You have just acquired a villa, a building or an apartment. A building, even in perfect condition, is never safe from damage. What are the potential risks and the possibilities of insurance coverage?
Fire cover obviously includes damage from fire, but also claims from smoke, explosions and lightning. Natural damage such as high water, floods, storms, hail, avalanches, etc, are covered by fire insurance. Fire insurance is compulsory in most Swiss cantons, but Geneva and Valais leave it up to the owners to choose their insurance and the insurance company. In the canton of Vaud fire insurance is compulsory and is concluded with the Etablissement cantonal which holds the monopoly.
In the event of a loss, the occupants of a rental property may be excused from paying their rent. On the other hand, the bank that granted a mortgage will not give away the interest. Loss of rental income insurance therefore helps to protect against this risk.
The owner of a building is liable for damage caused by construction or maintenance defects, even through no fault of their own. Liability insurance (TPL) compensates the injured party (personal injury or property damage) and defends the owner against unjustified benefits. Indispensable insurance with modest premium for claims that can turn out to be substantial.
The private homeowner is covered by his private liability insurance (PLI) as long as there are no more than 3 apartments.
When a new construction (conversion or renovation), the conclusion of a civil liability insurance of the owner, as well as a construction works insurance is recommended. They are concluded for the duration of the work only. However, legal protection insurance as owner or co-owner of a property may be sensible.
A building insurance policy taken out by the community of all the co-owners covers them. On the other hand, each co-owner must personally insure the property improvements in his or her apartment.
The sum insured should be in line with the cost of constructing an equivalent new building.
In this regard, private companies offer a free estimate through the Bureau d’Estimation des Bâtiments – (Geneva and Valais). It is necessary to ask for several offers, compare them and carefully examine the general insurance conditions. It is also possible to contact an insurance intermediary approved by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). Some real estate companies, such as Comptoir Immobilier, have a broker specializing in real estate insurance.
In conclusion, the best insurance is the one that the owner will contract following appropriate advice!
Responsible for the Insurance Department at Comptoir Immobilier SA – FINMA N° 34900
More than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry
Federal diploma and senior expert for the AFA (Association pour la formation professionnelle en assurance)