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Insuring a holiday home. What do you need to be aware of?

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Key points at a glance
Whether your own holiday home or a holiday rental, making sure you have the right insurance gives you the peace of mind to kick back and relax. For those who own their holiday home, the relevant policies are – as with any home – household contents insurance, building insurance and liability insurance. For those who are renting their holiday apartment, private liability insurance is a good idea.

What insurance do I need for my holiday apartment?

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

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.

Buildings insurance

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.

Personal liability insurance

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.

Good to know

If you own a property with more than three apartments, your personal liability insurance will not provide cover in the event of any claim. To cover this scenario, property owner’s liability insurance is required.

Who is liable for damage in a holiday property?

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.


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What others wanted to know

Our customer advisors can provide answers to selected FAQs. Just tell us what you want to know. We will be happy to help you.

Mathilda L. (49), Geneva

I want to rent out my holiday home. What points, other than insurance, do I need to pay particular attention to?

If you rent out your holiday home, you have to pay income tax on the rental revenue you receive from your guests. You should also bear in mind that renting out property requires a lot of time and effort; you have to advertise your property, for example, look after your guests, issue invoices and check that the amounts due are paid on time. Depending on your circumstances, you may prefer to pass on the administration of the rentals to a professional agency.


Géraldine Bertholet

Customer Advisor

Martin B. (53), Einsiedeln

Our holiday home was broken into. How are we insured?

When a property is broken into, which insurance pays out depends on what the perpetrators damaged or stole. If items of furniture or furnishings or electronic devices such as laptops or mobile phones are stolen, your household contents insurance pays and replaces the stolen items at reinstatement value. For valuables such as expensive watches or jewellery, you need an add-on to your household contents policy (objects of special value) or separate valuables insurance. If the perpetrators damage doors and windows at the property, the burglary/theft add-on in your building insurance policy pays. The cantonal buildings insurance schemes generally do not offer this add-on – but private insurers do.

Michele Micchetti

Customer Advisor

Ilona B. (42), Winterthur

I've bought a holiday apartment abroad. Do I need special insurance cover?

If you own a holiday apartment abroad, you should get in touch with a local insurer. They will ensure you have the right cover in place in line with the local requirements.


Céline Bürgin

Customer Advisor

Camille M. (33), Olten

I damaged the wooden floor in the holiday apartment I was renting. Do I have to pay for the damage?

As a renter, you have a duty toward the owner to use the holiday apartment with care. If something is nevertheless damaged, you are liable and the owner has a right to compensation. You generally do not have to pay this compensation yourself if the damage was caused as a result of a mishap and you have personal liability insurance in place. Your private liability policy will meet the cost of compensation at current value. You should note that a deductible may apply when damage is caused by a renter, and that this will depend on the amount of any deductible specified in your policy. It is important to notify your insurer of the damage straight away, so that the appropriate further steps can be taken.


Alain Titz

Customer Advisor

Claudio P. (27), Crans-Montana

My luggage has been stolen from the holiday apartment I’m renting. How am I insured?

If your luggage is stolen from the holiday apartment you are renting, it is insured if you have the “simple theft away from home” add-on in your household contents policy. This cover is valid worldwide and applies to all items of your household contents as well as smartphones, bicycles, cameras and sports equipment. The amount paid is the reinstatement value, or the replacement value less the deductible. Your policy or the Standard Terms of Insurance will tell you how much this is. What’s important is that the sum insured in the supplemental cover is high enough to ensure that your benefits are not reduced if anything is stolen.

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