Electronic devices and online services dominate the lives of many people in Switzerland, and many new dilemmas and fears accompany this dependency on electronics. Cyber insurance is the insurance industry’s answer to these issues.
Generali, Mobiliar, Allianz, Axa, Groupe Mutuel and Baloise all offer some form of personal cyber insurance. In some cases, this coverage is available as a rider for household insurance policies (Mobiliar, Allianz and Generali) or legal expenses insurance (Axa), but it is also possible to obtain cyber insurance as a stand-alone product (Baloise, Groupe Mutuel, Axa). Both individual and household coverage is available.
What does cyber insurance cover?
The insurance benefits, sums insured and exclusions vary between insurance providers and policies. Swiss cyber insurance policies provide some or all of the following coverages:
1. Data loss
If a device you own and keep for personal use fails or becomes infected with malware – leading to loss of your data – the cost of attempting to salvage your data is generally covered by cyber insurance. In every case you will need to have the device analyzed and get a quote from the data restoration service provider and present this quote to the insurance company for approval. The insurance generally covers the cost of getting a quote. Baloise covers up to CHF 20,000 and Mobiliar covers up to CHF 5000 per incident - after possible deductibles are reached.
Insurers do not guarantee the successful restoration of your lost data, but simply cover the costs of restoration attempts. Some insurance providers only cover the costs of services provided by specific data retrieval service providers.
2. Identity theft
Many cyber insurance policies cover losses resulting from your sensitive personal information or payment card details being stolen and misappropriated. However, coverage is limited to a maximum sum insured. Some policies specifically exclude losses incurred through online and mobile banking. Getting informed about the terms and conditions attached to a policy before signing up is recommended.
3. Online shopping.
Some cyber insurance policies (Allianz cyber insurance, for example) include purchase protection. This covers damages to purchases, incorrect delivery and non-delivery of purchases ordered online.
If you fall victim to online mobbing or character defamation, cyber insurance covers the possible costs of psychiatric treatment by specialists. These costs are covered up to between 1000 and 3000 Swiss francs per incident, depending on the policy.
Some policies also cover the costs of reputation management. This may include requests to remove slanderous content from blogs or social media platforms, or to remove listing from online search engines.
Cyber legal insurance
Cyber insurance policies generally include legal expenses insurance coverage. In the event of legal disputes, this insurance covers lawyer fees, legal reports, court fees and other legal expenses. Covered legal disputes may include those resulting from mobbing or slander on social media platforms or identity theft.
The amounts of legal expenses covered vary between policies. Limits can be relatively low. In the case of major legal disputes, the sum insured by Caber insurance policies may not always be sufficient to cover all the legal expenses. If insuring yourself against the costs of legal disputes is a primary concern for you, you should consider taking out a stand-alone personal legal expenses insurance which covers Internet-related legal disputes.
What does cyber insurance cost?
The costs of cyber insurance vary significantly between policies. Annual premiums range between approximately 40 and 140 francs per year for an individual, depending on the policy. Family policies are also available – typically at higher premiums. Some insurers like Baloise and Generali discount premiums when you take out a long-term policy.
Note that benefits also vary significantly between policies, so the price alone should not be the deciding factor. The deductibles also vary between policies. A deductible of 50 Swiss francs is typical, but some insurers apply deductibles as a fixed percentage of claims (the 10% deductible for Generali Prisma Flex cyber insurance, for example). You can compare the exact coverage, costs and conditions of available policies using the Swiss cyber insurance comparison.
Is cyber insurance worth the cost?
Cyber insurance should be looked at as supplementary insurance which extends the coverage that you get from more important insurance policies like household insurance or legal expenses insurance.
Whether or not you can benefit from cyber insurance depends on your personal habits and individual situation. Before taking out cyber insurance, carefully consider when and why you might need each of the included coverages. Get informed about prospective policies to make sure they adequately cover the hazards which you want to protect yourself against. Review your existing insurance policies to find out whether you are already protected against those hazards.
Recovering data from a damaged hard drive or smartphone can easily add up to hundreds of francs. But data losses typically do not occur on a frequent basis.
Legal expenses are one cost which can represent a truly significant expense. But the maximum sums insured by cyber insurance are typically low. If you want to protect yourself against legal expenses, consider taking out a full personal legal insurance policy. The interactive legal expenses insurance comparison makes it easy to compare the costs and benefits of legal insurance policies.
If you are concerned about financial losses resulting from the theft and fraudulent use of payment card or bank account information, you should note that some more accommodating banks will reimburse these losses even if you are not insured against them.