Home contents insurance in Austria is not compulsory, but many insurance companies will protect your worldly goods against loss or damage.
Whether you choose to buy or rent property in Austria, it’s a good idea to protect your belongings with home contents insurance. Home property insurance in Austria is compulsory at the building level, but contents insurance is optional, meaning that many people are unprotected when it comes to what’s between their walls.
This guide explains the ins and outs of home contents insurance in Austria, with sections including:
- What is home contents insurance in Austria?
- Home insurance companies in Austria
- Types of home insurance in Austria
- Home contents insurance costs in Austria
- How to choose home insurance in Austria
- Applying for home insurance in Austria
- How to make a home insurance claim in Austria
- Cancelling a contract or changing provider
- Making a complaint against an Austrian insurance company
- Holiday home insurance in Austria
- Useful resources
What is home contents insurance in Austria?
Home contents insurance in Austria, also frequently referred to as household insurance (haushaltversicherung), protects your household contents from theft or damage. This includes furniture as well as possessions such as clothing, jewelry and electronic gadgets.
Household insurance differs from home building insurance, sometimes called homeowners insurance, which insures the fixed property. Building insurance is mandatory in Austria, whereas household insurance is optional. However, many Austrian residents choose to protect their goods with an insurance policy. Austrian insurance companies often offer combined building and contents insurance in one handy policy.
As with all insurance in Austria, home contents insurance is regulated by the Austrian Financial Market Authority (Finanzmarktaufsicht – FMA) which makes sure that all companies operate within the law.
Because home insurance in Austria is optional, it is the responsibility of tenants to insure their own belongings in rented accommodation. Landlords may provide coverage for fixtures and fittings in furnished apartments.
Can you use home contents insurance from another country in Austria?
You may be able to use your home contents insurance policy from another country if the policy you’ve taken out includes coverage of possessions abroad. Because contents insurance in Austria isn’t mandatory, and policies cover movable goods, it will all depend on what your existing policy says. Check the terms and conditions under what is and is not covered.
Home contents insurance companies in Austria
There are over 100 insurance companies in Austria. Not all of them offer home insurance. Here are some of the main ones that do:
Types of home insurance in Austria
Most insurance companies in Austria will offer at least two or three different policies with increasing levels of coverage. Some may sell a flexible standard package that you can tailor towards your needs and pay accordingly. Here are the main types you can find.
Basic or standard household insurance
This is the cheapest level of coverage that might be the best option if you are on a budget or don’t have too many valuables to insure. Typically, this policy includes fire and storm damage as well as third-party liability as a minimum. Theft and vandalism is usually included but not always, as is glass breakage. Common exclusions are negligence, damage due to electrical faults and equipment not kept within locked premises, for example items left in the garden.
Many insurers allow add-ons to basic policies, for example emergency assistance if you lock yourself out of your home, so you can pay extra for coverage of specific items.
Comprehensive/all-inclusive household insurance
This is the highest level that insurance companies offer. It may come under a name such as premium, plus or extra. Because it provides more extensive coverage, fees are higher. Comprehensive policies typically cover pretty much everything including garden equipment and pools. They also often include extras such as emergency assistance and legal cover as well as having higher payout limits on things such as liability coverage.
Comprehensive policies also cover damage caused by negligence, although this won’t include wilful negligence. Another limitation is that you cannot include vehicles. You will need separate car insurance for this.
Combined home insurance
Some companies offer combined discount policies that also include home building insurance (eigenheimversicherung). As this is compulsory in Austrian homes, it might be a good idea for homeowners who are looking for home contents coverage.
Student household insurance
Students in Austria who are renting may need to take out personal contents insurance if they have valuables or move into an unfurnished rented apartment. If you are studying in Austria, you can choose a basic standard policy or look for a student-specific option. Companies such as Feelsafe provide student home insurance suitable for shared rented accommodation and dorms for just over €5 a month.
Home contents insurance costs in Austria
Your insurance premiums will depend on a variety of factors. These include:
- The value of your home
- Size of your property
- Value of belongings you want protected
- The extent of coverage you require
- Your insurance profile, e.g. how many claims you have made previously
- Which neighborhood you live in
- Other factors such as whether you have installed security measures such as alarms in your home
You can find basic policies from as little as €5 a month while comprehensive coverage starts at around €7-8 a month; but that can grow more expensive depending on your circumstances. Most insurance websites have an online calculator so that you can work out costs ahead of purchasing coverage.
How to choose home insurance in Austria
When shopping around for home insurance in Austria, it makes sense to consider all the different elements of a policy rather than simply plumping for the cheapest deal. Things to ask yourself include:
- What is and isn’t covered, and how flexible the policy is if you want to add anything on.
- Company reputation: check review sites and online feedback.
- How straightforward is their claims process? Can you do everything online and how soon are you likely to receive payment?
- Does the company offer any incentives, for example discounts on other products or any rewards.
- How easy is it to cancel a policy or switch to another provider?
- How ethical, green or socially responsible is the company? You can check to see if they are listed on VONIX and what their sustainability rating is.
Applying for home insurance in Austria
You can now take out home insurance online with most Austrian providers, although most still provide telephone and face-to-face services if you prefer. The process varies according to insurer but will typically involve choosing your level of coverage, providing the necessary details and documentation, and then paying for your policy.
Typically, you will need to provide ID, address and bank details. Policies usually last for one year minimum, although you may have a break clause allowing for early termination of policy. Once you’ve taken out coverage, you should receive your policy and an information/welcome pack either by email or through the post.
How to make a home contents insurance claim in Austria
The process for making a home insurance claim in Austria will vary from insurer to insurer. Most of the bigger companies now offer an online submission service where you can file a claim via their website, submit photo evidence and use a claims tracker to keep track of the status of your claim.
Your insurer should inform you of the claims process when you sign up for a policy. Many companies will assign you a claims manager who will be your first point of contact during the process. Each company will have its own deadline for making a claim. In general, the deadline for filing an insurance claim in Austria is three years after the incident.
Cancelling a contract or changing provider
You can cancel a home contents insurance policy in Austria within 14 days of signing up for it, as all companies have to provide this as a minimum ‘cooling off’ period. Most policies run for a minimum of 12 months, so if you don’t cancel within the cooling period you may have to pay an exit fee unless your insurer offers an early break clause.
Insurance policies in Austria often automatically renew unless you inform the company that you want to terminate the contract. The standard termination period is one month, although some companies may ask for more. You are free to switch provider at any time if you find a more favorable deal. Your present provider may ask for reasons for moving, although whether or not you give details is entirely up to you.
The cancelation process varies between companies. Typically you will have to inform the company in writing, either by letter or email,
Making a complaint about a home insurance company in Austria
If you feel that you have been unfairly treated or discriminated against by an Austrian insurance company, you should take the following steps:
- Firstly, contact the complaints department of your insurer. You should receive contact details when you sign up, otherwise you should be able to find information on the company website.
- If things are nor resolved to your satisfaction, you can file a complaint with the FMA. You will need to provide details of the complaint and existing correspondence. The FMA will contact the company, assess the information and make a decision.
- In the event the you are still unsatisfied, you can take the matter to court as a civil case. However, you will need to pay legal costs so make sure that it’s worth it, and that you have a strong case.
Holiday home insurance in Austria
Most household insurance policies in Austria won’t cover property in holiday homes or second properties. However, many companies provide specific holiday home coverage that includes damage caused by guests or loss of holiday rental income.
If you have bought a holiday home with the intention of renting it out to guests, you can often choose extra protection such as compensation if a booking falls through at the last minute.
- Financial Market Authority (Finanzmarktaufsicht – FMA) – regulatory body for insurance in Austria.
- Durchblicker – insurance comparison website