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Homeowners insurance for owner-occupied and rented properties in Germany – 10 important points

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Homeowners insurance is a must for property owners. It insures damage caused by fire, hail, storms and tap water, optionally also natural hazards.

If you own a home in Germany, it is vital to take out homeowners insurance. Find out on this page what exactly is insured with a homeowners insurance and what is not, what a residential building insurance costs and make a free comparison of building insurance.

Homeowners insurance is not only recommended, it should definitely be part of the insurance package for property owners. As a rule, the so-called “residential building insurance ” is a “linked residential building insurance  that covers damage to the building caused by fire, tap water, storms and hail. In addition, further damage caused by natural forces, such as B. earthquakes and floods are insured.

Residential building insurance covers the entire building and is not taken out for individual apartments. So if you are or will be the owner of a condominium, ask the property manager about the insurance policy. Homeowners have to take care of comparing and purchasing building insurance themselves.

Banks also request proof of homeowner insurance when financing a home. After all, the property usually secures the loan and if it loses its value significantly or is even completely destroyed, for example by a fire, the bank loses its security.

Difference between “Home Insurance” and the Home Insurance

The home 
insurance is not 
to be confused 
with the home 
insurance . 
While the 
household contents insurance covers furniture, inventory and 
movable objects , the residential building insurance protects the building itself.  

Difference between “Home Insurance” and the Home Insurance

The home 
insurance is not 
to be confused 
with the home 
insurance . 
While the 
household contents insurance covers furniture, inventory and 
movable objects , the residential building insurance protects the building itself.  

homeowners insurance
Homeowners Insurance in Germany

2. What is “Linked Home Insurance”?

Theoretically, the damage risks can also be covered with separate property insurance , namely fire, tap water and storm insurance. In practice , however, so-called connected home insurance has become the standard . Here the three risk areas are secured in one contract. In addition, it can be assumed that, in comparison with the associated insurance, the separate conclusion of property insurance would lead to higher insurance costs overall. Most of the time, the connected form is what is meant when people talk about home insurance in general.

3. What damage is insured by a residential building insurance?

There is a model for residential building insurance that is provided by the Association of the German Insurance Industry. This is not binding, but is usually used by insurers as the basis for their contracts. Before taking out homeowners insurance, read carefully what damage is covered.

What does “Linked Home Insurance” usually cover?

Hazard categoryDamage
FireFire damageExplosion / implosion damageLightning damage
StormStorm damageHail damage 
Tap water• Tap water damage
• Frost
• other breakage damage
Homeowners Insurance in German

The building and its fixed inventory are insured, specifically:

  • The building itself: roof, walls, doors, windows, balconies
  • Accessories associated with the building: terraces, mailbox systems, bell systems
  • Fixed inventory: fixtures made individually for the house, such as fitted kitchens, built-in cupboards (if these are series products, household insurance is responsible), sanitary installations, permanently laid floors, stair lifts
  • Ancillary buildings  such as B. sheds, carports and garages are also insured.

In principle, the insurance is responsible for all costs incurred as a result of the damage. This includes tidying up and drying work as well as material and craft costs. If the property is temporarily uninhabitable, the policyholder can also claim the costs of a hotel stay or lost income due to loss of rent.

4. What is not covered by the insurance?

A lot of damage in and on the house is covered by insurance – the question that often arises is: Which insurance insures what?

The furniture is not covered by the residential building insurance unless it was explicitly manufactured for the building and installed in connection with it. Other everyday objects that are in the building are also not covered by the residential building or house insurance. These items are usually insured through home contents insurance. 

Things that belong to other people who do not live in the house are also not covered by the building insurance . If you damage another person’s object in your own building or if personal injury occurs, liability insurance applies .

For many property owners is insurance against damage in recent years become very important because the normal homeowners insurance covers damage caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes or – in Germany much more important – Floods not decrease. The contracts should be read and checked carefully before signing, because the insurance companies usually formulate numerous exceptions.

While the residential building insurance covers the damage to the house caused by lightning strikes, the household contents insurance has to cover for the associated overvoltage damage to devices in the house.

5. What is the cost of homeowners insurance? How is the sum insured calculated?

Inexpensive residential building insurance can be taken out for as little as € 200 / year. Of course, the insurance costs very much depend on the building to be insured and its location.

Location

The exact location of the property is decisive for the risk that the home insurance company has to calculate. Germany was divided into risk zones by the insurers Depending on the location of the property, there is a different assessment of the damage risk. This is particularly relevant when property owners want to take out additional insurance against natural hazards. In risk areas for natural hazards, such as floods, the policies can be very expensive. In some cases, the insurers even refuse insurance against natural hazards entirely.

Size, equipment, age & type of property

The insurance costs are of course also based on the number of square meters of living and usable space that are insured. Furthermore, it is taken into account when the property was built, whether high-quality building materials were used, how the roofing of the property is carried out and last but not least: how the property is used.

In order for the property to be residential property by definition, which is consequently covered by home insurance, at least 50% of this  must be used for residential purposes  .

Scope of insurance

The basic building insurance usually covers fire, water damage, hail and storm. If you  want to cover additional risks , you have to expect higher insurance costs. For example, damage to glass, vandalism, damage from martens or damage to photovoltaic systems can also be insured. 

New building value

The more valuable the building is, the higher the sum insured or insured must be for the property. This is the only way to ensure adequate protection in the event of damage. When calculating the sum insured, it is assumed that the property will be completely destroyed. The insurance covers the costs that you need to rebuild your house “in the same way and quality”. So that this value does not have to be recalculated every year, the insurance companies use a fictitious value: the so-called building insurance value 1914 (also simply called 1914 value). Why is it so: In 1914, there were stable construction costs in Germany for the last time before inflation . This value is given in gold marks. 

6. What happens in the event of damage?

First of all, in the event of a claim, the policyholder should consider whether to submit the damage to his home insurance company or whether to waive it in the case of minor damage. Claims reports can result in significant price increases in the insurance premium or, in the case of particularly serious claims or many claims reports within a short period of time, in the worst case, lead to termination by the insurance company . In many cases it makes sense to first discuss the case with the insurance company.

If it is clear that the damage is to be regulated by the home insurance, the damage must be precisely documented . The policyholder must document the damage with text and images and submit the damage report. Many insurers can do this online or by telephone in advance. However, it makes sense to submit a written report in the event of major damage.

Threatening due to the damage consequential damages , so a telephone consultation with the insurance should definitely be done, what emergency measures must be taken. As the owner, you can and should implement some of these as quickly as possible, such as temporarily sealing storm damage to a window so that water cannot penetrate the house when it rains. If it is necessary to call in a craft business to limit the damage, you should definitely clarify the procedure and the assignment with your insurer beforehand. This will prevent you from being left with the costs.  

Depending on the extent and type of damage, the insurance company will commission an expert before the settlement.

7. Is homeowner insurance tax deductible?

In an  owner-occupied property  , the homeowners insurance is tax  not deductible . This also applies to residential properties from which an owner earns rental income. However, the  costs for residential building insurance for  a rented property, if  so specified in the  rental agreement , are  apportionable . As part of the  ancillary costs settlement  to the tenant, the annual insurance premium is passed on to the tenants  proportionally according to the respective rental area . Residential building insurance is therefore cost-neutral for landlords and represents what is often referred to as a “continuous item” from an economic point of view.

Landlords are generally  obliged to operate the property as economically as possible to their tenants  . It is not only for this reason that it is worthwhile to make price  comparisons again and again  and, if necessary, to switch providers if better conditions are possible with the same contractual conditions. Of course, this applies to an even greater extent to homeowners who fully bear the costs of home insurance themselves.

8. How can I cancel the homeowners insurance?

Cancel Homeowners InsuranceNotice period
… within the regular periodTo usually three months before expiry of the contract term , the homeowners insurance may be terminated at both ends. Policyholders who wish to terminate should submit the termination in writing by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt and ask for written confirmation.
… after damageIn the event of a claim, there is an extraordinary right of termination . The insurance can be terminated or terminated within one month after settlement of the claim or at the end of the insurance year.
… in the event of a change of ownership The building insurance can be canceled by the new owner within one month after the new owner has been entered in the  land register. In condominiums usually is property management responsible for the management of Insurance. Here, a new home owner has no influence on the insurance and can only get involved in the homeowners association within the framework of the co-creation   options.
… if the premium is increasedInsured persons can cancel the residential building insurance within one month of being informed of the premium increase.

9. What to look for when comparing homeowner insurance?

As with any insurance, the contracts for homeowners insurance should be carefully checked before taking out. Anyone who values ​​protection against natural hazards must pay particular attention to the protected cases and the exclusions . In addition to insurance benefits also plays sum insured an important role. The new build value of the property must be precisely determined to prevent underinsurance or overinsurance associated with high premiums. In any case, a residential building insurance comparison is recommended!

10. Home insurance comparison –

Look for a reliable insurance comparison calculator (with good reviews) and enter the details of your property and receive a free home insurance comparison!

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Expaturmhttps://www.expaturm.com/
Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany
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