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Living in Austria For Members

'Haushaltsversicherung': How does Austria's home insurance work?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
'Haushaltsversicherung': How does Austria's home insurance work?
Apartment buildings in Austria. (Photo: Waldemar Brandt / Pexels)

'Haushaltsversicherung' is one of Austria's most popular types of insurance. It is not mandatory, but it is certainly worth evaluating, especially as it comes with many possible add-ons.

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Austrians are certainly obsessed with insurance coverage, and one of the most popular and common ones is known as the "Haushaltsversicherung"—if you don't have it already, you have certainly heard of it. Here's what you need to know about household insurance.

Firstly, this insurance covers damages to "all movable objects within your own four walls," as Austria's Chamber of Labour (AK) explains. This includes furniture, carpets, and electrical appliances. It would also cover damages caused by fire, storms, water, burglary, and glass breakage. 

Certain types of insurance, such as private liability insurance or mandatory dog liability insurance, are almost always combined with household insurance—another reason why the Haushaltsversicherung is so popular in Austria.

READ ALSO: What kind of insurance do I need to have in Austria?

However, there are enormous differences in premiums and benefits, so experts suggest you check precisely what you need before taking out insurance. The AK also says you should talk to an insurance advisor to learn more about your specific case and needs, particularly if you have any valuables in your home. 

Additionally, they said: "It makes sense to check your policy every few years to ensure that you are properly insured. This guarantees that the sums insured and the risks included are up-to-date and sufficient".

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What should I keep an eye on when reviewing policies?

Of course, different companies have their own offers, and they are often highly customisable to fit your apartment and lifestyle—some things you need to be aware of, though.

Certain policies are tied to the size of your apartment, while others will have a lump sum regardless of the size of your place. Policies also usually differ depending on whether you live in an apartment or a house. 

While most insurance will cover glass breakage (such as when a hail storm breaks your window, for example), some might have it as an add-on (wahlweise mit Glasbruch). 

You may also add other types of insurance to your household insurance, the most common being mandatory dog liability insurance (Hunde-Haftpflicht), legal insurance (Straf-Rechtsschutz), and sports insurance.

READ ALSO: Should I take out insurance before skiing in Austria?

It's worth it to read each policy, but you should know some common clauses beforehand. For example, insurance often won't cover burglary costs if your house has not been properly secured and locked. This might seem obvious, but since door knobs don't open from the outside without the key, people often leave their homes, especially for short errands, and don't lock the doors all the way. Insurance and safety experts recommend you get in the habit of locking your home doors.

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It's also important to check if your insurance will pay you "Neuwert" or "Zeitwert" in case of damage. 

A Neuwert means the insurance will pay for a replacement object, regardless of how old the stolen or broken one was. However, many insurance policies still contain the so-called "Zeitwert", something like "current value", so you wouldn't receive an amount that could pay for a new product. Instead, a loss of value of around 10 percent per year could be expected for most objects.

What should I do if there is damage to my home?

If you see any damage to your home from burglary, accident or other types, you need to notify your insurer immediately and report the damage you have suffered. 

The insurance conditions usually stipulate a maximum period of three days for reporting a claim in property insurance. The Chamber of Labour also recommends that you send a written notification of the claim (preferably by registered mail, they add).

"Make a list of all items that have been destroyed or lost and enclose it with your report to both the insurer and the security authorities", they said. And, of course, in the event of fire burglary or robbery, always inform the fire department or police authorities.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The Austrian insurance for if you get sued - or want to sue someone

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How long does the insurance last, and how much does it cost?

The insurance term is usually specified in the counteract. In general, though, you can terminate it after the third year with one month's notice if the contract has not already expired.

If you move house or move abroad, you can terminate your household insurance contract. You can cancel the insurance the day before the move begins (preferably by registered letter).

If you do not exercise your right of termination, the insurance will remain valid during the move and in the new home.

Regarding prices, they can be as low as a few euros a month (such as insurance specifically tailored to students living in shared flats) to several hundred a month if you have a large place with plenty of valuables or include several add-ons. 

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