There are several types of insurance in Switzerland. But which types of insurance are really mandatory and which are optional?
Please note that Switzerland is unique in that obligations regarding taking out insurance may vary from canton to canton.
Mandatory for everyone
As soon as you arrive in Switzerland, you should take out health insurance, regardless of your nationality.
Individuals who work in Switzerland but decide to live in a neighbouring country can benefit from an exercise of options allowing them to take out insurance in the country of residence if they so wish.
Mandatory for all employees
Legally employers must cover all employees against accidents.
Individuals working from home, apprentices, trainees and volunteers must also be insured.
Some individuals who are not employees will have to take out their own accident insurance, e.g. stay-at-home wives/husbands, pensioners and students.
Basic state pension and disability insurance (AVS – AI)
Mandatory for everyone
If you live in Switzerland, you will automatically be covered by the basic state pension and disability insurance.
Motor vehicle insurance
Mandatory for vehicle owners
If you own a vehicle in Switzerland, you must take out civil liability insurance to cover any damage you may cause, e.g. in the event of an accident.
In all EU/EEA Member States as well as Andorra and Serbia, the Swiss licence plate is considered an insurance certificate, and as such, you are also covered for civil liability in these countries.
Mandatory for property owners
This insurance, which is mandatory in most cantons, covers external damage such as fire, water damage and natural disasters.
The following types of insurance are optional, but highly recommended:
Private civil liability
Private liability insurance covers any damage you may cause to a third party. You are liable for any damage that you cause to another person, whether intentionally or not, and you are legally responsible for remedying it.
If you are responsible for a third party, and that individual causes damage, you are automatically liable.
Household contents insurance
Household insurance covers damage to property inside your home as well as theft.
For example, it is possible to take out insurance against:
- naturally occurring fires, smoke and lightning
- break-ins, theft outside the home, robbery and pickpocketing
- naturally occurring events such as floods, hail, avalanches, rock fall and landslides
- water damage as a result of pipes
Supplementary health insurance
Supplementary health insurance includes care not covered by basic insurance.
The most frequently taken out supplementary insurance policies are:
- hospitalisation in a general ward throughout Switzerland
- hospitalisation in private or semi-private wards
- dental care
- alternative treatments, e.g. homeopathy
‘Full or partial casco’ vehicle insurance covers damage caused to your own car.
Damage to your car, e.g. caused by an accident, is covered by ‘full casco’ insurance. ‘Partial casco’ insurance only covers damage caused by another person to your car.
In both cases, you can choose which risks you want to insure yourself against, e.g. fire, theft, collisions with an animal, hailstones, etc.
However, ‘partial casco’ insurance does not cover collisions.