In Germany, the cost of household home insurance, known locally as Hausratversicherung, is determined by the type of property, the location, the size (in square metres) of the living space and the type of cover required. This type of insurance typically covers loss of your belongings, inside your home, due to theft, fire or water damage, etc. However, the exact level of cover varies from policy to policy, so make sure that you have sufficient cover for all eventualities before you sign on the dotted line.
Home Insurance for Tenants
If you rent your home, as many Germans do, be aware that insurance against fire and water damage is usually the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant. Tenants can take out specific household contents insurance to cover their belongings, but this type of insurance does not cover any furniture supplied as part of a fully-furnished or part-furnished tenancy agreement.
Flat Rate Cover
Rather than the replacement value of all your belongings, the sum insured under a household insurance policy may be a flat rate per square metre. Of course, if your home is small relative to the value of the items kept in it, you run the risk of being underinsured if the worst comes to the worst. Bicycle theft is rife in Germany, so you might like to consider insuring bicycles, glass and other valuables as separate items. Depending on your policy, you may be covered, as standard, for personal property outside your home, but cover will typically be limited to between 10% and 20% of the total sum insured.
If the total sum insured is calculated using the replacement value of your belongings, you may still find that German insurance companies limit your cover to €75,000. If that’s the case and you want to insure precious items, such as jewellery or works of art, you may need to find an international insurance broker, who offers levels of cover over and above those offered by German companies.
Obviously, the longer your home is left unoccupied the more at risk it is from an insurance perspective. If you intend to be away from home for more than one month or so, make sure you inform your insurer. Failure to do so can invalidate your household home insurance policy. The German home insurance market is typified by bold pricing structures and low profit margins so, while an insurance broker may be keen to tie you into a three-year, or five-year, deal, a one-year deal allows to take advantage of competition in the market place.