30 November 2021

Moving to Switzerland: Private Insurance

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When private individuals or companies move to Switzerland or group companies are established in Switzerland, there is a lot to do. The review and, where necessary, procurement of insurance cover should not be forgotten.

When private individuals or companies move to Switzerland or group companies are established in Switzerland, there is a lot to do. The review and, where necessary, procurement of insurance cover should not be forgotten. In the following, the focus is on compulsory and voluntary private insurance. The (compulsory and voluntary) social insurances in Switzerland have already been dealt with in the article "Moving to Switzerland: Social insurances".

Personal insurances

With regard to health and accident insurance, a distinction is made between basic and private supplementary insurance. The basic insurance is a social insurance and is required by law in Switzerland. It ensures basic medical care in the event of illness, accident, or maternity. In principle, one must register with a health insurance company within three months of settling in Switzerland or taking up employment. If one works at least 8 hours a week for a single employer, the employer automatically insures you against accidents, so health insurance without accident cover can be taken out. However, family members who do not work must be insured against accidents as well as illness (see also "Moving to Switzerland: Social insurance"). Private supplementary insurance can be taken out for benefits exceeding the basic insurance. Unlike basic insurance, the benefits are not predetermined and it is worth comparing the additional benefits - and premiums - of the insurers. Classic additional benefits include the free choice of hospital and hospitalist, an upgrade to a two-bed or single hospital room, etc.

Motor vehicle liability insurance is mandatory for every vehicle in Switzerland. It covers damages to third-party vehicles, persons or property caused by motor vehicles such as cars or motorcycles. Partial or full casco insurances cover damage to your own vehicle and is voluntary. They are particularly worthwhile for newer or expensive vehicles.

It is also advisable to take out personal liability insurance, which is voluntary but highly advisable. It covers the defense against unjustified claims as well as justified claims for compensation for personal injury and property damage caused by third parties.

Household insurance covers the costs if the household contents are damaged, for example by natural hazards, fire, water or burglary. Even though it is not a compulsory insurance, it is usually advisable.

Legal protection insurance protects the insured person against financial losses resulting from legal disputes. The scope of cover ranges from advice and legal assistance to the assumption of legal costs and lawyers' fees. For example, the insurance offers protection in legal cases in the areas of tenancy law, patient law or employment law (private legal protection). Furthermore, legal disputes in road traffic such as after a traffic accident or in connection with the leasing, purchase or repair of a vehicle can be insured (traffic legal protection).

There are, of course, many other insurances that are advisable or even obligatory depending on the personal situation. In many cantons, for example, building owners are obliged to take out building insurance against fire and natural hazards. If you have family members who are not gainfully employed, it may make sense to take out life insurance in addition to state, occupational and private pension plans ("Moving to Switzerland: Social insurance").

Business insurances

Business liability insurance covers claims against companies and their employees whose facilities, products or activities have caused personal injury or property damage. Depending on the industry, this may be mandatory, for example for entrepreneurs in the motor vehicle industry. In this case, it is important to know the industry-specific requirements and to take out the corresponding industry-specific (supplementary) insurance. Professional liability insurance (E&O), on the other hand, covers financial losses due to mistakes made by companies and their employees. This is primarily aimed at certain professional groups such as doctors, lawyers or tax consultants and may be compulsory. Both insurances cover defense costs and any compensation payments.

Directors' and officers' liability insurance (D&O) provides protection for members of governing bodies if they are sued for damages due to a breach of duty in their capacity as a director or executive officer of a company. The insurance protects their personal assets by reimbursing their defense costs and paying for justified claims for damages. D&O insurance is usually purchased by a company for its directors and officers. The insured persons are usually not only the current members of the management bodies, but also all former and future members.

Cyber risk insurance policies have become increasingly popular. These risks are typically not covered by business and professional liability insurance. Cyber risk insurance regularly covers both damage caused by the insured to a third party and damage caused to the insured himself. In the event of damage, cyber risk insurance regularly covers the settlement of justified and the defense against unjustified claims for damages by third parties.

Fidelity insurance covers financial losses caused by employees or third parties arising from certain criminal acts, including social engineering.

As in the private sector, appropriate property insurance policies also cover the company's property such as office furniture or goods in the business sector. Other insurances exist according to the industry and specific circumstances.

In general, it is essential to identify personal and business risks and, first and foremost, to take measures to ensure that they do not occur. When it comes to insurance cover, it is not possible to insure against all risks, nor does it make sense for cost reasons. It is therefore a question of covering existential risks in each case and the rest according to need and risk appetite. An insurance solution also requires special attention if international coverage is needed.

Our team of insurance law experts will be happy to advise you on all liability and insurance law issues relating to your move to Switzerland and otherwise. We can also recommend specialist brokers who will obtain and recommend quotes from insurers. We look forward to hearing from you.