Insurance in Belgium
Detailing health, home and car insurance in Belgium, here is our comprehensive guide to getting good insurance coverage in Belgium.
If you're moving to Belgium, certain insurances in Belgium become compulsory once you become an official Belgian resident. Find out which insurances you need in Belgium.
Health insurance in Belgium
Healthcare insurance is a part of the Belgian Social Security system and to benefit you must join a health insurance fund mutuelle (mutualité)/ ziekenfonds (mutualiteit). After you are registered, dependent family members will be typically automatically covered by the same fund.
After you are registered with a health insurance fund, it will deal with reimbursing your medical costs. To take you on, the fund will need written certification of employment signed by your employer. Once you are employed by a Belgian company your contributions and those of your employer will be automatically deducted from your salary by the ONSS (National Office of Social Security).
Although most funds are affiliated to a religious or political institution, there is no real difference because reimbursement rates are fixed by the government. However, you are free to choose one that best suits your needs, for example if one provides more cover for alternative medicine or has multilingual services.
Belgian state health insurance funds do not, however, typically cover 100 percent of your bills. These funds will reimburse up to 75 percent for a typical doctor or specialist appointment, depending on your circumstances. Consequently, some people opt for additional private insurance (complémentaire) to get a full refund.
You can also get a refund on certain medicine but check with your doctor if what is prescribed is refundable. Pharmacies maintain a state-advised list.
Once insured you get a standardised credit card style SIS card, which you will need in pharmacies and hospitals. You also get a sheet of stickers (vignettes), which you need to attach to a doctor’s bill to get a refund.
Car insurance in Belgium
Belgian car insurance is expensive, and it is the car not the driver that is insured. This means that anyone can drive your car, but you’ll need to ask for additional insurance if you want coverage for driver injury.
The minimum insurance required by Belgian law is Third- Party Liability (Responsabilité Civile/Wetteligjke Aansprakelijkheids Verzekering), which covers death, bodily injury or physical damage that you cause to another person. You can opt for fully comprehensive coverage, which provides for most eventualities including vandalism, fire, theft, or damage resulting from a collision, while part comprehensive cover includes third party plus fire cover.
Like insurance in other European nations, a no-claims bonus scheme is the norm. If you have a previous no-claim record in another country, you can bring it with you or may even be asked to present it.
The insurance company will issue you with a Green Card and an accident report form, both of which you must keep in your car at all times. Ask for additional copies of the report in French, Dutch and your language, so you can complete it more easily.
If an accident happens, make sure you:
- ask for the other driver’s Green Card for proof of insurance;
- get the names and addresses of any witnesses before they leave the scene;
- fill in the accident report form (and get both parties to sign);
- Send the form within one week to your insurer.
Home insurance in Belgium
Whether you own or rent your property, you will typically need to get home insurance. Although is it not compulsory, it is regularly obligated by agencies, landlords and mortgage lenders.
Almost all rental agreements in Belgium require the tenant to take out insurance on the rented property, sometimes within 30 days of signing a lease. This is because the Belgian Civil Code holds the tenant responsible for any damage to the building unless proof can be given that it was not his/her fault. If you are renting, take your lease with you when you arrange your insurance. You are responsible for providing coverage against third-party liability but the owner is required to have a policy covering the property against earthquakes, lightning, fire, etc. If you are in furnished accommodation, you are generally required to take out insurance against damage to the landlord’s furniture.
When buying a home, a mortgage lender may require that an insurance policy is linked to your mortgage, otherwise there is no obligation to do this. Homebuyers are responsible for the insurance as soon as they sign the compromis de vente – around four months before they get the keys – so insurance is advisable.
Additionally, if you employ a part-time or full-time cleaner or nanny you need to take out special low-cost liability insurance in case they injure themselves on the job; for instance, slipping on the stairs.
If you consider contents insurance, remember that theft may no be not covered automatically but available as an option. Valuable personal items, such as jewellery or cameras, may require an 'all risks' policy, which will cover you for damage or loss in or out of the home. Premiums on desirables such as laptop computers tend to be high.
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