Housing

23 January 2019

Protect your home

As a homeowner you are exposed to certain risks: fire, water damage, etc. It is therefore very important that you protect your home and its contents. To cover these risks you can take out fire insurance, which we refer to as home insurance..

Are you obliged to insure your property?

Have you bought a house or an apartment and are wondering whether you are obliged to take out home insurance? It all depends on how you financed your home. If you bought it with your own money, without borrowing anything from the bank, you do not have to take out insurance. However, it is still worth thinking about the risks to which you are exposed. Without insurance, you would have to pay for any damage to your home and its contents yourself!

On the other hand, if you take out a mortgage loan when you buy your home, the bank will ask you to take out an insurance policy. Without this insurance you will not get a loan. However, you may take out this insurance with a company of your choice.

What does your home insurance cover?

Before taking out home insurance, it is best to analyse your personal situation to determine your needs. Take your time to compare the different quotes, both in terms of price and the level of cover.

Basic cover

The law prescribes minimum risks that must be covered by home insurance. These include risks resulting from fire, natural disasters, explosions, storms and so on. This cover applies to both your home and your household effects (if you have also insured your household effects).

Useful information: Theft and vandalism are not included in the basic cover. You can choose to extend your home insurance so that you are also protected against such risks.

Homeowner’s civil liability

You are responsible for damage to your home and also any damage caused to third parties, such as your neighbour. Say, for example, there is a fire in your home and your neighbour’s home is also damaged. He will be compensated for the damage he suffers under your fire insurance policy. Your basic contract may also cover family civil liability, but this is not automatic! You therefore need to pay close attention to what is covered under your insurance policy.

Is your home part of a jointly owned property?

You may be covered by a ‘global policy’ taken out by the managing agent of the jointly owned property. This is paid for by all owners, based on their share in the jointly owned property. Both communal and private parts of the building may be covered. However, please be aware that this insurance does not necessarily cover the entire contents of your home. Ask for information about the extent of the cover to avoid being over- or underinsured.

What is the value to be insured?

You must insure your home for its new-for-old value (= the cost of rebuilding the property, if necessary). To help you determine the value to be insured, insurers use an evaluation grid. You must indicate the number of rooms and, depending on the insurance company, the standard of the finishing or the surface area. The contents of your home must also be insured for their fair value. This list can help you (French list). These valuations will prevent you from being underinsured.

Note

Renovations increase the value of your home. Your insurance cover must therefore be adjusted to make sure you are not underinsured.

What if you rent out your home?

If you are renting out your home, ask your tenant to take out tenant liability insurance. You can even include this as a condition in the rental agreement. If the tenant causes damage to your home, this will be covered by his insurance. This does not prevent you from taking out insurance yourself, as a non-resident owner. Such insurance will cover any damage to your home (building) and the household effects that you own.

Would you like to find out more?

Find out about our home insurance for ownersMake an appointment at an ING branch for more information or contact an ING advisor on +32 2 464 60 04.

3 tips to remember
  • Compare the price and content of insurance contracts before taking out home insurance.
  • Find out about the extent of your insurance cover and, if necessary, ask for this to be extended (theft, civil liability, etc.).
  • Check your insurance policies regularly and adjust them according to your situation (for example, after a renovation).