Home Household Insurance
Home insurance

Many people assume that fire insurance is a legal requirement, probably because almost everyone has a policy of this kind. However, it is not imposed by law. Nowadays it tends to be referred to as home insurance as it covers far more than fire alone. This is why we are looking at the extent of this type of insurance in more detail.

Who imposes the obligation?
You are not obliged by law to insure your home. The obligation is often imposed by others. Lenders who are providing you with a mortgage will require you to insure the building against various risks, so that they can be confident to recover the value of your credit. Even if you are renting the rental agreement will usually require you to take out fire insurance cover.


Designed for owners and lessees
It is obvious that a property owner will take out insurance cover to protect his asset. However, it is also in the interest of those renting a property to arrange fire insurance cover. After all, the Civic Code states that a lessee must maintain the property and return it to the owner when the rental period expires in the condition it was in when he moved in. As a lessee you can in principle be held liable in the event of a fire or explosion. It is not easy to evade this contractual liability. You can only evade it if you can prove that the damage was caused by an Act of God or a defect in the building or was caused by a liable third party (e.g. the neighbour above you has a leak, which causes damage in the apartment you are renting).
Without home insurance you as the lessee are threatened not only with losing the roof over your head but also with the liability for the owner's loss of property.
Consequently it is quite normal for rented property to be covered by two fire policies, one taken out by the owner to cover his asset and one taken out by the lessee to cover his liability and his home contents.


Extent of the sum insured?
After a fire the owner must be able to rebuild his property. Hence the need to insure a rebuilding value or so called ‘new value'.
Are you a lessee? In that case you can only be held liable for the value of the property at the time the damage was inflicted. That is the actual value, which is equivalent to the new value, taking into account a possible reduction in value due to wear and tear.
With home insurance you not only insure the building but also your furniture, clothes and other personal effects. Together they are referred to as the ‘contents'. In order to insure the contents you should ask yourself: "What would it cost to buy everything new?" It is advisable to insure the contents on the basis of the new value, although the insurer will apply the principle of wear and tear to a number of items.

Tip: Make an inventory of your possessions in the house. Ask your insurance representative for a reference summary of items commonly found in a house. Calculate how much it would cost to replace it now and you will be surprised by the size of the amount.

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