurance?

Personal liability insurance is traditionally often concluded together with household contents insurance, but substantively has nothing to do with it. This is because you do not insure any objects with it; liability insurance instead covers particular claims in your personal life for which you have statutory liability. These include claims for which you are liable vis-a-vis third parties, because you unintentionally run into someone with your bicycle, carelessly knock over a valuable vase of an acquaintance or accidentally spill a glass of water over his laptop. Due to statutory liability provisions – so-called causal liabilities – you can also be held liable for claims caused e.g. by your children or pets. In addition, tenant claims are also covered in the personal liability insurance, i.e. damage and destruction of your personally occupied rental property.

For whom does personal liability insurance make sense?

This coverage is really worthwhile for everyone. For who can say of themselves that they could never break anything of anyone else's, due to carelessness or clumsiness, or even injure someone? Anyone who regularly flits through the city on their bike or skis down a piste always has to face this liability risk. In the worst case, such claims can be very expensive – consequently, the standard sum insured in personal liability insurance at Zurich is at least CHF 5 million. This insurance is also practical for tenants, because a lot of tenant damage is paid by personal liability insurance. However, not all tenant damage is covered. Tenant damage which is highly likely to occur, such as staining of walls due to smoking, e.g., is excluded. 

How do I determine the right sum insured for household contents insurance?

The age of your household contents is irrelevant when calculating your sum insured: What is decisive is the so-called replacement cost, i.e. the price at which you could repurchase your household contents new at the time of the event of a loss. To calculate the correct cost, use the current official purchase prices, i.e. neither a special offer from online retailers, nor the price paid originally. This is because electronic devices have for instance become much cheaper in recent years. Ideally, you should go from room to room and draw up a list of all objects and their new value. The value does not have to be accurate down to the last cent, but it should be relatively accurate. The effort is worth it – because only in this way will you get the correct sum insured for your insurance.

Can I estimate the sum insured for the household contents insurance lower and in this way save money?

This is highly inadvisable. In the first place, you want to be able to re-equip yourself at the same standard if your household contents should be destroyed in the event of a loss. Secondly, the insurance is entitled to cut your benefits proportionally in the case of a sum chosen that is too low. The financial consequences would be far more severe than any premiums you might have saved previously. The technical term for this is "underinsurance".

What claims are covered by household contents insurance?

Contents insurance normally reimburses the value of the inventory destroyed after a house or apartment fire, enabling you to re-equip your household to the same standard. The same applies to water damage, e.g. after a burst pipe. Another important benefit of household contents insurance is reimbursement after a burglary: It not only pays for the stolen articles, but also covers the repair costs of the damaged front door or windows, provided no other insurance does so. Simple theft at home is normally also coinsured - this exists, e.g., if the uninvited guest does not have to break open any door, but simply gets in through an open window and then steals objects from your apartment.

Do I need a separate theft insurance?

This depends on your personal living situation: Theft in your apartment is usually already coinsured in the ground-up coverage of your household contents insurance. If you are regularly out and about with expensive sports equipment, a camera or special mobile phone, for example the additional module "Simple theft outdoors is worthwhile". For example, you can also protect yourself against the loss of your bicycle, laptop and designer handbag when you are out and about – but no cash is insured here.

Should I insure additional risks?

Additional interesting protection in household contents insurance is glass breakage. This insurance pays if a cooking pot is dropped on the ceramic cooker top, the perfume bottle falls into the toilet or you break your expensive glass table while vacuuming. You can also insure window panes via glass breakage. Cover for accidental damage to contents is another additional coverage. You can insure your household articles generally against damage with this. This additional insurance even pays if you break something yourself by accident. You can also restrict the accidental damage insurance to contents to sports equipment or electrical devices. You can insure especially valuable articles even more comprehensively with an insurance of valuables this applies not only to damage at home; loss or damage are also insured via the worldwide all risk coverage. This insurance even pays if you yourself damage or even destroy a valuable object by mistake, for example, if you accidentally make a hole in a valuable violin while cleaning it.

Tip: Find replacements online – fast and easily

If you have had something stolen and you have concluded a theft insurance, you can look for a replacement straight away at Zurich. However, you can also decide on a payment or voucher, currently for example at Zalando or Ochsner Sport.

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