What insurance in Belgium do expats need? This guide explains travel, health, home, life and car insurance in Belgium, and which Belgian insurance is mandatory.
If you’re moving to Belgium, certain insurances in Belgium become compulsory once you become an official Belgian resident. Find insurance companies in Belgium along with which insurances you need in Belgium in this guide provided by health insurance provider Partena, which includes:.
- Belgian travel insurance
- Health insurance in Belgium
- Car insurance in Belgium
- Home insurance in Belgium
- Life insurance in Belgium
- International insurance
- Expat insurance in Belgium
Partena Business & Expats Health Insurance
Partena Business & Expats health insurance provides a dedicated service for expats, as well as competitive benefits, expert advice and fast reimbursements on hospital, doctor, dentist and pharmacy fees.
Belgian travel insurance is generally mandatory for being approved a Belgian visa. If you are travelling on a Schengen visa in Belgium, whether as a tourist or for work, you will typically need to arrange Belgian travel insurance that meets the following requirements:
- Medical cover of at least €30,000
- Inclusion of emergency medical evacuation and repatriation
Belgian travel insurers can be easily found doing an internet search or using online comparison tools, allowing you to find the best package to suit your needs. Travel advisors often recommend a travel insurance policy that includes theft, personal liability, loss and medical cover. At the very least, it’s important to read the fine print and make sure any planned activities are covered, for example, skiing or sailing.
Besides covering medical expenses, travel insurance in Belgium differs by also covering various losses that may occur during your trip, whether lost luggage, a cancelled flight or travel agency bankruptcy. However, it’s important to buy your Belgian travel insurance well in advance, otherwise you might not be insured for certain cancellations, for example, delays resulting from a strike agreed before your insurance policy date.
In some cases, credit card companies and banks provide automatic – but limited – Belgian travel insurance for certain purchases if a provider doesn’t deliver, such as the cost of a flight, but typically excludes any other costs (for example, the need to stay in a hotel or theft) unlike some travel insurance packages.
To register your trip from Belgium (in case of an emergency etc.), the government provides an online site.
Health insurance in Belgium is a part of the Belgian social security system and to benefit you must join a health insurance fund mutuelle (mutualité) or ziekenfonds (mutualiteit). Dependent family members will also be typically automatically covered by the same fund.
Once 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% of your bills. These funds will reimburse up to 75% for a typical doctor or specialist appointment in Belgium, depending on your circumstances. Consequently, some people opt for additional private insurance (complémentaire) to get a full refund, or to cover dental care in Belgium. You can compare Belgian health insurance quotes.
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 healthcare card (SIS, or now eID), 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.
The cost of 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.
Some car insurance companies in Belgium include Generali Assurances, Corona Direct, Touring Assurances, MeFirst, Actel Direct and Argenta, to name just a few.
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.
The average life expectancy in Belgium is 81 years. There are several insurance companies in Belgium offering life insurance, with various packages and conditions to choose from. Life insurance in Belgium can provide security to your family in certain situations, for example, providing a lump-sum payout to your family to cover the loss of your income in the event of accidental death.
International insurance is offered by both Belgian and international insurance companies. No matter your status (working, resident, pensioner, studying in Belgium), almost all insurance providers can provide tailored international health insurance and life insurance policies. Some local health insurance companies may also offer limited services abroad, for example, emergency coverage up to 90 months or coverage in certain countries, although international insurance is typically more comprehensive.
See Expatica’s listings of international insurance companies and read more in our guide on how to choose international health insurance versus state health insurance.
With Belgium’s multicultural population, the expat health sector in Belgium is well catered for with many international insurance companies operating in the market. You can receive limited medical services under certain conditions (for example, using an EHIC), but it’s important to ensure you are covered by appropriate insurance if you regularly travel farther afield. Read more in our guide on how to choose the best expat health insurance.
The number of insurance companies in Belgium has decreased in the past five to 10 years, with around 80 insurance companies operating in the market today.
There are several insurance companies in Belgium to choose from, including:
Click to the top of our guide to insurance in Belgium.