Insuring the contents of your Home in Germany: It depends on the value of your furnishings
The value of everything you have in your apartment/house is often underestimated. Imagine replacing everything after a total loss (for example, due to a fire). That’s where household insurance protects you.
Essential facts in a nutshell:
- Home contents insurance offers protection against fire, tap water, burglary, robbery, vandalism, and natural hazards (storm, hail, and other natural hazards).
- The entire household contents are insured. In the event of an insured loss, the replacement price of items of the same type and quality in as-new condition (replacement value) is reimbursed.
- It would be best to take out insurance for a sufficiently high sum.
Whether household insurance is necessary depends on the value of your possessions. So: the more valuable your furnishings, the more important insurance coverage is.
The three best home insurances for expats in Germany
At the beginning of this article we would like to introduce you to our three favorites when it comes to home insurance in Germany. GETSAFE, Lemonade & luko. All three home insurances are perfect for expats as they offer their services completely digital and in English. Thus, you can take out the insurance in seconds and get paid very fast when it matters.
#1 GETSAFE – German home contents insurance
We would like to give you a brief overview of what is covered at GETSAFE. The insurance provider offers its services via a simple app. It is quick to understand and easy to use. With GETSFE, you are protected worldwide, get a compensation for the value of a new item and you are covered even in cases of gross negligence. GETSAFE has won several awards in the last years. In 2020, it was named Germany’s best insuretech company by two different institutions. In addition, the app is extremely well rated with 4.9 out of 5 stars.
What is covered?
- If your furniture, clothing or household appliances are damaged by an insured risk, GETSAFE will compensate you with the value of a new item.
- Valuables and cash locked in a safe & cash outside if a safe
- Valuables such as jewelry, precious stones and watches are also insured up to €50,000 even if they are not kept in a safe.
- Documents, savings books and securities are also covered outside a safe up to €25,000.
- Items in a second home for professional purpose
- Retail goods an sample colleczions
- Motor vehicle parts an accessoires
Note: Your belongings are covered at your home and for up to 12 months outside of your home. If you make a claim, GETSAFE covers 100% of the costs.
#2 Lemonade – German home contents insurance
Lemonade offers home insurance that is designed for the 21st century. Lemonade also works through an app that allows you to get insured in just a few steps. You can also report damage through this app and get your money within minutes. With Lemonade, you can purchase insurance on a monthly basis and cancel at any time. You can buy home insurance for as little as 2€ per month. Lemonade offers, for those who need it, the option to insure for household and liability together, from 4€ a month.
What is covered?
Your homeowners insurance at Lemonade is divided into six types of coverage:
- Dwelling Insurance (i.e., insurance for your home)
- Insurance for Other Buildings (your driveway, fence etc.)
- Personal Property Insurance
- Loss of Use Insurance (e.g., for hotel expenses), if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a peril such as a fire or storm.
- Liability insurance, or personal liability insurance, covers physical injury and property damage caused to other people (or their belongings) by your actions – at your home and elsewhere.
- It pays for medical bills, which in most cases are under $5,000, if something happens to guests at your home.
#3 luko – German liability insurance
Luko is also an top rated insurance company that is made for expats. It is 100% in English (and also has customer support in other languages), online and without annoying paperwork. Another advantage is that you can cancel it at any time and have 24/7 support (home and flat emergency assistent). Luko is easy to use and simple to understand.You pay only 74 € per year, which is about 6,20 € per month.
What is covered?
- Your private items of your household are covered. Such as furniture, carpets, clothing, electrical and electronic household appliances (e.g. washing machine, TV, computer)
- Cash and other valuables, This includes jewelry, precious stones, works of art, stamps, coins, antiques and items made of silver, gold and platinum. Cash, amounts on cash cards, certificates, savings books and securities also count as insured valuables
- Theft on property e.g. your garden furniture, antenna systems …
- According to German law, pets such as dogs, cats or birds are considered “property”, which is why they are also insured under your household insurance policy
- Third party property: During the time of a visit of your friends, the property brought with them is also insured against perils in the homeowner’s insurance in your contract
What perils or costs are covered?
Fire insurance coverage extends to damage caused by fire, direct lightning strike, explosion, impact or crash of aircraft, parts, or cargo, and consequential damage caused by smoke, soot, and extinguishing.
For example, a TV ignites due to a technical defect, resulting in an apartment fire. During the fire department’s extinguishing work, the apartment is flooded. In this case, the homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage to the contents caused directly by the fire and the consequential damage caused by smoke and extinguishing water.
In the case of tap water damage, the insurance does not pay in all cases. Typical causes for which insurers are liable are burst pipes and burst hoses on washing machines and dishwashers. Frost damage to sanitary installations is also compensated.
Damage caused by burglary is covered, but simple theft is not. Vandalism and robbery are also insured.
So if the perpetrator breaks down doors or smashes windows, it is a burglary and, therefore, an insured event. However, anyone who leaves windows and doors unlocked makes it all too easy for intruders and has to pay for the consequences himself.
A new door lock is covered if keys for apartment doors are lost, e.g., due to burglary or robbery.
It also happens that burglars, angry at not having found anything useful, destroy the apartment furnishings or smear the walls with paint. There is insurance coverage for these damages caused by vandalism.
If someone threatens you with violence or even uses it and takes objects from you, this damage is insured (this is robbery). Trick theft, on the other hand, is not covered by insurance.
In case of storm damage is covered that is caused by wind at a level of class eight or higher. In the case of hail damage, the insurer pays regardless of the wind strength. Typical causes of damage: A storm covers the roof, hailstones smash windows. On the other hand, many household insurance policies do not pay for damage caused by heavy rain, groundwater, or floods. There are additional policies for this, the natural hazard insurance policies (see box).
Supplementary elemental damage coverage
You can arrange protection against natural hazard damage as an add-on to household insurance. It includes damage caused by flooding, backwater, earthquake, subsidence, landslide, snow pressure, avalanches, and volcanic eruption.
You should make sure that damage caused by heavy rainfall is expressly insured under this module. This risk exists for every household, and therefore, you should ensure that your insurance policy covers elemental damage to your home.
Insured by a household insurance are also possible follow-up costs after the described events. These include costs for clean-up, moving and protection, hotel, transport, and storage, lock change, security, repair for building damage, restoration for floor coverings, interior painting, and wallpaper in the event of tap water damage in rented rooms. If you can no longer use the apartment (e.g., after a fire), the hotel costs are covered without incidental expenses (e.g., breakfast, telephone). Compensation is usually paid for up to 100 days and is limited to one-thousandth of the sum insured.
Additional insurance coverage is often offered for glass breakage or bicycle theft. However, this does not cover risks that threaten your economic existence, and you can therefore do without such supplements. You can find out more about insuring bicycles here.
What is covered by homeowner’s insurance?
All household contents are insured against destruction, damage, and loss. Household contents include all items used in the household for furnishing, use, or consumption. It also covers valuables:
- Cash and amounts loaded on cash cards
- documents, including savings books and other securities
- Jewelry, precious stones, pearls, stamps, telephone card collections, coins and medals, and anything made of gold or platinum
- furs, hand-knotted carpets, tapestries, works of art, and silver objects not mentioned above
- other items more than 100 years old (antiques), except for furniture.
Compensation per insured event is usually limited to 20 percent of the sum insured. In addition, the valuables must have been stored in a specially secured manner, for example, in a safe.
Where are the household contents insured?
If you take out household contents insurance, it only applies to the dwelling designated in the insurance policy. The residence also includes rooms in outbuildings – including garages. Study rooms used exclusively for professional or commercial purposes are not included in the coverage unless you can only access them via your home.
Household contents that are temporarily outside the home – usually for no longer than three months – are insured worldwide under external insurance with compensation limits. It could be, for example, clothes that you had taken to the dry cleaners or a camera you brought with you on a trip that got stolen when burglars broke into your hotel room.
During a move, the household contents of the old and the new home are insured. Insurance coverage in the previous apartment ends no later than two months after the beginning of your relocation. You should notify the insurance company of a move in good time.
What is new value insurance?
In an insured event, your insurance will reimburse you for the replacement value of such a policy. It’s the amount that similar items cost in as-new condition. However, you must have chosen the sum insured so that it also covers the replacement value of the entire household contents. Only then will the damage be fully compensated.
On the other hand, if you have chosen an insurance policy that is too low, you will not be paid the total amount of the damage.
How is the sum insured determined?
Choose a sum insured that corresponds to the actual value of your household contents. Otherwise, you run the risk of either paying too high premiums or not getting everything replaced in the event of a claim.
You can estimate the sum yourself or follow a recommendation from the insurance industry and choose a specific sum insured per square meter of living space. This minimum insurance sum is usually 650 euros per square meter of living space.
What does underinsurance mean?
If the sum insured agreed with your insurance company is lower than the actual value of the household contents, there is underinsurance. If damage occurs in such a case, the insurance company will only replace part of it, and you are left with the rest.
For example, You have agreed on a sum insured of 50,000 euros. However, the actual value of your entire household goods is twice as high, namely 100,000 euros. You are therefore underinsured: The insurance does not cover the total amount in the event of damage.
If, for example, a fire in a room damages 10,000 euros, the insurance company will only pay 5,000 euros because you were underinsured for half of this amount.
How is the premium calculated?
The premium depends on the living space or the value of the furnishings.
Because damage occurs more frequently in large cities than in the countryside, insurance usually costs more. However, the premium also depends on the construction class of the house.
To reduce premiums, you can agree on a deductible.
What you must do in the event of an insurance claim
In an insured event, you must immediately report the damage to the insurer and the police. The insurance company and the police will also ask you what items have been lost.
If you violate these behavioral obligations, you jeopardize your insurance coverage.
Tips: You can document your entire household regularly with a video camera or a camera. It would be best if you also kept receipts of new purchases, and it will make it easier to prove the damage in the event of an insurance claim.
How can the contract be terminated?
You can terminate insurance contracts with a notice period of (usually) three months to the end of the term. If the agreement is not canceled, it is automatically renewed for a further year. After that, the contract can be terminated annually – again with three months’ notice.
You can also terminate the contract in the event of a claim or a premium increase.
If there is no longer any reason for household insurance (e.g., because you are liquidating your home), the contract ends. In that case, let the insurance company know.