The most important insurances for homeowners at a glance

Important insurance for homeowners – If you own your own home or want to build a house, you should take out good insurance. This is because the more real estate you own, the more worries you usually have. Responsibility for burst pipes, defects or damage after a storm is borne by the owner. So that you can sleep soundly, you should take out the right insurance.

Below we present the most important insurance policies for owners. We also clarify which insurance policies make sense for new builds and conversions and which insurance policies make sense for existing properties. We also address the special features of condominiums.

Always remember this rule of thumb when it comes to insurance: only insure what would severely affect you financially in the event of a claim.

New construction and conversion

As the old saying goes, “Where there’s wood, there’s wood shavings” – and this is particularly true when it comes to building houses and renovating properties. Whether it’s a spark, cracks in the ground or a collapsed wall, a lot can happen on a construction site.

It is therefore essential that you protect yourself with builder’s liability insurance. This is particularly important. We also present three other insurance policies for new builds and conversions here:

Builder’s liability insurance

As the client, you are liable for accidents that occur on the construction site during the entire construction period. This also applies to neighbors or passers-by who are injured or whose belongings are destroyed during the construction work. You are liable for any damage caused, regardless of who is at fault.

Builder’s liability insurance protects against financial consequences. This includes passive legal protection, as it can defend against unjustified or exaggerated claims. In addition, risks of liability on the part of architects and craftsmen are also covered.

Although builder’s liability insurance is not mandatory in Switzerland, we strongly recommend that you take out this insurance. It costs on average between 300 and 400 francs for a construction sum of 100,000 francs.

Incidentally, builder’s liability insurance is sometimes included in personal liability insurance. Find out exactly what cover is available here and, if necessary, take out separate builder’s liability insurance.

Construction insurance

In addition to builder’s liability insurance, builder’s risk insurance is also very important for new builds and property conversions. This insurance covers the following losses:

  • Material damage to the property
  • Costs for the search for causes
  • Costs for waste disposal
  • Costs for the removal of toxic residues in the soil
  • Costs for clearing, salvage, earthmoving, demolition and reconstruction
  • Theft of objects that are already connected to the property
  • Burglary

This insurance also protects you against construction delays caused by disputes. It is therefore a kind of fully comprehensive insurance for the construction phase. You can take out this insurance with private insurance companies.

The cost of building insurance depends on the property, location, cover and sum insured. In principle, this insurance is not very expensive. It represents a good investment and is worthwhile even for smaller conversion measures.


Construction insurance also makes sense for architects, site managers and tradespeople. If such insurance already exists, it is possible to take it out together with the experts and share the costs.

Construction period insurance

A building shell is quite sensitive during the construction phase, as the elements can collapse. Both fire and extreme weather such as storms or hail can cause damage. For example, external walls can collapse in windy conditions.

Construction period insurance has the function of building insurance, but is only valid during the construction period. It is mandatory in Swiss cantons with cantonal buildings insurance. But even if it is not compulsory, it is still worthwhile.

Construction period insurance is not mandatory in these cantons:

  • Geneva
  • Ticino
  • Wallis
  • Parts of Appenzell-Innerrhoden

Construction period insurance is normally taken out by the client or the architect. Talk to the experts in good time before you start building to make sure that the protection is in place. This is because you will only receive full insurance cover if the construction project has been registered and the insurance premium paid before work begins.

Construction warranty insurance

Building warranty insurance is not mandatory. However, it protects both the owner of the new property and the entrepreneur. This is because any construction defects during the warranty period are covered by this insurance.

Normally, the contractor is liable for construction defects. However, it is not always clear who is responsible for the defect or how it is to be rectified. Insurance is used in such disputes. It helps to inspect the defects and find a solution together with those involved.

For existing houses and condominiums

If you own your own property, there are a number of insurance policies that come into question. Buildings insurance and buildings liability insurance are particularly important here. Whether you need additional insurance depends on the area, the specifics of your canton and your personal preferences.

For condominium owners, you are part of a community. You therefore pay for important insurance policies such as buildings liability insurance and buildings insurance together. Water insurance, glass insurance and earthquake insurance are also often taken out together.

Alternatively, you can also take out glass insurance yourself. As a condominium owner, you also have the option of choosing additional insurance policies individually. Private legal expenses insurance is particularly recommended, as disputes can arise time and again between landlords and tenants.

Building insurance

Buildings insurance is the essential protection for all homeowners. It should seamlessly follow on from the construction period insurance from the construction phase. This type of insurance protects you against damage caused by fire and natural hazards.

With the exception of the cantons of Geneva, Ticino, Valais and Appenzell-Innerrhoden (excluding Oberegg), buildings insurance is compulsory in Switzerland anyway. However, it is also highly recommended to take out this insurance in the cantons mentioned. After all, fire, lightning, hail, floods, avalanches, storm winds, snow slides, landslides, rockfalls and related events can cause major damage.

In the cantons with compulsory insurance, buildings insurance is provided by a state monopoly insurance company. In the other cantons, this is handled by a private insurance company. The GUSTAVO rule applies: private insurance is possible in Geneva, Uri, Schwyz, Ticino, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Valais and Obwalden. In Uri, Schwyz and Obwalden, private building insurance is even compulsory.


Important: If you wish, buildings insurance can also protect you against glass breakage and theft. It always applies to the building itself. Movable objects such as furniture and the garden are not covered.

Supplementary insurance

In addition to fire and natural hazards, there are other risks to your property. This includes, for example, vandalism, insect damage and damage caused by animals such as rodents, martens and wild animals. If you live in an area where such damage is to be feared, supplementary insurance makes sense. This ensures the repair or reconstruction of the damaged parts of the building.

Building liability insurance

Personal liability insurance is widespread in Switzerland. It protects against accidental damage to a third party or their property. However, personal liability insurance only applies to real estate if it is a single-family home that you live in or an apartment building with a maximum of three apartments, at least one of which you live in yourself.

In all other cases, you will need separate buildings liability insurance. Only then are you protected against claims arising from damage caused by your property. This could be damage caused by falling tiles, for example. Even if someone falls down your stairs, buildings liability insurance will cover them.

Then you should take out separate buildings liability insurance:

  • As part of a community of owners
  • For properties with more than three apartments
  • For non-owner-occupied properties
  • For cases that are not covered by normal liability insurance

Household contents insurance

Household contents insurance is also not compulsory, but highly recommended. In contrast to buildings insurance, which insures all fixed components of the property, this covers movable items. Everything that is not permanently attached to the property is covered by household contents insurance.

This insurance covers damage to furniture, clothing and other valuables caused by fire, water and natural hazards. Household contents insurance also often protects against theft and glass breakage.

As always, you should pay close attention to the details in the insurance policy. The insurance premium should correspond to the total value of your household contents. The replacement value is more important than the current value of your household contents. Keep purchase receipts for this, as these demonstrate the purchase cost of your household goods.

This insurance is very useful for both owners and tenants. Negotiate a low co-payment and consider which supplementary insurances make sense. This insurance is particularly useful if you have valuables and expensive electronics in your home. You need additional insurance for valuable works of art, jewelry and cash.

By the way: In the cantons of Vaud, Nidwalden, Fribourg and Jura, household contents insurance is compulsory as part of insurance against fire and natural hazards.

Building glass insurance

Glass breakage insurance is sometimes included in household contents insurance. Alternatively, breakage insurance can also be an add-on to buildings insurance. Check whether you are already insured against glass breakage. If not, you can take out additional insurance for a small surcharge .

A distinction is made here between furniture glazing and building glazing. Mirrors and table tops made of glass are part of the furniture, while windows, glass doors and conservatories make up the building glazing.

Whether breakage insurance is worthwhile for you depends on how much glass is present on and in your property. Before taking out the contract, also consider how high the risk of breakage is – children playing football in the garden or nesting birds increase the risk.

By the way: In the event of damage, only one insurance company will ever apply. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Document the damage as well as possible and report it to both your household contents and buildings insurance.

Building water insurance

Buildings insurance only covers water damage caused by natural disasters such as flooding or high water. Building water insurance is required for all other water damage. This protects you against damage from defective water pipes and blocked waste water. This insurance also covers damage caused by a leaking roof.

This insurance is not compulsory in Switzerland. It is particularly recommended in older buildings, as pipes can quickly become blocked. This relatively inexpensive insurance is also worthwhile in many other cases.

Building services insurance

More and more buildings contain a lot of technology. This includes, for example, heating, air conditioning, washing machines, kitchen appliances, solar systems and smart home technologies. To protect these, you can take out building services or building technology insurance in addition to buildings insurance.

Surroundings insurance

Do you have a garden that is particularly beautiful and may even contain expensive structural elements? Then it also makes sense to take out environmental insurance. This covers damage on the property, in the garden and on the terrace. This includes storm damage, damage caused by wild animals and damage to the fencing.

Incidentally, damage to movable items such as garden furniture and planters is normally covered by household contents insurance.

Structural elements in the garden, on the other hand, should be protected by perimeter insurance. This could also include a new children’s playground or an expensive garden shed. You only need this insurance if your garden is large, expensive or particularly susceptible to certain risks. For a small, simple front garden, on the other hand, perimeter insurance is not necessary.

Earthquake insurance

Although severe earthquakes occur very rarely in Switzerland, they bring with them a great potential for destruction and damage. As the costs involved can be very high, earthquake insurance makes sense in areas with a risk. This is because cracks in the masonry, structural damage or burst pipes are often not adequately covered by buildings insurance.

Earthquake insurance covers the following losses:

  • Immediate measures and cost of living
  • Costs for experts and emergency repairs
  • Loss of rental income
  • Restoration measures on the property
  • Cleanup costs
  • Earthmoving costs

In cantons with compulsory buildings insurance, earthquake insurance is less important. This is because the “Swiss pool for earthquake cover” with up to two billion francs comes into play here. However, even this is not enough for major earthquakes. Anyone living in an earthquake risk area should therefore also invest in private earthquake insurance. This is especially true for older homes.

Last but not least, legal expenses insurance is also a good investment for homeowners. You should protect yourself with it, especially if you rent out your property. The insurance covers the costs of legal disputes with tenants. You can choose between general legal protection insurance and special landlord legal protection insurance.

Conclusion: protect yourself well

As a homeowner, you should protect yourself well. During construction and conversion work, builder’s liability insurance, construction insurance and construction period insurance are particularly important. You can share some of these costs with the architects or the construction company.

Building insurance is essential for finished properties. This is mandatory almost everywhere in Switzerland anyway. You should also take out buildings liability insurance and household contents insurance, which is also mandatory in some cantons.

You should take out all other types of insurance if there is a risk or if you want to protect particularly expensive items. As a condominium owner, you can share the costs of some of these insurances with the other owners.

Do you have further questions about insurance for homeowners? We will find the right expert for you and your questions in our partner network – just get in touch!

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All data are without guarantee. The information on these Internet pages has been carefully researched. Nevertheless, no liability can be assumed for the accuracy of the information provided.

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