House insurance in Germany: don’t get worked up over a broken pipe.

House insurance for Germany is not often high on the list of priorities. It’s a boring topic that is often left for later. Still, it can save your wallet’s butt like it did once for me.

It was late in the evening, after many sleepless nights working on my thesis. I had put another load in the washing machine and thought about it no more, deep into my thoughts. 4h later, the neighbors rang the door with a frown on their faces; the pipe had broke, the water flooded the bathroom floor, and leaked downstairs. I had in front me, thousands of euros worth of repairs on my hands.

house insurance germany

So is German house insurance essential?” you might ask

So whether house insurance is essential or not, I’ll let you decide.

Back to business: how is German house insurance defined?

First of all, in German it’s called Hausratversicherung, and no, it’s not insurance for your house pet rat! 😉

Wherever you come from, you’ve probably already heard about this kind of insurance. It covers you in case of theft of any of your belongings, or damage to the property you’re living in. It might also be referred to as home contents insurance. If it’s the same everywhere, there are varying degrees of cover which you can pick from. The great thing is, a basic home contents insurance in Germany is pretty affordable and good value for money.

Let’s say you light a candle in your bedroom for some mood lighting, but end up falling asleep without blowing it out. Imagine what could happen! If a fire broke out, the entirety of your home could be destroyed. You’d have to fork out a whopping €50.000 for damages to a 75 sqm flat. With home insurance, you’d only be spending €50.

So it’s a no-brainer really, even for those swimming in money.

Down to basics: what goods are covered under house insurance in Germany?

In theory, any object you have in your apartment counts as a household good and is covered by house insurance in Germany. Simply said, if you tipped your flat upside down, anything that falls would be eligible for compensation.

That includes furniture, carpets, electrical appliances, clothes, but also valuables and much more. So if you live in a shared flat (WG) or on the ground floor where things can get stolen, or if you’re simply clumsy, you should probably consider it.

Home truths: If you’ve got particularly expensive valuables, like jewellery or pieces of art, you’ll probably have to pay a premium. By default, most house insurances back valuables by around 20-25 percent of the agreed sum.

Valuable info: Here’s a little secret. House insurance in Germany doesn’t just cover damage within your flat, it can also accompany you beyond your four walls. For example, many of them cover you in case of theft from a hotel room you’re staying in, on holiday let’s say.

Hot tip: On the off chance that you give housewarming a whole new meaning, be well-prepared. As you sign up for house insurance, create an inventory with all your belongings, complete with photos and receipts. If you only do it once all your stuff has disappeared, it’ll just be a headache.

What hazards does house insurance in Germany cover?

Whether you like it or not, bad stuff can happen – c’est la vie. You can either hope and pray for it not to happen, or you can be prepared. Now, under what circumstances does German home contents insurance cover your possessions? Here are some examples.

  • Fire: a spark goes flying out of the fireplace and sets the flat on fire
  • Water damage: there’s a hole in the washing machine cable and water leaks
  • Storm and hail: a storm forces the windows open and destroys your furniture
  • Burglary and vandalism: a bunch of thieves break into your home, steal your stuff and spray graffiti all over your walls

The good thing is, whether it was destroyed, damaged or stolen, the insurance replaces the original value of an item, rather than the present value. A huge bonus compared with liability insurance for example, where only the present value is replaced.

Imagine the whole interior of your home being destroyed. Considering the fact that electrical appliances such as TVs and computers lose their value so rapidly, their present value just wouldn’t be enough to fund another round of your beloved belongings.

How are your household contents insured?

German house insurance doesn’t require you to insure individual goods based on a list or anything like that. Your household contents are calculated on the basis of a total sum insured, which applies to your entire household. The following formula is generally used to estimate the value of your home:

Your flat in square metres x 650 EUR. (e.g)

German home contents insurance covers water damages

We mentioned liability insurance before – what’s the difference?

We get it, you’re still not sure what the deal is with house insurance in Germany. Just as you thought you were getting to grips them all, a whole ‘nother bucket load is thrown at you. And all of it seems to be “same same but different”.

Let’s help each other out.

Haftpflichtversicherung. Ring a bell? This is what Germans call liability insurance. It covers you if you’ve inflicted damage on another person or their belongings. This applies to personal injury, property damage and financial losses. Whereas house insurance provides protection against damage or loss of your own household goods, and is more of a property insurance. There is a dedicated post for this here.

And what about homeowner’s insurance?

Hello confusion, my old friend! Jokes aside, we’re almost there in terms of defining which insurance is good for what. But get ready for another long German term.

Wohngebäudeversicherung is what they call it. Homeowners’ and house insurance cover similar dangers, such as fire, storm and tap water damage, but insure different items. Homeowner’s insurance insures a building as well as all permanently installed parts, such as walls, pipes or doors. Outbuildings, such as garages or garden sheds, are also included. House insurance, in Germany at least, merely secures movable property such as furnishings and utensils. If you are interested in that, you can easily compare policies on platforms like Tarifcheck.

Anyway, back to the riveting topic of German home insurance.

What other types of costs are covered in German house insurance?

Cleanup (Aufräumungskosten): costs for cleaning up insured items as well as removal and disposal

Movement and protection (Bewegungs- und Schutzkosten): costs incurred as a result of moving other items for the recovery and restoration of insured property

Transport and storage (Transport- und Lagerkosten): costs for transport and storage of the insured property, if the apartment is no longer usable and you can’t store anything there anymore

Change of lock (Schlossänderungskosten): costs for changes to the lock if the keys for the front door or safes are lost whilst being insured

Guarding (Bewachungskosten): costs of guarding the insured flat in case it becomes uninhabitable and/or other security measures don’t provide adequate protection

Building damage repair (Reparaturkosten für Gebäudeschäden): costs ensued from property damages caused by robbery or burglary, or the attempt of such an act within the home

Provisional measures (Kosten für provisorische Maßnahmen): expenses for provisional measures needed to protect the insured property

What does house insurance in Germany not cover?

It may be hard to believe after that extensive list, but some things aren’t covered by German house insurance. You can forget about things like cars, vessels and aircrafts (but what about my helicopter?), and expensive furs and jewellery that amount to more than the insured limits. Building components are also not included – but if you’ve read the rest of this article, you’ll know that those are part of the homeowner’s insurance.

Here are a few other things that aren’t covered by house insurance. Germany has many other types of insurances for those, as you’ve probably gathered by now.

Bicycles: living in a place that suffers from bike thefts, it’s important to be mindful that bikes aren’t always included in German house insurance. If they are, it’s usually only under certain conditions and up to certain compensation levels.

Negligence: house insurance also doesn’t pay the full amount for gross negligence, as in, if you leave your flat without closing a window and a theft occurs. Same goes for a cleaner stealing something from your flat. It’s not considered an insured burglary theft – just regular theft.

Rain or snow: damage through rain or snow are also risks that aren’t covered by a home contents insurance in Germany.

Glass damage: the same applies to glass damage, for example, on your TV, smartphone or ceramic hob. Like the above, it’s an extra that needs to be added on.

Ok, so German home contents insurance sounds pretty useful. How do i pick a good policy?

You may not be able to find an alternative to Deutsche Bahn trains in Germany (yet), but when it comes to insurance, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

In true German fashion, the process can be pretty overwhelming, especially since it’s all in German. So if you’re looking for the best house insurance Germany has to offer, then you might consider new players like Coya or GetSafe, . They are one of those helpful apps that’s got clear pricing and good coverage, and makes you hate insurance that little bit less. They both service you completely in English, from signup, contracts, to insurance claims.

If you’re brave enough to shop for insurance by yourself, then comparison sites like TarifCheck will do the trick. Before you sign any contract though, make sure you get clued up on what the following common terms mean. Because even with home insurance, Germans like to be genau.

Useful insurance jargon when picking your policy

Begrenzt / unbegrenzt (limited / unlimited): a limited or unlimited policy coverage, usually lurking in the small print of a contract

Best-Leistungs-Garantie (best service guarantee): your insurance company’s word that they’ll treat you at least as well as any other German insurance would (yes, this can be hard to believe when you’ve encountered Berliners a few times).

Deckungssumme (Limit of indemnity): in the event of a claim, the maximum amount covered by that particular home insurance.

Groben Fahr­lässig­keit (Gross negligence): the “lack of slight diligence or care” or “a conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty and of the consequences to another party”

Selbstbeteiligung (deductible/excess): the amount that you would have to pay out of your pocket if an insured incident were to happen. It could be either a fixed amount, or a percentage

Versicherer (Insurance provider): the company that provides you with your insurance.

Versicherungsnehmer (Policyholder): the individual who takes a policy out with an insurance company, i.e. you or a family member

Versicherungsprämie / Versicherungsbeitrag (Insurance premium or insurance contribution): the one-time payment or regular amount that comes out of your account and into your insurance company’s

All’s well that ends well

If you hadn’t already guessed, I feel like house insurance in Germany is pretty useful. Simply because, you just never know until it’s too late. You could even consider home insurance to be a superpower, saving your a$$ the German way. And even if you pick the most reasonably-priced home contents insurance Germany has on the market, it’s still beneficial. You get so much out of it, and investing in it definitely won’t burn a hole in your pocket…

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


  • Reply Leo 15/10/2020 at 18:33

    hallo, Bastien.
    What you shared is quite helpful. I have a question for you. Are those two insurance companies Coya and GetSafe equally reliable? With same coverage, monthly payment at Coya is 4,46 euros, but for GetSafe, it is only 1,61 euros. Why are they different so much in fee? Shall I choose the more expensive one?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/10/2020 at 14:32

      Hey Leo. As usual, the devil hides in the small prints. I’d suggest reading the policy terms closely. One policy might exclude more specific cases that are not covered, compared to the other for example.

  • Reply rachel 30/09/2020 at 17:41

    hello – as an owner of an appartement in Berlin who doesn’t live in Germany – is it possible to have an Wohngebäudeversicherung?

    thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/10/2020 at 09:43

      Hey Rachel. You would have to clear this with each insurance company. I don’t see a problem but maybe some only serve German residents.

  • Reply Thasnim Chowdhury 05/06/2020 at 10:55

    Hello Bastian, thank you for all the information! I just have a question which i hope you can help me with. I moved to Germany about three years ago and currently rent a flat with my boyfriend. My name is not on the contract, but I am registered as living at the address. Our rent is being paid from a joint account (however, it was being paid out of his account until very recently). We both have various belongings in the flat and many things have been paid from our joint account and receipts are in both his and my names across various services. Can either of us get contents insurance, or should it be him as the sole named renter? Would my belongings still be covered in this case? Many thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/06/2020 at 17:13

      Hey Thasnim. that’s an excellent question. You’d need to look into the terms and conditions of the policy you are interested in and check if the policy covers everybody’s belonging in the household.

      • Reply Thasnim Chowdhury 11/06/2020 at 17:20

        Great, thank you so much for the info!

  • Reply Priya 03/06/2020 at 13:03

    Hi Bastian,

    Quite helpful. Thanks much. From what I understand, if you live in an apartment furnished by the landlord and there are some accidental damages to the property contents, then it is advisable to have a Hapflichtversicherung.
    I was going through an insurance cos’ website HUK 24..and what they told me is that I will need to take a Hausratsversicherung for damages to a property irrespective of who owns the property. Now I am wondering if the term ‘Hausratsversicherung’ has a standard meaning, (most agree with your explanation of the criteria that you must own the contents for which damages are being claimed)…In that case, why does this particular co have a completely different interpretation of the term..

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/06/2020 at 16:08

      Hey Priya. Yes, the term is understood the same way by everyone. you are right, from what i can read tooon this source, a Haftpflicht makes sense. The landlord should have a policy of their own, also for furniture and other belongings. I’m not sure what this provider meant here…

  • Reply Kyriakos 24/12/2019 at 10:48

    Hello, I already did it 2 times and I’m gonna make a 3rd one! So my question is: can we find out how much the insurance covers in case of a burglary? And if there is a difference in this percentage/amount when you increase the value of your householdings?
    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/12/2019 at 15:46

      Hey Kyriakos. You’d need to check the conditions of your contract/insurance policy. It is specified whether or not the amount covered is different in case of burglary. As for the other question, you’d need to check to but i believe it doesn’t change. It’s up to you to sign up for a new policy with a higher coverage when you think your belongings are worth more than your current policy.

  • Reply dayna 25/11/2019 at 18:32

    as a renter can your landlord ask you to cover water damage through a kitchen pipe to the apartment below? or that’s only an insurance for a homeowner where the landlord is responsible?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/11/2019 at 09:53

      Hey Dayna. That’s a tough question to answer on so little details because it depends on whose fault it is. You may want to see an expert about this but in my opinion, the landlord has to first prove it is your fault that the pipe broke in order to ask you to cover for damages. Usually, fixing broken pipes/changing old pipes is up to the landlord, when it’s normal “aging” conditions. But again, i’m no expert.

  • Reply Beli 20/10/2019 at 18:37

    Super useful! I was also confused when I read Hausratversicherung for the first time! Hahaha

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/10/2019 at 21:53

      Thanks Beli. Glad it helped! 🙂

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