Home insurance

Home insurance is an umbrella term that covers a range of insurance policies that relate to your home, whether you are a homeowner or you rent. A homeowner can take out buildings and contents insurance separately, but in some cases it makes more sense to opt for home insurance to cover all areas and potentially gain a discount from the insurer.

    man vergelijkt woonverzekering achter zijn laptop

    What is home insurance?

    Home insurance is a combination policy that covers the various risks related to your home. It often concerns non-life insurance, buildings insurance, household content insurance, and compensation for damage to the home. It is often referred to as a combined home and contents. With some insurers, home insurance is more extensive and also includes liability insurance.

    Let’s break down the different types of home insurance:

    Contents insurance

    Contents insurance protects you against financial losses that are a result of damage to or theft of your belongings in the home. This includes all items present in the home, from damage to your computer, sofa, TV, and other items. Various forms of damage are covered, including fire damage, water damage, storms, or burglary.

    Home contents insurance →

    Buildings insurance

    Buildings insurance covers damage to the building and the structure of the property, and not any damage to the contents. It concerns items that are part of the home and are attached to the home. For example, an oven built into the kitchen is part of the building. A free-standing oven that can be moved falls under the contents and not under the building.

    Buildings insurance →

    Glass insurance

    This insurance covers glass damage to windows, glass doors and sometimes also glass furniture or screens. There is often a high deductible due to the chances of glass damage. The person that breaks the glass is liable in most cases, unless you are responsible for accidentally damaging glass. Always check the small print of the insurance policy.

    Fire and fire safety insurance

    A house fire is a nightmare that no one wants to experience. Unfortunately, they are common. In the Netherlands, fire insurance is part of home insurance. This coverage concerns damage due to fire, but also smoke and water damage. The premium is determined on the basis of risk, such as a higher risk for a thatched roof.

    • The impact of VvE when discussing fire safety insurance

      When you buy an apartment in the Netherlands you automatically become part of a owners’ association (Vereniging van Eigenaren - VvE). This gives you a shared ownership of the building. The VvE takes out buildings insurance for the entire building, including any private apartments. The tenant never has to take out home insurance.

    • Contents and fire safety insurance

      Buildings insurance will only compensate for damage to the buildings and not, for example, to the furniture or jewelry in an apartment. For this, the resident needs home contents insurance. Every resident or tenant can take out such a contents insurance policy. The landlord never has to take out home contents insurance for his tenant.

    Compare home insurance

    It can be difficult to compare home insurance policies, as every insurer offers different compositions and premiums. When comparing home insurance policies you must look at all aspects of the policy, not just the price.Sometimes, it makes sense to bundle policies together in one place, but other times it might be better to take out individual policies.

    Points to consider when comparing home insurance policies

    When comparing home insurance policies, you should pay attention to:

    • The premium to be paid

    • The excess

    • The covered risks

    • The maximum damage payments

    • Whether or not there is a guarantee against underinsurance

    There is an important distinction between tenants and owner-occupiers. Tenants only need contents insurance, while owner-occupiers must take out both buildings and contents insurance. It is important to pay attention to what is and what is not covered.

    Home insurance costs

    The cost of home insurance depends on various factors, such as the family composition, where the house is located, et cetera. Different factors play a role for each part of the home insurance policy, such as income or age.

    Contents insuranceBuildings insuranceLiability insurance
    Family compositionSize of the houseFamily situation
    Date of birthType of houseInsured amounts
    Net monthly incomeLocationExcess
    LocationExterior wall materialExclusions and Limitations
    Size of the houseFeatures of the roof
    Type of houseType of foundation
    Any valuablesType of insurance (e.g. allrisk)
    Present securityAdditional coverages
    Additional coveragesExcess

    Switch to another home insurance policy

    Switching to another home insurance policy can be done on the expiry date of the insurance or afterwards, with a notice period of one month. In some situations, such as when you move house, it is easier to switch to a different home insurance policy. Make sure there is no day uncovered and that the new and old policies fit together with no gap.

    Time to switch home insurance

    An insurance policy will often have a term of one year, after which it is naturally extended. It is not possible to switch within the first year, but after this you can do so with a notice period of one month. This is called the general rule. There are some exceptions to this, where you can terminate your home insurance policy.

    Exceptions to the general rule

    In these cases you can cancel the insurance at any time and switch to a different insurer. This could be due to mutual consultation with the insurer, even if there has been a previous agreement otherwise. The insurance can also be terminated at the time of sale of the home, as the contents move to a different building but the buildings insurance is no longer relevant.

    Many insurance contracts contain a so-called amendment clause, a clause that gives the insurer the right to change the conditions or the premium. If there is a question of a premium increase or of drastic and adverse changes to the premium conditions, the insurance that changes can be canceled. You must do this on time.

    SituationPossibility to terminate home insurance
    Within the first year after taking out the home insurance policyNo
    First anniversary of the policyYes (as long as 1 month notice has been given)
    After the expiration date of the policyYes (1 month notice)
    Sale of the houseHome insurance can be terminated at the time of sale
    Cohabitation (both partners already have insurance)Inquire with the insurer
    Premium increase or changes to the premium conditionsYes (1 month notice)

    Termination by court

    Conflict may arise between you and the insurer. If this cannot be resolved it may be taken to court. The court will then decide to terminate or annul the insurance contract, but only in exceptional circumstances such as deception. Legal assistance insurance will help in these cases, although purely a difference of opinion with your insurer is unlikely to be covered.

    Save on home insurance

    There are many ways to save on home insurance. The best way to do so is to tailor your policy to suit your specific home, contents, and personal needs. There are other ways too, such as increasing the deductible or investing in security for the home. Switching policies is also a way to gain more favourable rates.

    How to save money on home insurance

    Below are some of the main ways in which you can save money on your home insurance policy:

    Increase deductible

    In the event of a claim, the insured will have to pay more damage themselves and the insurer will also pay less. Choose an excess that is financially easier to bear, but don't go to low. An excess of 0 Euro is rarely attractive due to the higher premium. Moreover, there are often exceptions for storm damage, for example.

    Package discount

    There is often a package discount with home insurance options. With some insurers, the discount package increases the more policies are added. When you consider the addition of legal insurance or travel insurance, as two examples, a total premium discount of 3% is certainly not unrealistic. It might still be cheaper to go with individual policies.

    Choose the right coverage

    There are two types of home insurance: extra comprehensive home insurance and all-risk home insurance. The extra comprehensive is actually less extensive than all-risk home insurance policies. Extra coverage such as glass damage often comes with a higher premium, and a new window is often affordable, so this is coverage you might not need.

    Pay the annual premium immediately

    Paying for the whole year up front can sometimes mean you are rewarded with a discount. There are different discount rates between different insurers, but you can expect up to 3% in some cases. For the average home insurance policy in the Netherlands, this would be around €15 per year.

    Choose student insurance

    If you rent a student room, you do need insurance. Specialised student insurance policies are usually cheaper than traditional insurance policies. Always check different insurers to find the right type of student home insurance to suit your needs.

    Compare home insurance

    Each insurer has specific formulas to work out different incomes. That is why it is always important to compare home insurance to save money. You should continue to compare after taking out insurance, as it might make sense to switch home insurance in the future, especially if you are renovating the home or have new family members.

    Negotiate with the insurer

    Negotiating with your insurer could lead to a discount. Many insurers give discounts to loyal customers or those who take out package policies. You can also negotiate the premium if you have found cheaper insurance elsewhere, or with several insurers at once to get the best deal. Always be realistic and understand the specific terms and conditions.

    Invest in extra security

    Some discounts are offered (sometimes up to 20%) on contents insurance if the home has high levels of security, as the risk of burglary damage (in Dutch) decreases significantly. The insured must have the PKVW quality mark (Politiekeurmerk Veilig Wonen) (in Dutch) or the BORG certificate. Other discounts may be applied if a home alarm is connected to an emergency centre.

    Frequently asked questions about home insurance

    What is covered by buildings insurance?

    Buildings insurance covers the house and everything that is firmly attached to the house. For example, it concerns the roof, the walls, a built-in bathroom and so on. This ‘nail-fastness’ condition is the most important criteria and is also used for floors. For example: loose floors and carpets that are not fixed nail-tight are not covered by home insurance.

    What is covered by home contents insurance?

    Contents insurance is the counterpart of buildings insurance. It concerns everything that is in the house and is not nail-proof. This concerns, for example, the chairs, cupboards, crockery, loose carpets and so on. Home contents insurance often also provides cover for garden furniture that can be taken inside.

    What is not covered by the home and contents insurance?

    Each insurer has its own exclusions. It often concerns events that would cause so much damage that it is impossible even for an insurer to compensate for the damage. This concerns, for example, wars, uprisings, earthquakes and damage caused by nuclear reactions. In addition, there are often exclusions for risks that are so great that the premium must be sky-high to make it economically viable. This concerns, for example, floods.

    Is home insurance compulsory?

    Not legally, but contractually it may be that some parts of the home insurance are mandatory. For example, mortgage lenders often require you to take out home insurance. Landlords often require landlords to take out home contents insurance. However, even if it is not mandatory, taking out home insurance is still recommended.

    Can I take out home insurance as a tenant?

    The tenant does not have ownership rights over the structures and therefore cannot insure themselves for this. The tenant can, however, insure their liability, such as liability for fire damage, or their own household effects. The landlord must take out buildings insurance. They take out the insurance separately. However, it may be an option to speak to the same insurer to ensure all policies are better aligned.

    Is the foundation insured everywhere?

    No. The foundation is insured with most insurers, but not all insurers include it. Sometimes it is possible to take out separate insurance for this. Always read the terms and conditions or request additional information.

    Can another home insurer refuse me?

    Yes. A home insurer may have good reasons for this. Consider, for example, an insured person who lied in their previous applications. Some insurers also do not insure old buildings or houses with a thatched roof because of the increased risk. That is why it is important to first find a new home insurer before canceling the old insurance policy.

    What are the PKVW (The Politie Keurmerk Veilig Wonen) requirements?

    There are two sets of requirements, one for existing homes and one for new homes. After a detailed study, an expert must indicate which adjustments need to be made. In principle, this involves placing smoke detectors in the right places, providing lighting on the outside doors, limiting the view of burglars and the presence of certified hardware.

    Do I get a discount for burglary protection with every insurer?

    No. More and more insurers are phasing out this discount. There are already a number of insurers that no longer offer the discount. With some insurers it is even an obligation for valuable household effects. Otherwise they do not insure.

    Am I insured if I do not have a smoke detector(s)?

    Smoke detectors are required in the home by law. However, if you do not have smoke detectors, this will not affect your home insurance at this time. The insurers currently continue to provide cover for fire damage. This is the case with all major insurers. In case of fire damage without smoke detectors, compensation is still paid. However, it is possible that this will be dealt with more strictly in the future.

    Does the insurer also pay for the fire damage if the house was rented out via Airbnb?

    Hosting through Airbnb can be problematic. Many home insurance policies do not reimburse damage if the damage was not caused privately. Hosting on Airbnb is often not considered purely private. Some insurers, such as Nationale Nederlanden, do provide cover for short-term rentals, for example via Airbnb.