Insurance in the Netherlands
A short guide to help expats choose the level of insurance cover in the Netherlands appropriate to their circumstances.
Although most insurances are similar to those offered elsewhere in the world, the Netherlands is distinctive in the high level of insurance taken out by the population. You can arrange insurance through your employer or a private insurance company. The national association of insurers' website is www.verzekeraars.nl.
Aside from obligatory health insurance required by everyone, self-employed persons are expected to arrange additional specific insurances, although in some cases welfare benefits are applicable. National insurance schemes available for all residents are explained at www.svb.nl.
Dutch health insurance
Access to the Dutch healthcare system relies on mandatory registration to a Dutch health insurance scheme. Read more about Dutch health insurance.
House and home
Homeowners or house insurance is known as woonhuisverzekering and opstalverzekering. Frequently properties in the Netherlands are sold without the actual land, and in such cases you should take out homeowner’s insurance on the building. If you buy an apartment, the Association of Owners (VVE) takes out the house insurance, which is paid equally among the apartment owners in the building.
A standard policy covers fire, storm, flood and theft. In terms of flood coverage, a distinction is made between rainwater damage and flooding, which is covered, and damage and flooding caused by breakdowns in the dike systems, which is not covered (although concessions may be available from the government). Also not included are damages accrued through lack of upkeep or essential repairs.
If you are a tenant, you should find out the details of your landlord's insurance covering damage caused by natural disasters to the building and if your contents are included.
Also bear in mind that you are not generally allowed to make significant alternations to rented apartments. Significant changes may invalidate your policy, which is based on an estimate of total costs and values. Speak to both your insurance company and your landlord if you intend to make major changes.
Regardless of whether you are homeowner or a tenant, contents insurance (inboedelverzekering) covers your belongings and the contents of your home. Contents insurance should cover most of your furniture, glass breakage and general contents such as computers and other appliances. An annual household contents policy starts at about EUR 20 depending on what is covered. For high-value items such as art, jewellery and antiques you will need a separate kostbaarhedenverzekering.
The Netherlands, as much as elsewhere in western Europe, has a problem with non-violent burglaries. When your representative comes to access your belongings for insurance, one of the things that will be checked is the security system and locks on the premises. If suggested, changes to these can bring the cost of your insurance down. It is also important to have your contents reassessed on a regular basis, at least every two years.
By law, you must have at least third-party insurance for your car. You might also want to insure against theft, fire and damage/injury to yourself or your vehicle. This is known as allriskverzekering. Read more about rules for driving in the Netherlands.
Known as levensverzekering, it is similar to schemes in most other countries. Uitvaartverzekering (burial insurance) may be beyond the zekerheid (assurance) most expats need.
Other types of insurance
Third-party insurance (aansprakelijkheid), or liability insurance, protects you if your cleaner drops your precious china, or your child spills grape juice on your neighbour’s oriental carpet. More than 95 percent of the Dutch population has this insurance, and it is often included in combination packages for either homeowners or tenants. You can compare Dutch liability insurances online.
It is not uncommon that Dutch residents also have legal insurance (Rechtbijstandverzekering), guaranteeing (cheaper) access to legal advice. It insures against costs of lawsuits and personal and labour disputes.
Many large insurers offer combination packages that can bring down costs and avoid the problems of figuring out which company or policy covers which damage in times of need. Most companies recommend a combination which also includes third-party liability insurance, whether a homeowner or tenant.
If you need advice, call the Dutch Association of Insurance Companies (Het Verbond van Verzekeraars) on (070) 333 8500 or speak to your bank or financial advisor.
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