Insurance Building insurance & Co. for your own four walls

Water, storms, hail, intruders – many dangers threaten your home. Prevention and good insurance are vital.

by Jürg Zulliger 09 Jun 2016

Intruders have two "high seasons" each year: one in the winter, when it gets dark early in the evening, and the other in summer, when many people are away on vacation. The police advise that preventive measures do work very effectively: A house should not look abandoned and uninhabited from outside. Timer switches that turn on the lights in different rooms at varying intervals can help make your home more secure. As does asking a neighbor to look by every now and again to see if everything is OK, empty the mailbox, and turn on the lights.

Adjust your insurance

If you care about your home, you should also check your insurance cover regularly – especially if your personal circumstances change, for example if you move house, move in with your partner, or have a child. "It’s also a good idea to consult your insurance advisor when making major acquisitions," explains Stephan Günther, head of household and building insurance at Mobiliar. A key question that’s hard for lay people to answer is whether the insured amount for their household goods reflects their actual value. Many people underestimate the total value of their furniture and belongings. They should remember that possessions are generally insured for their replacement value – depending on the insurer and policy. To be really safe, draw up an inventory with your insurance advisor. Most insurers also offer a questionnaire and useful resources on their website.

Household goods and third-party liability

Damage to buildings and furniture can result in very high costs, which you can insure against individually. Household insurance protects all your material assets and movable goods against fire, natural disasters, water and burglary. When it comes to jewelry, cash and other objects, there is generally a maximum sum that can be insured, which depends on the insurer. In many cases, for example, jewelry worth over 25,000 francs is not insured at all, or only in certain circumstances – for instance if the owner keeps the items in a secure safe at home.

In exchange for a small premium, you can take out personal liability insurance to cover claims up to millions of francs for personal and property damage. According to the law, homeowners are liable for accidents on property they own if these are caused by insufficient maintenance – if the postman slips on an icy forecourt, or if someone is injured by a tile falling off the roof, for example. In houses or apartments occupied by the owners themselves (and not used for business purposes), personal liability insurance generally also includes building liability insurance. It’s important to tailor the scope of insurance and insurance benefits to the situation of the house or apartment owner and their family. 

Building insurance

Building water insurance is advisable for homeowners. This insurance covers damage caused by overflowing water from inside the building – as a result of defective pipework, for example. "Additional insurance cover depends on your individual situation," says Stephan Günther. Separate glass insurance is often taken out, for example, for windows, glass ceramics, or special or expensive glazing. Sometimes, separate insurance is necessary for the surrounding area. This covers damage to plants and the contents of the garden caused by so-called natural events, such as floods, etc.

Taking out building insurance against damage to buildings caused by natural events (fire, water, storms, etc.) is compulsory in most cantons. The exceptions are: Valais, Geneva, Ticino and Appenzell Innerrhoden. For all other types of insurance, it is up to the homeowner to decide whether to arrange additional household or personal liability insurance, etc., and which insurance provider to choose. The level of insurance and premiums can vary significantly between providers. That's why it's important to ask for information and compare different offers.