Why Expats in Germany should get household insurance


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Household insurance (Home contents insurance) is one of the most important private insurances in Germany. It provides coverage if something is damaged in your house or apartment. Find out here what to look out for when taking out Household insurance.

Household insurance takes effect in the event of a lot of damage to your house contents and thus protects you against high costs. It doesn’t matter whether you have high-quality designer furniture or inexpensive inventory from the furniture store, because in the event of theft or water damage, everyone wants their property to be completely replaced. Since the policies are already offered on favorable terms, this insurance protection should not be dispensed with.

household insurance

Household insurance benefits

Compared to other insurances, the benefits of a household insurance are relatively fixed. This is because it is a linked property insurance that can only be taken out for all risks as part of a group. Accordingly, individual risks cannot be insured as an option, but others can usually be included.

This damage is covered by default with almost all providers:

  • Burglary: In addition to burglary, this also includes robbery with the use or threat of violence
  • Vandalism: Deliberate damage to household items by an intruder is also covered
  • Tap water: Water damage caused by leaked tap water, frost or breakage is covered by the household contents insurance
  • Fire: Fire damage as a result of fire, lightning, explosion, implosion or contact with an aircraft is covered
  • Storm and hail: Hail damage is insured regardless of the size of the hailstones, storm damage only from wind force 7; However, it should be remembered that this does not cover any storm damage that occurs to the building

With a household contents insurance, all movable objects in the living space as well as associated buildings (e.g. garages, terraces, loggias) are protected against all of the events listed above.

Household items include:

  • Commodities
  • Consumables
  • Furnishings

This does not include building parts such as glued parquet. The insurance cover not only includes the contents of the policyholder, but also those of all other people with whom he lives in a household. In addition, the protection always relates to the new value and not to the current value of the objects concerned.

Also insured are motorized wheelchairs, lawn mowers, canoes, surfing equipment and inflatables, for example. Commercially used furnishings and work equipment that are not located in rooms used exclusively for commercial purposes are insured in the same way as borrowed items (exception: household effects from sub-tenants).

IMPORTANT! Valuables with a compensation limit

A compensation limit of 20 percent of the sum insured is provided for valuables such as cash, savings accounts, certificates, jewelry, precious stones, precious metals, coins, postage stamps, carpets, works of art and antiques.

For this reason, you should submit the exact value of these items as possible, the replacement price is decisive for this. In this way it can be determined whether the limit of 20 percent is sufficient or needs to be increased. For households with valuable household items, other coverage concepts are recommended, such as all-risk coverage.

household insurance

ALSO READ: How Expats can find cheap insurance in Germany

Optional services that can be included in a Household insurance

In addition to the services listed above, it is possible to insure other risks. It is important to consider which services make sense at your own discretion. Additional services are generally accompanied by an additional fee. Additional options can be, for example, the following:

  • Overvoltage damage due to lightning strike – This concerns damage that was not caused by a direct lightning strike, but indirectly, for example, by a strike in an overhead line.
  • Bicycle theft – With the addition of bicycle insurance, a replacement is provided if your bicycle is stolen. This only applies in the event that it was in use and parked securely or it was housed in a communal bicycle storage room. If the bike was stored in your own basement, it is covered by household insurance anyway.
  • Broken glass – With this addition you can cover glass damage on windows, doors, glazed furniture, tables, mirrors and even the ceramic hob.
  • Theft from your own car – Items that are stolen from a closed car and cannot be regulated through the car insurance will be replaced. This applies, for example, to sunglasses, but not to electronic devices and valuables.
  • Water damage caused by aquarium – If water leaks out of an aquarium, the resulting damage can be covered by an additional clause.

Finally, it can make sense to include natural hazards such as damage from floods, avalanches or landslides. It should be noted, however, that insurance companies can refuse this additional protection if you live in a floodplain. You can find out more about this in our article on elementary insurance.

Even when you are on vacation, your belongings are insured at the holiday resort up to an upper limit, for example if the suitcase is stolen from the hotel room.

Don’t for get your garden! Include insurance against theft in the garden

Household contents insurance only pays for what is known as burglary, where thieves crack open the door or break a window, for example. If, on the other hand, thieves steal unsecured furniture, lawn mowers or prams from the garden, the injured party often gets empty Fortunately, many insurance companies offer to insure the garden inventory for a small surcharge.

In some cases, the theft protection even includes laundry hung up to dry. After all, an average washing machine load can quickly add up to a few hundred euros in replacement value.

Attention: What does not normally belong in the garden is not insured there either. Anyone who simply leaves children’s toys, cell phones, CDs, barbecue cutlery or dishes from the last garden party lying around outside will not see a cent in the event of damage.

What are the exclusions from Household insurance?

If the additional options mentioned are not selected, they are generally included in the exclusions from benefits. Usually, this also includes the following restrictions, which as a rule cannot be covered by additional agreements.

  • Simple theft and trickery – In contrast to robbery and burglary, theft is not insured without some form of violence.
  • Building components – In contrast to household effects, the building itself is not insured. It also includes specially adapted fitted kitchens.
  • Damage, made possible by open windows and doors – If damage occurs through your own fault, for example due to a tilted window, the costs are not insured. Some insurance companies offer to insure gross negligence. In such a case, however, the damage does not have to be borne in full.
  • Scorch damage – This is included in the insurance as a result of a fire, but not if it is caused independently, for example by a glowing cigarette. Some insurance companies offer additional clauses in this case.

There are also other reasons for benefit restrictions that result from individual decisions made by the insurance company:

  • Long absences: Your home could possibly be classified as a “non-permanently inhabited household” if you are away for a longer period of time. You should therefore contact your insurance company if you are going to be absent for a longer period of time.
  • Withholding information: As an insured person, it is your duty to inform the household insurance company immediately and comprehensively in the event of damage.
  • Insufficient security measures: These are sometimes expected for particularly valuable items, including a safe for valuables. In addition, some household contents insurers prescribe smoke detectors (which have been required by law for a number of years). 
  • Improper use of the heater: If pipe damage occurs as a result of improper maintenance of the heater, the insurance will not cover the damage.

In connection with a case of damage, various kinds of costs arise. In this context, the German Insurance Association (GDV) has drawn up a list of what the household insurance should cover:

  • Transport and storage costs that arise when the insured items have to be stored.
  • Cleaning costs  are paid when the insured items need to be disposed of.
  • Repair costs  for damage to buildings, for example in the event of a break-in or vandalism.
  • Lock change costs  will be covered if keys for the apartment or safe have to be replaced in the course of the insured event.
  • Repair costs for moisture damage , which make it necessary to replace wallpaper, floor coverings, etc. in a rented apartment.
  • Movement and protection  costs may be incurred if other items have to be moved to restore the insured items.
  • Costs for provisional measures that serve to protect the insured items.
  • Guarding costs that arise if an uninhabitable apartment cannot be protected in any other way.
household insurance

For whom household insurance is worthwhile

In principle, household contents insurance makes sense for everyone who is a tenant or owner and wants to protect their home inventory against unforeseeable damage and thus live more carefree. In the event of damage, the insurance will replace the replacement value or the repair of the items. In the event of a fire, the entire home furnishings can quickly be affected. For many this is financially unsustainable.

Calculating the cost of household insurance

The amount of the insurance premium depends on the sum insured, the number of square meters of your apartment and the additional services you want. To avoid underinsurance, which could be detrimental to you in the event of a claim, you should regularly check the total value of your household effects and adjust the sum insured if necessary.

Much more practical than determining the value of the items is to calculate the value of the insurance based on the size of the apartment. Experts recommend 650 euros per square meter here. This then results in the amount of the coverage. If you have hardly any expensive items and only a small amount of inventory, you can also base the sum on the actual value and keep the contribution so low.

You should note that the insurance premium depends not only on the value of the facility and the additional services, but also on your place of residence. The risk of burglary is much higher in a big city than in the country, so home insurance is more expensive there.

How to get household insurance

To ensure that you are properly protected by your home contents insurance, it should be tailored to your personal needs. The range of services offered by the various insurance providers is very similar, so that the additional services in particular are decisive here. If you have recently bought a high-priced bicycle, it is advisable to cover the theft with your household contents insurance – and to a sufficient extent.

The easiest way to compare different providers is to use a comparison calculator, where individual settings can be made and offers from numerous insurance companies are taken into account.

The following information must be provided for this:

  1. First of all, the building type, living space and zip code must be entered.
  2. Then enter your personal data such as your date of birth.
  3. You can now indicate whether you need additional glass insurance, insurance against natural hazards or co-insurance for gross negligence.
  4. Also state whether you have been insured for the past 5 years.

You will then be provided with a list of various providers from which you can choose the right offer. It is also possible to specify the deductible and the term as well as other additional options. You can now conclude the contract directly online or request a free consultation first.

Change and termination

If you are dissatisfied with the value for money of your existing home insurance, you should consider switching. It always makes sense to make regular comparisons in order to find the best offer in the test.

If you have found a better tariff, you must first cancel your existing contract. Pay attention to the notice periods! As a rule, termination is only possible at the end of the insurance year. In addition, you have certain rights to extraordinary extraordinary termination.

If you know which services are particularly important to you, you can enter them quickly and easily in our comparison calculator. This is how you get the best offers at a glance.

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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