German real estate is divided into two categories depending on its purpose: residential and commercial. There are also various insurance needs for these two types of real estate. Today we are talking mainly about home insurance, namely “home insurance” (Wohngebäudevesicherung) and “family property insurance” (Hausratversicherung).
1. Do I have to insure housing in Germany?
В прошлом немецкое законодательство требовало, чтобы владельцы приобретали «страховку жилья». Теперь, хотя закон больше не требует от владельцев приобретения страховки, большинство владельцев по-прежнему выбирают страховку для защиты своей собственности.
2. Why buy insurance?
Firstly, there is always the risk of natural and man-made incidents. Fire, storms, hail, lightning strikes, explosions of water heaters, gas explosions and even plane crashes can lead to huge and irreversible loss of property inside the dwelling and the property itself.
Secondly, there is a certain risk of burglary. This is especially true for detached houses for one or two families.
Of course, the likelihood of such accidents varies from country to country, from region to region, and depends on the climatic conditions, the location of housing in the city and the social situation. Insurance companies always evaluate and carefully calculate such risks when determining the insurance tariff. Thus, if you live in a quiet and secure area, where natural disasters occur very rarely, insurance will cost you a relatively small amount.
Insurance is a preventive measure that helps owners pay for cleaning, repairs, and even home renovation in case of accidents.
3. What are the different types of insurance?
We mentioned “home insurance” and “family property insurance”. These two types of insurance complement each other and are the most common type of home insurance in Germany. The main object of "housing insurance" is the house itself or apartment. “Family Property Insurance” protects property inside the dwelling.
For example, lightning strikes can cause a fire in a house. "Home insurance" compensates for the repair of walls damaged during a fire. “Family Property Insurance” compensates for furniture and decorations in the house. However, if it is a fire caused by personal negligence, compensation cannot be obtained.
For owners living, for example, on shore, in the mountains or in earthquake-prone areas, the insurance company also provides special insurance against natural disasters (Elementarschadenversicherung) in case of flooding, earthquake or avalanche.
Germany is a country with few natural disasters. According to data published by the Institute for the Environment and Human Security, Germany is one of the few countries in the world that is virtually free from natural disasters.
Depending on the different housing conditions and needs of the owners, the insurance company will also provide different standards for quotations, and you will need to look at the offers and choose the most suitable one.
4. Other measures to ensure the safety of housing
In addition to insurance, there are other practical precautions that can protect housing and property. For example, regular maintenance and overhaul of home waterproofing, electrical circuits, etc., as well as the installation of a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher.
Smoke Alarm (Rauchmelder)
Of the 18 federal states of Germany, 16 have introduced mandatory rules for the installation of smoke alarms in residential buildings. In the federal state of Saxony, starting in 2012, all new houses should be equipped with a smoke alarm immediately during construction, and housing in old houses should be provided with alarms since 2016.
If the owner does not install or remove smoke alarms, the insurance company may reduce the amount of compensation or even refuse compensation after a fire.
If a fire is not detected or not extinguished in time due to partial dismantling or breakage of the smoke alarm and if it caused human casualties, the owners of such housing will be fined up to 50,000 euros or imprisonment for up to 5 years.
Burglar Alarm and Burglary Protection (Einbruchschutz)
In Germany, various types of protection against hacking are quite common. For valuables, owners also purchase safes. Standard security alarm alerts the police about unauthorized entry into the home. In other words, if the entrance door or window was opened, but the alarm was not deactivated by the owner using a special code or a fingerprint, the system recognizes this as penetration into the dwelling. Sometimes, motion sensors, volume sensors and special alerts for the owner via mobile communication or the Internet are additionally used.