Protect your home from all eventualities with our guide to home insurance in Austria, including contents, building, and liability cover.
Whether you choose to buy or rent property in Austria, it’s a good idea to protect against natural disasters, accidents, faults, and burglary. Home building insurance is compulsory in Austria if you buy a home, whereas contents insurance is optional.
This guide explains the ins and outs of home contents insurance in Austria, with sections including:
- Introduction to home insurance in Austria
- Home insurance companies in Austria
- Household/contents insurance in Austria
- Homeowners/building insurance in Austria
- Combined home insurance in Austria
- Liability insurance in Austria
- How to choose home insurance in Austria
- Applying for home insurance in Austria
- How to make a home insurance claim in Austria
- Canceling a contract or changing provider
- Making a complaint against an Austrian insurance company
- Holiday home insurance in Austria
- Useful resources
Introduction to home insurance in Austria
Home insurance in Austria is usually split into two distinct policy types:
- Homeowners insurance (Eigenheimversicherung) which is building insurance that protects the external property and any internal structures and fittings
- Household insurance (haushaltversicherung) which is contents insurance protecting movable belongings such as furniture, clothing and personal equipment
Homeowners insurance is compulsory, whereas household insurance is optional. However, many insurance companies sell combined home insurance consisting of both household and homeowners coverage. This allows customers to get extra protection at a cheaper cost.
Both forms of home insurance in Austria normally include civil liability coverage against accidents and injuries to third parties in the home. However, you can also take out separate liability insurance if you wish.
Can you use home insurance from another country in Austria?
As Austria is an EU country, insurance companies based in other EU/EFTA nations can sell their products there as long as they operate within EU guidelines. Many overseas companies have set themselves up in Austria, meaning that it might be fairly easy to transfer policies across borders.
However, you won’t be able to transfer a building insurance policy to a different country under the same terms as the policy needs to be specific to your new property. For example, based on its value, size, and specific risk factors. Your insurer may transfer the policy if you agree to the recalculated premium, although they may apply additional charges. If you are with a company that doesn’t operate within the EU, you will probably have to switch to an EU-based insurer.
You can typically use a home contents insurance policy from any other country if the policy you’ve taken out includes coverage of possessions abroad. 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. However, plenty do, including:
You can also find home insurance in Austria with some other financial service providers. For example, some Austrian retail banks sell insurance products. It pays to shop around to get the best deal.
Household/contents insurance in Austria
Home contents insurance is usually known in Austria as household insurance. It protects your household contents from theft or damage. This includes furniture as well as possessions such as clothing, jewelry, and electronic gadgets.
Household insurance in Austria is more commonly bought as a standalone policy by renters as they are usually responsible for insuring their own belongings but not the building. Homeowners typically buy it as combined insurance together with building insurance, although some take out separate policies.
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. You can usually choose between:
- Basic/standard household insurance – the cheapest coverage protecting against fire and storm damage as well as third-party liability. Theft, vandalism and glass breakage are sometimes included. Common exclusions are damage due to negligence or electrical faults, extremely valuable items and garden equipment.
- Comprehensive/all-inclusive household insurance – also often called premium, plus or extra. Usually cover pretty much everything including garden equipment, pools and damage due to negligence. They also often have extras such as emergency assistance and legal cover, plus higher limits on valuables covered and liability coverage. However, they don’t include deliberate damage or motor vehicles which need separate car insurance.
Some companies offer tailored plans at cheaper prices for groups such as students. One student-specific insurer is Feelsafe which provides affordable student home insurance suitable for shared rented accommodation and dorms.
Home contents insurance costs in Austria
Your insurance premiums will depend on a variety of factors, such as the quantity and value of property you want insurance for along with risk factors relating to yourself, home and neighborhood.
You can find basic policies from as little as €60 a year while comprehensive coverage starts at around €90–€100 a year; 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, such as this one on Allianz.
Homeowners/building insurance in Austria
Building insurance in Austria is generally called homeowners insurance, or sometimes just home insurance. This is a mandatory form of insurance in Austria and you will typically need it to take out a mortgage. Landlords also need this on properties they rent out, although they may incorporate charges when calculating tenants’ rental costs.
This insurance protects the actual building, including walls, floors, ceilings, and any permanent fixtures in the home such as kitchen units, sinks, baths, and showers.
Similar to contents insurance, homeowner insurance in Austria generally comes in different packages. Most companies offer two or three different plans usually including:
- Basic/standard home insurance – minimum level coverage protecting the basics against fire and storm damage as well as third party liability. Common exclusions are glass/window damage, garden property such as sheds and pools, water damage due to leaking/running taps, and theft/vandalism.
- Comprehensive/all-inclusive home insurance – generally covers all or most risks including damage due to negligence, electrical over-voltage, legal costs and alternative accommodation if your property becomes uninhabitable. Policies don’t cover deliberate damage.
Comprehensive policies also have higher payout thresholds on things such as liability and replacement or rebuilding costs. When insuring your building, you should look to cover the total costs should disaster strike and the entire structure collapses. However, many basic packages only insure up to a certain maximum value.
Many companies also sell additional products tailored to certain properties, such as residential apartment insurance that covers homes contained within a shared apartment block.
Costs of homeowners insurance in Austria
Homeowners insurance costs in Austria vary according to factors such as building size, value, and age. In addition to this, personal and geographical risk factors also play a part. Basic coverage is typically around €150–€250 a year. Comprehensive plans are usually between €300–€500. You can check likely costs based on your individual situation on most company sites, for example, this one on ERGO.
Combined home insurance in Austria
Many homeowners opt for combined buildings and contents insurance, and companies often offer attractive packages that enable you to save on what it would cost to buy two separate insurance policies. Comprehensive plans tend to include contents insurance as a standard. You can also typically choose to include contents on lower-level homeowner insurance packages. All you need to do is tick the contents coverage box and choose your level of contents coverage when filling in your quote form.
You can check prices on cost calculators such as the one on Allianz.
Liability insurance in Austria
Although you normally get private liability insurance as a standard with your home insurance policy, you can also choose to take out a separate liability policy. You might want to do this to increase your coverage level within the home or to cover you against incidents outside the home – for example, damage caused by property or pets.
Liability insurance protects you from having to pay out in the event of injury or damage to third parties and/or their property occurring in your home or caused by your property. As with other forms of Austrian insurance, you can usually choose your level of coverage and tailor policies to meet your needs.
Liability insurance costs in Austria
Individual liability policy costs are quite cheap, starting in Austria at around €20 per year for a maximum coverage of €1.5 million. This rises to around €70-75 for a comprehensive policy including damage caused by pets with a maximum coverage of €5 million.
Check what you are likely to pay on a price simulator such as this one on Zurich.
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.
- Discounts or incentives offered, for example can you get a no-claims bonus or pay an annual deductible to reduce premiums?
- 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. You will also need to provide details on the property you are insuring if you are taking out homeowners insurance, such as size in square meters. Some insurers may ask for you to provide a professional valuation detailing property size, value, and condition.
Policies usually last for a one-year minimum, although you may have a break clause allowing for early termination of the 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 providers 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