What household insurance do you need in Germany?
Home insurance in Germany usually means one of two things: home contents insurance and buildings insurance. In the U.K. and elsewhere, these policy types are often – although not always – combined. Here we explain the various types of home insurance policies you may need as a landlord, homeowner, or renter for your apartment or house in Germany.
Home insurance for all dwelling types
Buildings insurance, or house insurance, is advisable no matter where you live. If you own a share of a property, perhaps a flat that is part of a block, or one floor of a converted house, then you will need to contribute to a maintenance reserve to rebuild or repair the common property if something goes wrong. Buildings insurance is advisable for bungalows, semi-detached houses, converted barns and every other residential building type you can imagine.
Renters have insurance requirements, too
Although landlords are responsible for home insurance to cover structural damage, the contents of a home need their own insurance policy. This means that the tenant will have to find their own cover and not assume their landlord provides it for them. The good news is that entry-level home insurance costs as little as €3 to €4 a month depending on the level of cover you require.
How does home insurance work?
In Germany, the insurance market for home insurance has two distinct policies – contents and buildings insurance. Most people will have both types. Some will also have life insurance to help them if they die and their mortgage would still need to be paid. Furthermore, some people also have legal insurance, a good idea if you rent out property or have a leasehold tenure. If you take out insurance for a three or five-year period in Germany, then you are expected to complete this term before switching insurers.
Why is home insurance important?
Without personal liability insurance in Germany, you are not allowed to do certain things, such as drive. This is usually sold as car insurance but it amounts to much the same thing. Although home contents insurance is not mandatory in Germany, almost everyone has it to cover their belongings whether they rent or are homeowners. People who own property are also encouraged to buy buildings insurance since without it the total cost of rebuilding a damaged property could easily be prohibitive.
What home insurance won't cover
Some home contents policies cover items stored in outbuildings – such as bikes and lawnmowers, for instance – but most don't. Check this before assuming they are included within your policy. In Germany, contents insurance may cover your furniture and carpets for accidental water damage but it won't protect you against damage to the floor, ceilings or walls. You need buildings insurance for that. Self-inflicted damage and damage caused by negligence or pets is also not covered.
Consider legal insurance in case of disputes
Once you have buildings insurance – if you need it – and home contents insurance, it is worth looking at legal insurance, too. This covers you for any legal disputes you might have with neighbours, for example. If you are sued by someone because of a fault on your property, such as a roof tile falling off, then you'll be glad you took out some form of legal cover.
Home insurance is always worthwhile
In Germany, there is marked difference between household contents insurance and buildings insurance. If you own you home, then assume you need both. In fact, you might also want to up your cover, especially if you have a big mortgage to pay off, with a life insurance policy and even liability insurance if you and others work from your home from time to time.
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