Unlike permanent residences, holiday homes and flats can lie empty for certain periods. While this is good news for furniture and fittings, it increases the risk of potential problems going unnoticed. If any issues were to arise in respect of the building or household contents, it could be a while until someone spots them, meaning the costs of the damage could be higher. This is why it's important to have comprehensive insurance cover to protect yourself against financial losses.
Household contents insurance allows you to insure the personal belongings you have in your holiday home, such as furniture and clothing, against fire, water and storm damage. But be careful: You need separate household contents insurance for the household contents in your holiday property – alternatively, you can integrate these into your existing household contents cover for your main residence as an additional location. This increases the value of your household contents, meaning that you will have to adjust the sum insured accordingly.
As an owner, you are obliged to insure your holiday home against fire and natural forces damage through compulsory cantonal buildings insurance. This does not apply in the “GUSTAVO” cantons (Geneva, Uri, Schwyz, Ticino, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Valais and Obwalden); in these cantons, you can cover fire and natural forces damage not through the cantonal buildings insurance but via a private insurer. Please note: Building insurance is not compulsory in the cantons of Geneva, Ticino, Appenzell Innerrhoden or Valais, but in all other cantons, you must take out a building insurance policy.
Although voluntary, personal liability insurance is one of the key types of insurance cover you can have – especially when a holiday property is being rented. If a guest were to be injured in your holiday residence as a result of defective equipment, for example, or after slipping on an icy surface, you are liable as the owner of the property. Depending on how things turn out, the costs of a claim could be substantial. These would be covered by your personal liability insurance. Good to know: Unlike household contents insurance, personal liability insurance relates to you personally, which means that you do not need to take out a separate policy.
The question of who is liable and which insurance pays out depends on how the damage came about. Cantonal buildings insurance covers damage caused by natural forces following high water, flooding, storms and hail, as well as damage to the property as a result of fire.
A number of risks are, however, not covered by compulsory cantonal buildings insurance, such as water damage resulting from a broken pipe or backflow, or damage to the area around the building (driveways, summerhouses and garden areas, trees and lawns). Damage to photovoltaic installations or building glazing such as windows or ceramic hobs are further examples of damage that is generally not covered by cantonal buildings insurance. Since insurance benefits differ from canton to canton, it makes sense to find out from your canton early on what the scope of cover is under cantonal buildings insurance. If such risks are not included in the cantonal insurance, they can be covered by private building insurance.
The situation is different when the holiday apartment is rented out to guests, and these guests cause damage to the property. In such cases, it is not the owner of the apartment who is liable, but the holiday guests themselves. Depending on how the damage came about, the costs here are covered by the guests’ personal liability insurance.