Almost everyone should take out household contents insurance. It offers protection against a high financial loss that can quickly occur as a result of events such as fire or a burst water pipe. Stiftung Warentest has compared the conditions of many household insurance policies. These household contents insurances are the cheapest and still offer sufficient protection.
This is what home insurance protects
Household contents insurance literally protects all moveable goods within an apartment or house. Put simply, it covers all items and gadgets that you might take with you when moving to a new home. However, damage to the building itself is not insured and would have to be covered by residential building insurance. E-bikes can also be partially covered by household contents insurance. However, this depends on the exact conditions of the respective policy and the maximum amount of damage for which it is insured. Alternatively, owners of high-quality bicycles should consider bicycle insurance.
However, not all forms of damage are covered by every tariff. Base rates typically include four major types of damage. These include burglaries, which insure if valuables are damaged or stolen during a theft. Damage where thieves do not have to overcome an obstacle, such as an open patio door, is not insured. Fires are also insured, but they must be flames. Damage caused by scorching, such as that caused by a forgotten iron, is not one of them. However, there are explosions that can be triggered by gas bottles or even World War II bombs. Line leaks, as known from the classic burst water pipe, are also secured. Lines and pipes, as well as connected devices, including washing machines, are protected. In some, but not all cases, waterbeds and aquariums may also be insured.
Fires cause high financial damage – a household contents insurance protects you from this
Natural hazards are not automatically insured
Storm and hail are often only included in household insurance policies from wind force 8 onwards. The insurance covers damage such as a sudden hole in the roof, where water enters the living space and damages objects. Not, however, if the intruding water came from an open window that was not closed during the storm. Most base plans have no protection against natural hazards, meaning they don't cover earthquakes or floods. With most insurers, however, it is possible to insure yourself against natural hazards for 10 to 20 euros per year. To determine the probability of natural hazards, insurers use a zoning system with risk zones ranging from Zürs 1 to Zürs 4. Some providers will not accept customers in areas with probable natural disasters.
That is why home contents insurance makes sense
There is simply no guarantee that you can protect yourself from damage. There can be hundreds of reasons why there is a high level of property damage to your own facility. Be it a fire or a burst water pipe that damages a lot of your property. In such situations, the hassle is great, but it's even greater when you have to replace everything out of your own pocket. Household contents insurance steps in in such cases of damage and replaces the value of the facility up to the rates agreed in the policy.
The amount of damage up to which insurance is worthwhile often depends on the size of the owner-occupied home. An entire house has significantly more rooms and therefore more household goods that benefit from insurance than a small apartment. However, not every small damage should be reported to the insurance company. Because after every claim, both the insured and the insurer have the right to terminate the contract. If claims accumulate and the insurer terminates the contract, this information ends up in the information registers of the insurers. Some household insurance companies may not accept you as a new customer or offer you significantly worse conditions.
The amount of insurance you choose is important
When choosing your household contents insurance, you should be aware of how much your entire household contents are actually worth. Here it can be advisable to get detailed advice, since a concrete estimate of all the factual content in the house is often difficult to assess. If the policy covers damage of up to 30,000 euros, but the entire household contents have a value of 60,000 euros, this has a negative effect in the event of damage. Even if, for example, stolen jewelery worth 5,000 euros would theoretically be within the sum insured, the insurer will only reimburse 2,500 euros in such a case, since only half of the total value is considered insured.
In the event of underinsurance, the damage will not be fully compensated
To avoid this, you can use an insurance policy with a underinsurance waiver. In most cases, the sum insured is 650 euros per square meter of living space. Such flat rates are useful, but can be under-utilized in crowded homes. In these cases, it is worthwhile to determine the exact value of the household effects yourself. Stiftung Warentest has provided a list for determining the value.
Household contents insurance: Find the cheapest policy
Which insurance policy is best for you depends on various factors. For example, if you want bikes included in your insurance, some plans may be more worthwhile than other base plans, even though the monthly cost is slightly higher. For most households, the conclusion of a basic tariff is sufficient for protection. However, if you have particularly valuable possessions, you should find out about the performance options of expensive tariffs.
It is also important how old your current insurance policy is. Insurance policies that are several decades old often offer worse conditions than newer offers. If in doubt, it is therefore worth comparing the small print of the current insurance contract with options from newer ones. Switching can save you money or provide higher insurance coverage.
Stiftung Warentest used two examples to select the cheapest tariffs. One case was located in Jena, an area with low risk factors. The other model case was determined for Krefeld as a representative of cities with a high risk.
Test winner for low-risk areas: Docura
The “Start” tariff from the insurer Docura was the test winner at Stiftung Warentest for areas with a low risk. For him, 52 euros are due in the annual amount. A monthly premium of EUR 75 is required to insure against additional natural hazards. In the event of damage caused by such natural events, the insurer provides for a deductible of one percent of the sum insured. With an insured sum of 65,000, for example, that would be 650 euros. However, the insurer provides for a deductible of at least 500 euros and a maximum of 1,500 euros.
Inexpensive household contents insurance with protection against natural hazards: Waldenburger
In addition to the Docura, the premium package from Waldenburg from 54 euros per year also achieved a good overall result. If you add additional protection against natural hazards, this will only cost you 66 euros per year in low-risk areas. In this tariff, it is therefore cheaper than the Docura. However, in the case of natural hazards, it provides for a deductible of 10 percent of the sum insured. The minimum deductible is 250 euros, the maximum is 2,500 euros. Despite the more expensive annual fee, the Docura can therefore make more sense in the event of damage.
Test winner for high-risk areas: Huk24
The test winner at Stiftung Warentest for high-risk areas was the “Basic” tariff from the insurer Huk24. You can take out this for around 83 euros a year. For additional protection against natural hazards, you have to pay an annual fee of 99 euros. In return, the insurance does not provide for a percentage deductible for damage caused by natural hazards, but a flat-rate deductible of around 500 euros.
Cheapest household contents insurance with natural hazards in risk areas: MVK
With an annual fee of around 84 euros, the premium package from MVK is only slightly higher than that from Huk24. If you opt for additional protection against natural hazards here, the annual fee increases to 98 euros. This represents the low annual price for risk areas. However, in the event of damage caused by natural events, the MVK provides for a deductible of 10 percent of the sum insured. You have to pay a deductible of at least 500 euros, but no more than 5,000 euros. As a result, the conclusion of the Huk24 with only 1 euro more per month can still be cheaper in the long run.