Looking for home insurance in Portugal? This guide explains what you need to know about the policies available and how to get cover.
Insurance is one of the main things to sort out when you move to a new country. Leaving valuable possessions and property open to risks such as theft or damage can be perilous. Fortunately, there are many companies in Portugal offering different types of home insurance. These policies can cover your new home and its contents, whether you choose to buy or rent.
This guide to home insurance in Portugal covers the following topics:
- Introduction to home insurance in Portugal
- Home insurance companies in Portugal
- Contents insurance in Portugal
- Homeowners insurance in Portugal
- Liability insurance in Portugal
- How to choose your home insurance
- Applying for home insurance in Portugal
- Making a home insurance claim in Portugal
- Canceling a contract or changing provider
- Making a complaint about an insurance company
- Holiday home insurance in Portugal
- Useful resources
Introduction to home insurance in Portugal
Secondly, home insurance is typically sold as a single type in Portugal, usually just called home insurance or house insurance (seguro de casa). Keep in mind that there are different policy levels. The basic level covers damage to the building, which is the minimum requirement for mortgage holders. You can also take out extended policies that also cover personal contents and civil liability. It is also possible to take out contents or civil liability insurance separately.
Lastly, property insurance is the third most common type of non-life insurance in Portugal, after health insurance and car insurance. Indeed, it accounts for 18% of the insurance market. Separate liability insurance has a 3% market share. As with all insurance in Portugal, the Insurance and Pension Funds Supervisory Authority (Autoridade de Supervisão de Seguros e Fundos de Pensões – ASF) regulates home insurance in Portugal.
Can you use home insurance from another country in Portugal?
You can use home insurance from abroad in Portugal but only if the policy specifies coverage in other countries, including Portugal. For example, a policy aimed at expats or contents insurance that includes global coverage. If you are taking out building insurance at the request of a mortgage lender, they may specify that it has to be with a company regulated by the ASF in Portugal.
Home insurance companies in Portugal
There are 76 insurance companies in Portugal. Many sell home insurance. The main companies include:
You can also buy insurance from one of the many English-speaking companies supplying expat home insurance or brokerage services in Portugal. These include:
There are other options for home and contents insurance, including Portuguese banks. Many of the big retail banks in Portugal sell insurance products.
Contents insurance in Portugal
If you are looking to secure your belongings, then home contents insurance (Seguro de Conteúdo) protects your movable goods from damage and theft. It is not a common standalone policy in Portugal because people typically include it within general home insurance. However, if you are renting in Portugal, you may want to take out a separate contents policy. That is unless your landlord has an extended policy that covers tenants’ belongings.
If you take out contents insurance in Portugal, you can usually choose your level of coverage. The basic packages cover fire damage, storm damage, electrical damage, and theft. However, common exclusions that you may need to pay extra for include damage due to negligence, such as taps left running. Another exclusion is product manufacturer defects (for which the manufacturer is usually liable). Keep in mind that you won’t get coverage for general wear and tear.
The items covered under basic policies include house furniture, clothing, jewelry, and electrical goods. Common exclusions that you can cover for a higher premium include:
- Valuable items, like rare art
- Goods worth more than €2,500
- Things (like garden equipment) left outside the property
In the event of a claim, insurers will usually pay for the replacement or repair of goods covered in the policy.
Homeowners insurance in Portugal
Homeowners insurance, or building insurance, is typically called home insurance or house insurance (seguro de casa) in Portugal. There are generally two types:
- Fire insurance (seguro de incendio) – this is the minimum level of insurance for homeowners taking out a mortgage. It covers damage to the building caused by fire. Most policies also cover floods, storms, and electrical damage.
- Multi-risk insurance (seguro multirriscos) – this is extended comprehensive, coverage. It is often tailored towards individual needs but typically includes things such as public liability, contents coverage, legal protection, earthquake protection, and the cost of alternative accommodation if your home becomes uninhabitable.
Homeowners insurance in Portugal is usually taken out by owner-occupiers and landlords. Renters are not required to take out a policy, although some landlords include policy costs within rental charges.
While policies will typically pay out for rebuilding and repair costs, there are exclusions. In general, exclusions on all policy types include deliberate damage and degradation due to wear and tear.
Many insurance companies in Portugal sell additional policies to cover specific risks. These can include condominium insurance for apartments and communal buildings, and home-workers insurance for those running a business from home.
Costs of homeowners insurance in Portugal
Home insurance costs in Portugal depend on a range of factors, including:
- Type of property
- Size of property
- Value and condition of the property
- Whether it is your primary or secondary residence (it is more expensive if the home is unoccupied for long periods)
- Personal risk factors, e.g. claim history
- Property location
- Level of insurance coverage
Basic policies start at around €80 a year, while multi-risk policies start at around €100 a year. However, it can cost over €400 a year to fully insure a large, expensive, furnished property.
Most company websites include a cost calculator where you can get a quote based on your needs, such as this one with MDS Expat.
Liability insurance in Portugal
Civil liability insurance (seguro de responsabilidade civil) is often a feature of multi-risk homeowners insurance in Portugal. It is not mandatory; however, many people opt to include this in their cover. It is also available through many companies as a standalone policy.
Liability insurance protects against injury and damage to third parties and their property in your home. It is recommended if you have a lot of guests in the home. For example, if you hold a lot of social gatherings or host visitors. Standard policies typically pay out for property repair/replacement and medical costs. Some policies also cover funeral costs, in the event of death, as well as legal costs if something goes to court. If not, you can sometimes pay more to add these extras to a policy.
Costs of liability insurance in Portugal
Liability insurance costs in Portugal depend on factors such as the level of coverage you take out, as well as the limit you place on the coverage. You can find premiums of around €25-€30 a year that cover you to the value of €50,000. While coverage of €250,000 will probably cost you annual premiums of €50 or more.
You can check likely costs on a price simulator such as this one with Allianz (in Portuguese).
How to choose your home insurance
To get the best insurance policy for you, you should consider all the various factors rather than just opting for the cheapest deal on the market. Things to take into account could include:
- Discounts offered – for example, what no-claims bonus can you get, and can you lower premiums by paying a deductible?
- Level of coverage – what are the policy exclusions? Make sure you cover everything you need and don’t pay for what you don’t need.
- Company reputation – check review sites and online customer feedback to see how the company fares in product delivery and treatment of customers
- Claims process – how straightforward is it? Can you do everything online? How long do you have to wait for payments?
- Other benefits – some companies offer gifts or discounts on other products as an incentive. Check to see what you can get.
- Ethics – how well does the company score in terms of ethics, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility (CSR)? You can check performance ratings on sites such as CSR Hub and EcoVadis.
Applying for home insurance in Portugal
As is the norm, each insurance company in Portugal has its own application process. You can usually start the process by filling in the online quote form. You will then be able to purchase coverage online or an agent will contact you. Of course, you can also apply by phone or visit a local branch.
To take out a policy, you will typically need to provide:
- Personal details including address
- Information on the property you want insured, including total value (if you are insuring the building, the company may request a professional valuation)
- Your NIF number
- Bank account details
Your policy usually begins as soon as you have made the first payment. You should receive a unique policy number to be used in all claims and correspondence, along with an information pack that includes the claims process and a claims form. This can all be sent to you electronically, although you can request hard copies in the post.
Making a home insurance claim in Portugal
As in other parts of the world, the exact claims process varies from company to company. However, typically you can file a claim either online or over the phone. The information pack from your insurer should clearly explain what you have to do. This should include deadlines for making a claim. With most companies, you have to submit a claim within eight days of discovering the incident.
You will need to fill in a claim form that includes your policy number, details of your claim, and date(s) of the incident. Take pictures of any evidence and contact the police in the event of theft or vandalism.
Your insurer will normally assign a claims manager to your case who will liaise with you and let you know if you need to provide any additional information. Most straightforward claims take around two weeks to settle.
Canceling a contract or changing provider
Your insurance contract should have full details of the cancelation policy and your rights as a consumer. Typically, either party can terminate the agreement at either time if they have a good reason and give a notice period (usually around 30 days).
Policies generally last for twelve months, although be mindful that they will auto-renew if you don’t give notice before the contract end date.
With most Portuguese insurance companies, you need to cancel the policy in writing. This may be via letter, email, or online form, depending on the company’s procedures.
Making a complaint about an insurance company
If you want to complain about an insurance company in Portugal, you should first contact the internal complaints department of your insurer in writing. The company should inform you of its complaints procedure when you take out your policy.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this process, or if you don’t receive a response, you can take your complaint to a Customers’ Ombudsman (Provedor do Cliente das Empresas de Seguros). In Portugal, all insurance companies are legally required to appoint an independent, external, Customers’ Ombudsman. The contact details will be available in your contract and online. You can take your complaint to an ombudsman if you have not received a satisfactory response to your claim within 20 days. The ombudsman will try to resolve your complaint within 30 days. After this period, if you are still unhappy with the outcome, you can approach the ASF complaints service.
Holiday home insurance in Portugal
Portugal is a popular location for holiday properties, and regions such as the Algarve have a large English-speaking expat population. Because of this, many companies sell holiday home insurance in Portugal tailored towards the specific risks of owning a holiday home. For example, loss of rental income or damage to an unoccupied property.
You can search for holiday home insurance deals with regular insurance providers. Alternatively, you may be able to find holiday home specialists in your own country such as IntaSure in the UK.