Protect your home in Belgium with a good insurance policy that covers everything from the walls to your personal belongings.
Home insurance in Belgium can protect your home and belongings against risks such as fire damage and burglary. With companies selling a range of products for homeowners, renters, and landlords, you can shop around and find the coverage that best suits your needs.
We explain how to find and use a good home insurance policy in Belgium, with topics including:
- Introduction to home insurance in Belgium
- Belgian home insurance companies
- Tenants insurance in Belgium
- Homeowners insurance in Belgium
- Liability insurance in Belgium
- How to choose home insurance in Belgium
- Applying for Belgian home insurance
- How to make a home insurance claim in Belgium
- Canceling a contract or changing insurer
- Making a complaint about a Belgian home insurance company
- Holiday home insurance in Belgium
- Useful resources
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Introduction to home insurance in Belgium
There is a wide range of products available to insure against a variety of risks to homes and their contents in Belgium. Typically, home insurance in Belgium comes in two broad types:
- Tenants insurance, which typically covers liability against damage to property in rented accommodation and can also insure the tenant’s personal belongings against damage or theft.
- Homeowners insurance, which insures the building against certain forms of damage such as fire or storm damage if you buy a home. It can also cover home contents and include third-party liability.
Some companies also provide additional home insurance for certain requirements, such as landlords insurance, expat home insurance, or flatshare insurance.
Tenants insurance, on the other hand, is compulsory in Flanders and Wallonia where you have to take out at least liability insurance to cover any damage done to property owned by landlords. As of 2021, the Brussels region has yet to follow suit.
Property insurance is the second-largest private insurance sector in Belgium after car insurance. This amounted to a 23.9% share in the Belgian non-life insurance market according to 2016 figures. The Financial Services and Markets Authority regulates all forms of insurance in Belgium, including home insurance.
Can you use home insurance from another country?
Belgium is part of the European Union (EU), which means that any insurer from an EU/European Free Trade Area (EFTA) country can trade there as long as they follow EU rules. In addition, there are many international insurance companies operating in Belgium. As such, if you have a home insurance policy with a company licensed to trade in Belgium, you should be able to transfer your policy.
However, you won’t be able to transfer insurance under the same terms. Your insurer will want to recalculate your premium based on your new home, its location, and any associated risk factors. They may also charge you an administration fee for doing this. You may be able to use a home contents policy that includes overseas coverage, but make sure that you have the minimum building or liability coverage that you need.
Belgian home insurance companies
There are 103 insurance companies operating in Belgium. Top names include:
However, not all companies provide English-speaking services as a standard so you may have to shop around. Another option is to use an English-language provider catering for expats such as Copper Expat Insurance.
Tenants insurance in Belgium
Tenants insurance in Belgium consists of two parts: liability insurance (or property insurance) and home contents insurance. Liability insurance is compulsory for tenants in Flanders and Wallonia. It is not compulsory in Brussels, but landlords sometimes make it conditional in the lease. Home contents insurance is optional but you can include it in a combined tenants insurance policy together with liability insurance.
Liability insurance covers you in the event of damage to the landlord’s property (either the building or its contents) caused by you or guests in your home. In Belgium, all tenants are obliged to return the property in its original condition at the end of the lease. Most policies will protect against fire damage, water damage, electrical damage, and accidental breakages in the home and surrounding structures such as sheds and garages. You can pay extra to cover things such as property stolen or vandalized. Some policies even pay for legal assistance in the event of a dispute with the landlord. However, policies won’t cover deliberate damage.
Home contents policies generally cover fire and storm damage as standard. Belongings typically covered include furniture you own, clothing, jewelry, and electronic goods. You may have to pay extra for goods valued over a certain amount. Please note that you typically pay extra for other natural disasters, theft, vandalism, and damage due to negligence such as overloaded sockets or taps left running. However, policies won’t cover deliberate damage or general wear and tear.
Notably, with some policies, you can pay to include coverage of rental payments if you lose your job.
Costs of tenants insurance in Belgium
Insurers calculate home insurance in Belgium on a number of factors including property type, size, location, and rental costs plus your insurance profile (renewing customers who haven’t made claims are often eligible for discounts). If you take out contents coverage too, the value of your belongings is also taken into account.
Combined liability and contents insurance starts at around €80–€100 a year. Liability/property insurance starts at around €60–€70, while contents alone can be €30–€40. Premiums will be more expensive for larger properties and in more expensive neighborhoods. Some companies offer discounts if you take out a combined policy. Check your likely costs on a calculator such as this one on Immoweb.
Homeowners insurance in Belgium
Basic homeowners insurance policies will cover fire and storm damage to the fixed building structure (walls, ceilings, floors, fixed internal units, and attached garages) as a minimum. You can usually add in home contents (furniture, clothing, jewelry, and electronic gadgets) coverage for a higher premium. Additionally, you can also typically buy coverage for “detached annexes” (such as sheds, greenhouses, and garden pools), as well as high-value items and bicycles.
The following are usually excluded from standard policies but you may be able to buy additional insurance or add them in for an increase to your premium:
- Damage caused by certain natural disasters such as earthquakes
- Building defects
- Damage caused by construction work carried out on the property
- Theft or vandalism
- Damage due to negligence
- Third-party liability (normally included in family insurance)
Many insurers sell comprehensive or “all-risk” plans that include extras such as legal insurance, medical costs in the event of an accident, and costs of alternative accommodation if your home is uninhabitable for a period. However, you won’t be able to get coverage for deliberate damage or depreciation due to general wear and tear.
Companies will usually pay based on the value of goods damaged or lost, however, this is only up to a maximum amount that is stipulated in your insurance contract.
Most homeowner insurance contracts have a clause that states they will not pay out if the property has been left unattended for more than 180 days.
Costs of Belgian homeowners insurance
Similar to tenants insurance, costs for owners’ home insurance in Belgium depend on several property factors such as location, property type, size, and value. You will also need to factor in the level of insurance you take out (building, contents, or both) plus your insurance profile.
Combined insurance starts at around €150–€200 a year. Building insurance on its own is usually from around €120–€150 a year. Contents can be around €30–€50. These prices can rise substantially for larger, more expensive properties and all-inclusive coverage. Again, some insurers offer discounts for combined plans or long-term customers with a good claims record.
You can calculate likely costs for homeowners insurance in Belgium on this KBC simulator.
Liability insurance in Belgium
Liability insurance is slightly different for tenants and homeowners in Belgium. Tenants need to take out liability coverage in Flanders and Wallonia – and are recommended to do so in other areas – to cover them in the event of damaging or losing property belonging to the landlord.
Homeowners can usually choose to add in third-party liability coverage to protect them in the event of injury, property damage, or loss to third parties occurring in their home. However, most family insurance plans include third-party liability. As many Belgian families take out family insurance, third-party liability insurance often isn’t needed in a home insurance policy.
Insurers in Belgium rarely sell private liability insurance as a standalone product. If you want this insurance, you’ll need to make it part of either your home insurance or family insurance. Extended policies can include incidents that occur outside the home, for example, accidents caused by family pets or bicycles.
How to choose your home insurance in Belgium
It’s a good idea to consider a few factors aside from price when comparing insurance brokers. Questions you may want to consider include:
- What is available with the basic policy and what add-ons are possible?
- Do you have to pay an excess and how does this affect the premium?
- What is the company’s reputation like? Check customer review sites or any articles in consumer magazines.
- What incentives are available, e.g., long-term customer discounts or special offers on other products?
- Are the claims and cancellation processes straightforward?
- Is it an ethical company with a good record in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? You can check company ratings and performance on sites such as CSR Hub or Standard Ethics.
Applying for Belgian home insurance
You can apply for home insurance in Belgium online with most of the major providers. Alternatively, you can apply over the phone or in person if the company has a high street outlet.
You normally need to provide your address, valid ID, and bank details (read up on how to open a bank account in Belgium) and answer a few questions so that the insurer can assess your profile and the level of coverage you require. Once your annual/monthly premium is calculated, you can choose whether or not to proceed and purchase coverage.
If you apply online, you will usually receive everything by email within 24 hours. This includes an insurance certificate and information relating to your policy, such as claims and cancellation procedures.
How to make a home insurance claim in Belgium
The procedures for claiming insurance will vary between companies. Many Belgian insurance companies now allow claimants to submit via an online claims form. You can also phone through a claim or use a hard copy of the claim form and send it through the post.
Check with your insurer to see if there are deadlines for making an insurance claim. This may be particularly important with theft claims, which sometimes have a smaller window of time for claiming and may need to have an accompanying police report.
Once you have made your claim, it will be assessed by a claims manager and you will be given a claim reference number. You will normally hear back from your insurer within around 10–15 working days.
Canceling a contract or changing insurer
Belgian insurance contracts typically run for 12 months and many may be automatically renewed, meaning that you need to inform the company in advance should you wish to cancel or change to another provider.
Your insurance company should outline its cancellations policy in the documents sent to you when you sign up. The policy should clearly explain how much advance notice you need to give upon canceling. Typically, this can be anything between one to three months.
You need to cancel in writing. This could be by postal letter or e-mail. If you want to cancel by e-mail, make sure this is permitted and that you have a specific cancellation e-mail address to send to. Some companies may have an online cancellation form available on their website.
All companies should give you an initial cooling-off period of 14 days after signing up. During this time, you can freely cancel the contract without incurring charges.
Most companies will allow early cancellation under circumstances such as selling or moving property, or if your personal circumstances change greatly and you no longer require home insurance. Companies will also often allow you to transfer a policy if you move to another Belgian home.
Making a complaint about a Belgian home insurance company
To make a complaint about your home insurance provider, you should first try to settle the issue with the company’s complaints department. You can usually find the details for this in your contract or on the company’s website.
If you are unhappy with the outcome, however, contact the complaints department of the insurer in the first instance. You can take the complaint to the Insurance Ombudsman if you don’t agree with how your complaint has been dealt with.
Holiday home insurance in Belgium
Belgium is a popular year-round holiday destination. Many people own Belgian holiday homes or second homes. However, home insurance policies rarely extend to coverage of more than one property.
If you have a holiday home or second home in Belgium, you can take out additional coverage that will protect against specific risks. Among them, damage to unattended property and non-payment of rental income if you lease out the home.
Renters of Belgian holiday homes will normally have coverage of any movable property within the home included within rental costs. However, this will not cover additional belongings taken into the home for the duration of the holiday. Check to see if you can extend your standard home contents insurance policy to include vacations and overnight stays elsewhere.