Lexicon of household insurance
Anyone who wants to protect their belongings with household insurance should definitely read the fine print. But few people understand the technical jargon used by insurance companies. With these tips, you'll know what to look out for.
Lexicon for household insurance
Outdoor insurance: Your household contents are also insured outside the home if they are temporarily located there, for example in a hotel room or in a vehicle. But be careful: The contracts differ in details and often set an upper limit for the external insurance.
Coverage amount: Your household contents will be replaced up to this maximum amount. And: If the actual replacement value of your belongings is higher than the agreed sum, the insurer will reduce the benefit on a percentage basis, even if you only report a small loss. You can agree on an underinsurance waiver: Then you have to take out a lump sum coverage per square meter, usually 650 euros. If the value of your household goods is clearly above or below this, you should determine it yourself. Stiftung Warentest, for example, provides a table for this purpose.
Elementary damage: Flooding, backwater, earthquake, subsidence and snow load are not automatically included in the household insurance, but must be selected separately. This is where the natural hazard insurance usually steps in.
Negligence: Gross negligence is, for example, who leaves the window tilted when leaving the house. In this case, the insurer is allowed to reduce its benefits on a percentage basis, depending on the degree of fault. Therefore: agree in the contract to waive the defense of gross negligence. Attention: With some insurers this waiver is only valid up to a certain amount of damage.
Bicycle: You can insure a bicycle with a special bicycle insurance or as an add-on in the household insurance. Otherwise, it will only be replaced if it is stolen from a locked room used alone. However, inclusion in the household insurance is often relatively expensive. Try it out for your location with an online rate calculator. Caution: Some insurers exclude protection between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Pitfalls: Report any increase in risk to your insurer - for example, if scaffolding is erected on your house for an extended period of time or if you travel for a long time.
Glass: Can be added, such as a bicycle or water damage (aquarium). However, it is not recommended, since the damages are usually not existentially threatening. If you want, you should rather take out an additional glass insurance.
Household contents: Furniture, household items, clothing, even borrowed items are insured - always at replacement value. Valuables are only replaced up to certain upper limits. Household contents are not only covered in the house or apartment, but also on terraces, in garages or cellars. The insurance also reimburses clean-up, storage or hotel costs.
Children: Their household contents are still insured (via the external insurance) if they move out for training or studies.
Fine print: Be sure to read it! Home contents insurance is not a standard product; the contracts often differ in details.
Costs: Depend on the size of the apartment, place of residence and additional insurances. An 80-square-meter apartment in Coburg can be insured (without add-ons, without deductibles) for about 31 euros per year, in Hamburg it's just under 14 euros more. If you add a bicycle for 1,000 euros, it costs sometimes 15 euros, sometimes 36 euros more with the same company.
In the event of damage, the injured party has obligations. Namely, prevent the damage from becoming even greater (damage that occurs is compensated without deductible), and report it immediately (usually within two weeks). If you are dissatisfied with the claims settlement, you can contact the insurance ombudsman.
Deductible: It lowers the premium - and prevents you from reporting small claims too often (because that risks cancellation of the contract by the insurer).
Rate search: Internet portals are convenient, but they never list all insurers - the big ones are often missing. Better: Stiftung Warentest offers an individual comparison for 7.50 euros, and the Hamburg consumer center, for example, offers 30 minutes of insurance advice for 40 euros. The Bund der Versicherten also offers an individual rate evaluation for 60 euros a year.
Switch: With old contracts it can be worthwhile. Because the younger policies are often better with overvoltage damages, valuables upper limits or water damages.
Move: Be sure to notify the insurance company beforehand! During the move, the insurance coverage applies to both apartments - and, if necessary, for up to three months.
How do you determine the appropriate value of your household goods?
Keep purchase receipts well
The loss of valuable items always creates problems: The insured must prove what was stolen or destroyed - and what it was worth. Therefore, you should keep the purchase receipts of all expensive things. Few do this consistently.
Document your entire household contents this way, and with open cabinets and drawers. Really everything! And if you buy something new later: photograph it right away.
Save files securely
Store these recordings best digitally in the cloud or on a USB stick outside your household, with relatives, friends.
Keep alternative proofs
Bank statements or credit card statements are also perfectly fine as proof.
Those who have inherited precious items or received them as gifts generally do not have a bill. Jewelry and coins can be appraised by a jeweler. Antique dealers can help with old furniture, pictures or porcelain. These appraisals should also be kept outside the home.
The Federal Court of Justice has ruled that in an emergency, witness statements can also serve as evidence. It always depends on the plausibility, i.e.: Does the insurer or in case of dispute the judge believe your statements? The Rolex in a student dormitory is not plausible, but in an expensive villa it is.