Home Finance Insurance Insurance in the Netherlands
Last update on December 09, 2019

Find out all about insurance in the Netherlands, including which types are legally required and other forms of insurance available to those moving to the country.

The available types of Dutch insurance are similar to those elsewhere in Europe, although Dutch citizens tend to spend more on insurance than some of their neighbors.

This guide explains everything you need to know about insurance when moving to the Netherlands, including information on:

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Overview of insurance in the Netherlands

There are many different types of insurance in the Netherlands. However, only a few are legally required. In addition to this, there are many optional forms that may be recommended depending on your personal circumstances.

Insurance in the Netherlands is regulated by both the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank – DNB) and the Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (Autoreteit Financiele Markten – AFM).

Insurance is a high-performing industry in the Netherlands. For example, insurance premiums are worth around 9.2% of the country’s GDP and there were 155 Dutch insurance companies operating at the end of 2017. Most companies belong to the Dutch Association of Insurance Companies (Verbond van Verzekeraars).

Expat-friendly Dutch insurance brokers include:

  • Independent Expat Finance – an English-speaking service helping expats in the Netherlands find the right private insurance and health insurance policies.
  • Partner Pete – English-speaking brokers who help expats settle into Dutch life and get the best deals on home utilities and all types of insurance.

Which insurance in the Netherlands is legally required?

Health insurance

Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory for all residents. Therefore you must register for an insurance scheme within four months of arriving in the country.

If you are eligible, you can register for public health insurance. The cost of public health insurance in the Netherlands is deducted from your salary and consists of two forms:

  • Zvw (zorgverzekeringswet), which is a basic package covering most general healthcare costs;
  • Wlz (wet langdurige zorg), which covers long-term nursing and care treatment

If you do not have public insurance in the Netherlands, you will have to take out private health insurance. In addition to this, private insurance can also be taken out by those covered publicly for treatment not included under public insurance, such as:

  • adult dental treatment;
  • physiotherapy;
  • specialist treatments not covered through public insurance

International private health insurers offering expat-friendly packages in the Netherlands include:

See Expatica’s guide to health insurance in the Netherlands for more information.

Car insurance

By law, you must have at least third-party insurance (WA-verzekering) for your car. This covers you against any damage or injury to others caused by your vehicle.

In the Netherlands, insurance policies cover the car rather than the driver. Consequently, anyone with a valid driving license can legally drive your car. However, the person whose name is on the insurance remains legally responsible for any damage.

If you want to increase your level of car insurance, you can opt for a limited extension (WA Plus). This will cover your vehicle against damages caused by theft, vandalism, fire, storms or collisions with animals.

For comprehensive coverage, there is the all risk policy (allriskverzekering) which covers all damage. Most importantly, this includes damage which was your fault.

Similar to European countries, insurance costs will be cheaper if you are considered a lower risk driver. This will be based on factors such as:

  • driving history;
  • age;
  • experience

If you are eligible for a no claims discount, you can save as much as 70% on insurance costs.

If you move to the Netherlands from another EU country, you can use an existing valid insurance policy. However, this is only if coverage provided is equivalent to Dutch insurance coverage and your foreign insurer allows it.

Read more in these guides to driving in the Netherlands, Dutch drivers’ licenses, and buying a car in the Netherlands.

Social insurance

If you are working in the Netherlands, you are obliged to make social security payments. This is split into two areas. The first is national insurance (volksverzekeringen) which covers:

  • pensions
  • child benefits
  • survivor benefits
  • long-term care

The second is employee insurance (werknemersverzekeringen) which covers:

  • unemployment benefits
  • sick leave
  • disability benefits

Self-employed workers in the Netherlands have to make national insurance payments. However, employee insurance is optional. Because of this, many self-employed workers in the Netherlands do not have insurance against unemployment.

You can find out more about social insurance, including costs and benefits, in Expatica’s guide to social security in the Netherlands.

Optional forms of insurance in the Netherlands

Home insurance

Homeowners insurance (woonhuisverzekering) is not compulsory in the Netherlands, but you may need to purchase it if taking out a mortgage when you buy a property.

A standard home insurance policy covers fire, storm, flood, and theft. However, flood coverage policies distinguish between rainwater damage (covered) and damage due to dike failures (not covered).

If you buy an apartment, the Association of Owners (VVE) generally arranges a home insurance plan. Apartment owners generally share the costs equally amongst each other.

If you are a tenant renting a property, you should find out the details of your landlord’s insurance policy before arranging your own cover. In general your landlord’s insurance will cover damage to the building itself, but it won’t always cover your belongings.

In addition to this, it’s important to be aware that making significant changes to a rented home may invalidate your insurance policy. This is because the policy is based on an estimate of total costs and values.

Therefore, you should speak to both your insurance company and your landlord if you intend to make major changes when renting a home.

Contents insurance

Contents insurance (inboedelverzekering) is recommended for both homeowners and tenants. However, in some cases the landlord’s insurance covers this. Consequently you should check the situation when signing the lease if renting accommodation.

This form of insurance covers furniture, glass breakage, and general contents such as computers and appliances.

Costs depend on extent of coverage, but standard policies are around €10 a month. However, you may need a separate high-value contents policy (kostbaarhedenverzekering) for rare or expensive possessions.

Liability insurance

One other home-related insurance you might want to consider is liability insurance. This will cover you in the event of accidents or injuries to third parties that occur in your home, plus it will also cover you against any damage caused by your property (e.g., dislodged roof tiles hitting a neighbor’s car).

Homeowners and tenants often receive this insurance as part of a combination package. Consequently, around 85-90% of the Dutch population has this insurance.

Life insurance

Life insurance (levensverzekering) provides financial security for family members in the event of your death. There are a number of insurance companies in the Netherlands that offer life insurance, with different packages to choose from.

If you purchase life insurance in the Netherlands, make sure you are clear on the details so that you know the extent of the coverage. For example, not all life insurance policies cover natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

Travel insurance

You will need travel insurance if you make a Dutch visa application. For example, if you are traveling on a Schengen visa you will need the following:

  • Minimum medical coverage of €30,000
  • Coverage of expenses related to repatriation on medical grounds.

Besides medical coverage, good travel insurance should also cover things such as trip cancellation, emergency evacuation and lost or damaged possessions.

Before purchasing an insurance policy, make sure you read the small print to see what the policy covers (e.g., sports-related accidents).

Legal insurance

This insurance (Rechtbijstandverzekering) covers legal expenses in the event of a lawsuit or a legal dispute. Just under half of the Dutch population have some form of legal expenses insurance. As a result of this, they don’t have to pay for expensive lawyers should a contentious situation arise.

You can choose which type of situations to insure against, such as road accidents, employment disputes, or family issues.

Self-employed insurance

If you are self-employed or have your own business in the Netherlands, you are not automatically insured against unemployment or sickness. Because of this, many self-employed and freelancers in the Netherlands do not insure themselves against periods spent out of work.

You can enrol for state-provided voluntary employee insurance through the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency. In addition to this, there are many private firms offering coverage to protect against the risks of self-employment.

You can find out more about insurances for self-employed professionals on the Dutch government website.

International insurance

Whether you are living, working, studying, or retired in the Netherlands, you can find tailored international or expat insurance from both Dutch and global insurance companies. Most companies will be able to offer health insurance and life insurance to suit your needs.

Large insurers often offer combination packages that can bring down costs. As a result of this, customers can avoid the problems of overlapping insurance plans.

See Expatica’s listings of international insurance companies as well as a guide on how to choose international health insurance versus state health insurance.

Commercial insurance in the Netherlands

There are a number of insurances available for businesses, self-employed workers and freelancers in the Netherlands. These include:

  • business liability insurance;
  • professional liability insurance;
  • equipment insurance

See our guide to insurance for business and self-employed professionals in the Netherlands for more information.

Tools for comparing insurance in the Netherlands

European Insurance – compares a range of insurances including health insurance, car insurance, home insurance and life insurance.

Zorgwijzer – health insurance comparison website.

Auto Verzekering – car insurance comparison website.