Is home insurance mandatory?

Are you going to rent a house or have you bought one? Congratulations! You can take out home insurance in order to protect your new home as well as possible. But is this insurance actually mandatory? And is there a difference between an insurance for owners and tenants?

Home or fire insurance? What's in a name?

Is there a difference between home insurance and fire insurance? No, it's the same insurance. These two terms are regularly used interchangeably, but they both refer to the same type of insurance.

The home insurance protects the home against damage such as fire, natural disasters and water. It can also cover your liability as a tenant. Legal assistance, content and theft are additional options that you can take as owner and tenant, and are therefore not in the basic cover as standard.

Home insurance for owners

By law, home insurance is not compulsory, but owners often cannot ignore it in practice. With a mortgage application, most banks require you to take out home insurance as well. Your property serves as collateral for the loan you receive. The bank wants certainty that your property always remains in good condition and therefore retains its value in the event that you cannot repay the loan. Indeed, you may take out home insurance where you want.

Even if you bought a home with your own funds, and therefore no loan has been taken out with a bank, it is recommended to take out home insurance. This insurance also covers storms and flooding. Without this, you would have to pay for possible damage to your home and any household effects yourself Moreover: also if your neighbours suffer damage due to an incident in your home, it will be covered by your home insurance. For example, a water leak in your apartment may damage several other apartments.

 Did you buy a house or apartment with the intention of renting it out? Don't forget that since 2019 it has been compulsory in Flanders for both the landlord and the tenant to take out home insurance.

Home insurance for tenants

Everything that has to do with renting is currently governed by the regional authorities. The place where you live determines whether or not home insurance is compulsory.

Are you renting, or wish to rent, a property in Flanders or Wallonia?

You should therefore be aware that both Wallonia and Flanders made home insurance compulsory for each new lease in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In the Brussels Region, this is not the case (for the time being). However, most owners there demand in the contract that the tenant arrange home insurance for any damage he may cause himself or that is the result of a claim. In Brussels, home insurance is therefore not a legal obligation, but usually a de facto one.

Whether you buy or rent a property

It is best to take out home insurance. Discover ING's home insurance policies