simple theft away from home switzerland insurance

Simple Theft Away From Home: Getting Insured

Swiss household insurance providers offer supplementary coverage for “simple theft away from home”. In this guide, we look at if and when this insurance coverage is worth getting.

In the best case, household insurance will cover losses due by theft. Policies typically differentiate between three different types of theft: robbery, burglary and simple theft.

Burglary refers to a forced entry into a building motivated by a desire to steal property. Robbery refers to the theft of property by means of violence or the threat of violence.

Simple theft away from home: What does it mean?

A “simple theft” is accomplished without a break-in and without the threat of violence. The term “simple theft away from home” refers to the simple theft of property you have with you when you travel outside of your home. The simple theft of property inside your home falls under the coverage provided by your basic household insurance policy.

Simple theft away from home: What is covered?

Most policies cover mobile phones, cameras, handbags, laptops, travel luggage, skis and bicycles against pick-pocketing, larceny by trick and opportunistic theft. Items stolen from your car or travel accommodations are also covered.

Note: Cash is generally excluded from simple theft away from home coverage. Depending on the insurance you use, bicycles may also be excluded.

Theft insurance is valid worldwide

This insurance covers you both in Switzerland and when you travel. Worldwide coverage applies. What is crucial is that you report your loss to the police in a prompt manner. Without a police report, you won’t likely receive compensation from your insurance company. Getting a police report is also required when the theft happens in a foreign country.

Important: Damage or loss of travel luggage is not covered by your household insurance policy. If you want coverage for your luggage, you will need to take out a luggage insurance plan.

If you travel with very valuable luggage, getting luggage insurance can be worth it because airlines only compensate you for the actual cash value of your luggage rather than the actual replacement cost (what you pay to get identical or similar luggage). Travel insurance, on the other hand, usually only applies when you travel a predetermined distance from your home for a predetermined length of time.

Simple theft away from home: Deductibles and coverage limits

The simple theft away from home riders for household insurance generally have a deductible. The insurance only covers the portion of your los which exceeds the deductible. The deductible for a claim of simple theft away from home is typically 200 francs. Some household insurance offers let you choose higher or lower deductibles. The rule of thumb is: the higher the deductible, the lower the insurance premium.

Simple theft away from home coverage is generally limited to a maximum sum insured. Depending on the insurance provider, the cap on benefits could be anywhere from CHF 2000 to CHF 10,000 per incident. Many household insurance providers let you choose from several coverage limits when you apply for your policy.

Replacement value is the rule

As a rule, your property is covered up to its replacement value. If theft occurs, your insurance will use the cost of actually replacing the stolen items as a guideline for the benefit it pays out. Example: If your 3-year-old smart phone is stolen, you will be compensated with a benefit that covers the cost of buying a new, similar phone (minus your deductible). Note: Some insurers only give you actual cash value coverage for bicycles.

Simple theft away from home: The costs

Adding the rider covering simple theft away from home to your household insurance policy is optional. As a rule, this coverage is not included in standard household insurance policies and when compared to what you pay for the rest of your household insurance, it’s relatively expensive. The cost can be partially justified by the high rate of theft and the high value of stolen items.

Unfortunately, theft is common both in Switzerland and abroad. Losses can quickly add up. A new smartphone or tablet can easily cost anywhere from several hundred to over 1000 francs. Luggage, laptops and bicycles may be worth thousands of francs.

Depending on the insurer and the amount of coverage you want, annual premiums range between CHF 20 and CHF 300.

The rule here is: The more coverage you want, the higher the premiums you can expect to pay. Premiums normally rise or fall in direct relation to the amount of coverage you choose. An individual comparison of household insurance policies can show you the exact amount you can expect to pay in premiums.

Is this supplementary coverage worth it?

The rule of thumb: The more time you spend outside of your home and the higher the value of the property you carry around with you, the more getting this additional coverage makes sense. If you travel outside of Switzerland regularly, getting this extra coverage makes even more sense.

As always, your individual circumstances are the deciding factor. This insurance could give you more peace of mind if, for example, you frequently get around on an expensive bicycle or travel outside of the country a lot. Knowing that you will be at least partially compensated for your loss can also help you avoid stress in the event that a theft occurs.

Theoretically, any insurance only really pays off once you receive benefits equal to the amount you’ve paid in premiums. Example: You pay 300 francs in premiums for supplementary theft away from home coverage over a 5-year period. During that time, your 750-franc iPhone was stolen once. You received a benefit covering the replacement value of the phone, minus your out-of-pocket payment of 200 francs. So you receive 550 francs in reimbursement. Subtracting the money you paid in premiums, you end up with a “profit” of 250 francs.

Of course it isn’t possible to know whether or not the coverage will actually pay off in the future. But as you can see from the example, if you carry any high-value items around with you, getting supplementary insurance that covers theft away from home can be a good investment.

The lower the premiums you pay for your policy, the higher the value of the coverage. Comparing premiums before you take out a policy is recommended because the differences in premiums charged by different insurance companies are substantial.

More information:
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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.
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