Buying, building or renovating a house? Renting an apartment? Or perhaps you’re a property owner or lessor? Whatever your situation, your home should be well protected. We’ll help you in your search for the right insurance for your house or apartment.
The insurance options vary from one insurance company to another. You should therefore always ask for clearer information at your bank branch or from your insurance expert.
Covered by property insurance
Every property insurance policy is different. One insurer might provide a certain type of cover, while another may not. The average property insurance policy – also referred to as home insurance – should cover you against the following:
- Damage to your home, such as fire and break-ins, water and storm damage, glass breakage and explosions
- Your home contents: your furniture
- Your third-party liability in respect of others: for instance, a leak in your bathroom that also causes damage to your neighbour's property
We strongly advise that you take out property insurance right after signing the deed of sale, especially if you already have the property rights and the keys.
Loan balance insurance as a safety net
When you buy a home, you probably also take out a mortgage loan. You spread the repayments over a number of years. But what if you die during this period? Loan balance insurance will protect your next of kin from any negative financial consequences. If you die, your loved ones will not be saddled with the repayments. The outstanding mortgage capital will be fully or partially repaid, according to the option you’ve gone for.
Tip! The loan balance insurance premiums may qualify for tax deduction. Ask about this when you take out the insurance.
If you unexpectedly lose your job or become incapacitated for work, this can seriously disrupt repayment of your mortgage loan. When disaster strikes, you can rely on free guaranteed housing insurance. Guaranteed housing insurance is a government initiative with a number of conditions attached.
There are numerous types of supplementary insurance both for buyers and tenants. These policies provide your chosen degree of cover for a whole variety of claims, ranging from demolition costs to fire in your home that has caused damage to your neighbours’ property.
Naturally, we can also provide you with a complete insurance package if you’re buying an apartment. When you’re buying an apartment, you still need the same insurance as when you’re buying a house. There’s also an additional type of insurance you need to take into account: owners’ association insurance.
Owners’ association insurance?
This type of insurance was previously known as ‘blanket insurance’ or ‘co-ownership insurance’. The owners’ association takes out this insurance because the building in question is made up of multiple residential units and, therefore, has multiple owners. Consequently, owners’ association insurance is essentially a type of property insurance.
Owners’ association insurance is characterised by several core characteristics:
- Taken out by the owners’ association
- Covers the building as a whole, as well as every co-owner and their share
- Covers every private residential unit and the communal parts of the building
- You finance the insurance with your share in the building
Blanket insurance is not home contents insurance. If you are the owner and resident of an apartment, you therefore need to take out your own home contents insurance.
If there's an owners’ association, you will automatically be covered under the blanket insurance. But even if there’s no owners’ association, taking out property insurance is still advisable. To cover your possessions, but also to cover you against liability for damage to, for example, the adjacent apartments.
You don’t need to worry about your tenant’s possessions, as they’re responsible for taking out their own home contents insurance. Ask them to take out home insurance for tenants.
Waiver of recourse in respect of your tenant
As landlord, you need to be sure that your tenant is covered for any damage they may cause to your property. In this way, both parties are covered under the ‘waiver of recourse’ section of your policy. If your tenant has caused damage, they won’t need to worry about any financial implications, as the insurer will cover the cost.
The benefit for you as the owner is that there’s no back-and-forth discussions between two insurance companies. You can add the surcharge for this clause to the rent.
Supplementary legal assistance insurance for disputes with your tenant
Some insurers provide insurance that will cover you in the event of disputes with your tenant, say, if they are behind on their rent or they’re not abiding by the agreements you’ve made with them.
Tip! Join the Vlaams Huurgarantiefonds (Flemish Rent Guarantee Fund) to cover yourself against rent arrears.
That depends on which region your rented property’s situated in. In Flanders, tenants have been under a legal duty to take out property insurance since 1 January 2019. Wallonia made tenant’s insurance compulsory on 1 September 2018. In Brussels, this is not yet a requirement.
If you’re a tenant, we recommend that you take out tenant’s liability and home contents insurance, so as to avoid having to cover these costs yourself. In fact, a lease will often include a tenant’s obligation to take out property insurance, anyway.
If you move and temporarily live in two houses or apartments, both homes and their contents will be covered against damage. When you move to your new address, be sure to notify your insurer so they can adjust your policy right away to cover your new home. This way, you’ll never be under- or overinsured.
The bridging period will be fixed at several weeks or months. Check your home insurance carefully and consult your insurer if necessary.
If you’re moving abroad, the home insurance will be cancelled the day you move.
If you’re planning on renovating your home, you should inform your insurer as soon as possible. The insurer will ask you to specify the nature of the work
- The volume of any extensions
- Changes in the layout of the rooms
- Installation of a new kitchen, bathroom or the construction of any additional rooms
If you forget to inform your insurer of any such changes, you run the risk of being underinsured.
Building or renovating a home often entails risks, such as the following
- Damage to, or theft of, equipment on the building site
- Accidents during the building or renovation works
- Damage to neighbouring properties
- Extra costs due to a change of contractor or architect
It is therefore advisable to insure yourself against the financial consequences of these risks.