Tiny houses offer everything that you need within a compact space. As a rule, tiny houses have a maximum living space of 50 square meters. Intelligent room design elements such as folding tables, loft beds and multifunctional furniture are therefore essential.
There are various types of tiny houses. Some are on wheels; some are secured in place. Which one you decide on depends on what you are looking for. Would you like to travel and take your house with you? If so, a mobile tiny house is the right choice for you. Prefer a fixed abode that is nevertheless small and cozy? If so, a stationary tiny house on a camp site could be the right solution for your needs.
Clarifying insurance matters
Whichever variant you choose, you should definitely insure your tiny house. Your individual circumstances are important here. There are various insurance options, irrespective of whether your tiny house sits on a trailer or solid ground.
The first thing that applies to all tiny houses: Your contents can be easily covered through household contents insurance. Your furniture and movable property such as laptops, bicycles and clothes are covered as part of this insurance. To insure the tiny house itself, you must first determine which category it belongs to. Fundamentally, there are three categories:
1. Tiny house as a building
If your tiny house is built on a fixed foundation, it is likely classed as a building. Its classification as a building is contingent on the provisions of cantonal buildings insurance. For cantons without such an institution, the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) has defined classification conditions. If your tiny house is classed as a building, in certain cantons you are obliged to take out insurance against fire and natural disasters such as inundation, floods, storms and hail. You can take out additional cover for other risks, such as water damage, from private building insurers.
However, if it is classified as a "movable structure," that is a non-permanent structure such as a garden shed or tool shed, it is subject to household contents insurance. This insurance covers damage to the house, accessories and furnishings. It also offers protection against hazards such as fire, water and theft. Loss or damage due to breakage in relation to window panes is likewise covered.
2. Mobile tiny house with registered trailer
If your tiny house is permanently connected to a trailer, you can register it as a caravan. In this case, you have the option of taking out motor vehicle insurance for your tiny house.
- With single vehicle accidental damage insurance, you can insure your tiny house against theft and damage caused by martens, as well as damage resulting from additional hazards such as hail, fire or vandalism. Permanently attached items such as cooking stoves, sleeping berths, etc. can also be covered.
- Comprehensive insurance cover is sensible if you are often on the move. This way, you are also insured against road traffic collisions.
Removable items such as crockery and bedding are not automatically covered. However, additional cover for transported items allows you to protect these types of belongings too.
Good to know: Motor vehicle insurance applies in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, all European countries as well as the countries bordering the Mediterranean and the island states of the Mediterranean. Insurance coverage applies even if your mobile tiny house is transported across the sea.
3. Tiny house with non-registered trailer
If your tiny house is permanently attached to a trailer but is not registered, it is considered a "movable object." In this case, you can insure it under a household contents insurance policy. This insurance covers damage to the tiny house and any fixed components. It offers protection against fire, water and theft. As a rule, glass damage is also included in the cover. Normally, a tiny house like this will stay on the same spot. However, if you move your home and it is damaged in the process, you are also covered. If you are a Zurich customer, this cover is only valid if you are moving within Switzerland or Liechtenstein. In any case, you must inform your insurer about the location that you have moved to.
Small home, huge freedom
Even if the vast majority of the Swiss population are not yet living in tiny houses, living in a small footprint is becoming increasingly popular. Inspired by the associated freedom, simplicity and green lifestyle, the movement is growing. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict how quickly this trend will develop. Whether such tiny houses offer a secure, long-term way of living in Switzerland depends on the progress of legal developments and developments in the construction sector.
Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of tiny houses?
Every form of housing has its pros and cons. For the tiny house, they are as follows:
- Sustainability: A tiny house requires fewer resources for its construction and running. They also require less energy to operate, which reduces your environmental footprint.
- Cost savings: Tiny houses are often cheaper than conventional real estate. This means that they involve less debt. As a rule, the running costs for energy, water and refuse disposal are also lower.
- Flexibility: Many tiny houses can be transported on trailers. If you would like to change location, for example, or move to another city, you can simply take your house with you.
- Simpler lifestyle: Less living and storage space offers you the opportunity to cut loose any unnecessary ballast from your life.
- Independence: There are tiny houses that do not need to be connected to the electricity grid or water and sewage networks. In this way, you can live more independently and consume water and energy in a sustainable way.
- Limited space: Tiny houses offer limited space for occupants and visitors. This can lead to space-related problems, especially if you have a family or would like to host guests. In addition, your privacy may be restricted in a confined space.
- Laws and regulations: Each canton in Switzerland has its own rules for tiny houses. It is often not permitted to build a tiny house on public land or without planning permission. In addition, there are often limitations with regard to size and furnishings.
- Climate conditions: Switzerland has an alpine climate with cold winters and warm summers. It is often difficult to effectively insulate tiny houses when compared with conventional houses. This can lead to you being too cold in winter and too warm in summer.
- Restricted storage: It can be difficult to find sufficient storage space for all your personal belongings. This increases the likelihood of the living space not being tidy or organized.
- Limitations with respect to resale: Tiny houses are relatively new in Switzerland and do not yet have the same status as conventional houses. This can make it tricky to find a buyer, should the time come when you wish to sell your tiny house.
What does a tiny house cost?
Prices for tiny houses can vary significantly. The size, design and material play a large role here. Whether you decide to build your house yourself or contract the job out to professionals also has an influence on the price. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between CHF 50,000 and CHF 150,000 for a tiny house in Switzerland.
Don't forget about the additional costs. These include costs for purchasing a plot of land, electricity and water supply, transport costs and insurance. This is why you should calculate all costs in detail before embarking on a construction project.
What should you be aware of when procuring or building a tiny house?
- Check zoning and building regulations. Your tiny house must be able to be installed legally.
- Consider transportation and location requirements, especially if your tiny house is mobile.
- The size and the design should correspond with your needs.
- Plan the allocation of space carefully, especially when space is limited.
- Consider whether you will need access to the energy grid and water network, or find out about alternative energy sources.
- Pay attention to the quality of the materials and the construction. Your tiny house should be built to last a long time.
- Plan your finances well. Consider all costs, including purchasing, construction, transport, land and permits.