What is fire insurance?

What is fire insurance?

Fire insurance or home insurance offers you protection against damage to your home and furniture. This can be, for example, damage caused by fire, but also by storm, vandalism, snow, and hail. In addition, it also covers third-party liability.

Is fire insurance compulsory?

Fire insurance is not a legal obligation in Belgium. However, there are situations in which fire insurance is made compulsory. Think, for example, of the situation where your bank requires you to take out fire insurance to obtain a mortgage.

Despite the absence of a legal obligation, the conditions imposed by third parties ensure that an absolute majority of owners and tenants in Belgium have fire insurance.

What does home insurance cover?

Fire insurance or home insurance consists of a series of compulsory covers, but can also be supplemented by additional and optional covers to protect your home and its contents even better.

What are the mandatory covers?

Although fire insurance is not compulsory, its content is largely determined by law. The coverages that are mandatory under the Act are:

  • damage caused by fire, explosion, or implosion
  • damage caused by an aircraft
  • damage caused by an animal or by a car after collision with an animal
  • damage caused by a fallen tree on the building
  • damage to the building after a burglary (sometimes provided you also choose to insure against theft)
  • natural disasters (excluding potentially flood-prone areas)
  • attacks and labor disputes (including terrorism)
  • lightning strikes
  • storm and hail damage
  • smoke and soot damage
  • water and oil damage
  • water damage
  • broken ice

What are the additional covers?

It is possible to add various additional covers to the fire insurance. Please note that additional coverage does not cover the damage itself, but other costs resulting from a claim. Additional cover means:

  • expert fees
  • rescue costs
  • housing costs when the house has become uninhabitable
  • emerging damage prevention costs
  • costs to prevent further damage
  • demolition costs of damaged property
  • the costs of cleaning and transporting the rubble
  • storage costs for household effects while your home is being repaired
  • civil liability for your home
  • damage caused to third parties for which you are held responsible

What are the optional covers?

In addition to the additional covers, you can also opt for several optional covers. Optional covers include:

  • theft insurance
  • insurance for higher reimbursement due to unforeseen costs

Who should take out home insurance?

We make a distinction between the owner and the tenant of a dwelling such as a house, an apartment, or a dormitory. For both parties, it is recommended to take out home insurance. Homeowner’s fire insurance is used to protect your property. Hold fire insurance covers your civil liability and protects your furniture. In addition, home insurance covers civil liability towards third parties.

Owner’s insurance

As a homeowner, you want to protect your home as best as possible. No matter how hard you try to protect your home, it’s not inconceivable that it will one day suffer damage.

As a homeowner, it is recommended that you take out fire insurance which provides replacement cost coverage. When, in an extreme situation, your house is destroyed, you will have to rebuild it. In this case, you will be faced with a much higher investment than the original construction.

Tenant insurance

In Flanders, from 1 January 2019, you are required to take out tenant insurance when renting a house, a student room, or an apartment. You are also required to return the rented property to its original condition.

In addition, you must ensure your liability to third parties. It is also advisable to insure your household effects. As a tenant, you do not need to cover your replacement cost. Real value hedging is sufficient.

Waiver insurance

If you do not have fire insurance as a tenant, but the landlord does, you can choose the waiver option. This means that as a tenant you don’t pay for any damage you accidentally inflict on the building. In return, most landlords demand compensation in the form of, for example, higher rent.

The danger in the event of a waiver of recourse is that you are not covered for liability towards third parties. You can, as a tenant, take out fire insurance yourself.

How much does fire insurance cost?

The fire insurance price depends on several factors:

  • Higher risk due to the use of certain materials
  • Higher risk of burglary due to remoteness
  • Differences in coverage and payment allowances between different insurers
  • Optional covers
  • Value of the house or apartment (*)
  • Deductible height

To determine the real value of the insured property, today we use the evaluation grid. This is an attempt to prevent underinsurance or over-insurance.

How to take out home insurance?

As the price of fire insurance can vary from one company to another, it is recommended to make an online comparison.

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By Michael Caine

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