The Brown family has lived in Switzerland for almost a year. In order to get to know the country and its people better, Mr and Mrs Brown buy touring bikes for themselves and their two children in the spring. They initially plan to explore the area in which they live and then, in a second step, to go on weekend cycling trips throughout Switzerland.
But they don't get that far. A few weeks after they buy the bikes, their garage is broken into and the brand-new bicycles are stolen. They are very angry. But they are even more relieved that the financial loss will be limited. After moving to Switzerland, Mr and Mrs Brown took out household contents insurance. If your house is burgled and bicycles or other objects are stolen, the household contents insurance will pay the replacement value of the stolen objects.
Set up insurances
Daniel Ahmeti and his team of professional insurance advisers at Helvetia are here to offer comprehensive insurance advice tailored to the needs of international people living in Switzerland.
Check the sum insured
However, the insurance will only pay the full purchase price if the sum insured of the household contents insurance corresponds to at least the total value of the household contents. If the value of the furniture, clothes, electronic devices, bicycles etc. is higher than the insured value, this amounts to under-insurance. In this case, the insurance company can reduce the sum to be paid out accordingly. For example, if the total value of the household contents of a family of four is CHF 200,000 and the sum insured is only CHF 150,000, the insurance company is only required to pay 75% of the loss incurred in the event of a break-in. In this example, if objects worth CHF 5,000 are stolen, the victim will only receive CHF 3,750. In order to avoid underinsurance, it is a good idea to regularly check the sum insured together with your insurance advisor and to adjust it if necessary. This is particularly important after major purchases, such as a new sofa or bicycles for the whole family.
What is "simple theft off premises"?
If the Brown family's bicycles had been stolen while they were on a trip — for example if the family was in a restaurant enjoying a snack —they would have needed a supplementary clause stating "simple theft off-premises" in their household contents insurance in order for the insurance company to cover the loss. Many policyholders have included a clause of this type. The amount of cover should be chosen in line with the value of the bicycles. We recommend checking your individual policy with your insurance advisor in order to find the ideal solution.
Photo: © iStock