insurance necessary unnecessary guide

Which Insurances Do I Need in Switzerland?

December 14, 2023 - Benjamin Manz

The choice of insurance products offered in Switzerland is huge. Find out which insurance types are necessary and which are often unnecessary in this guide.

Not all of the insurances that are offered in Switzerland are actually useful for most people. On top of that, many Swiss hold several different insurance policies that all cover the same risk, so they are paying premiums for insurance they do not need.

The only insurance types that are absolutely necessary are those that cover risks that threaten your financial existence. This guide lists the most important insurance types offered in Switzerland based on how necessary they are. The list only includes insurance types which you have to take out yourself. Compulsory social insurance which you are automatically subscribed to, like the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), for example, are not included.

1. Compulsory

  • Mandatory health insurance

Getting health insurance is unavoidable. All residents of Switzerland are required by law to get basic, mandatory Swiss health insurance. This insurance covers the most important healthcare costs both in Switzerland and when traveling.

Mandatory health insurance is expensive, so comparing premiums regularly is a good idea. People with low incomes can claim health insurance premium reductions.

  • Third-party liability insurance for cars and motorcycles

Third-party liability car or motorcycle insurance is obligatory for cars and motorbikes that drive on public roads. This insurance covers your legal liability for injuries to third parties or damage to third-party property caused by your car or motorcycle.

  • Property insurance

In most cantons, owners of real estate are legally required to insure their buildings. Exceptions to this rule include the cantons of Geneva, Ticino, Valais, and most municipalities in Appenzell Innerrhoden. Property insurance covers hazards like fire, storms, and flooding. In 19 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, you have to get your basic, compulsory property insurance from the cantonal compulsory property insurance provider. You can learn more in the guide to property insurance in Switzerland.

2. Recommended

  • Personal liability insurance

Personal liability insurance covers your legal liability for injuries to other people, and for damages to other people’s property. Depending on the nature of damages, accidents, and their ongoing consequences, the costs can be exorbitantly high and can ruin you financially if you are not insured. If an accident results in the victim not being able to work for many years, your legal liability can easily reach hundreds of thousands of francs.

So having personal liability insurance is crucial. Many Swiss insurance providers bundle personal liability insurance with household insurance.

  • Household insurance

Household insurance, also known as personal property insurance, compensates you when your possessions kept at home are damaged by certain hazards. If you want to insure your personal property (bicycles and laptops, for example) against theft outside of your home, you have the option of adding an insurance rider for simple theft away from home.

Household insurance is often bundled with personal liability insurance. In many cases, having household insurance can make financial sense because having to replace personal property can be expensive, but the premiums you pay for this insurance are relatively low.

Exception: If you do not own valuable items and would be able to cover the cost of replacing damaged or stolen possessions yourself, then you do not necessarily need household insurance.

3. Recommended in some cases

  • Casco insurance for your car or motorcycle

Comprehensive car insurance (known as full casco insurance in Switzerland) and collision car insurance (known as partial casco insurance in Switzerland) are both voluntary insurance types that cover damages to your car. Collision insurance covers damages to your car when you are at fault. Comprehensive insurance covers damages for which nobody can be held accountable. Unless you have a very old vehicle, having comprehensive car insurance is beneficial, but collision car insurance is very expensive, and is not worth getting in many cases. For older cars, comprehensive car insurance is normally sufficient.

Exception: When you lease a car, the leasing company generally requires you to get full casco insurance. But leasing vehicles is generally best avoided.

  • Term life insurance

If you have dependents whom you want to protect from the financial consequences of you dying unexpectedly, then getting term life insurance can make sense. If not, then there is no reason to get this insurance. Be careful to stick to term life insurance that only insures the risk of you dying. Do not get mixed life insurance with cash-value.

  • Travel insurance

Travel insurance includes one or more insurance coverages related to travel. The most important coverages are trip interruption insurance and trip cancellation insurance.

Trip cancellation insurance compensates you for the cost of prepaid travel bookings (airline tickets, for example) when certain hazards prevent you from taking a trip. Trip interruption insurance compensates you when certain hazards prevent you from continuing a trip that you have already started.

Getting comprehensive annual travel insurance with trip interruption and trip cancellation coverage can be worth it if you are planning to take an expensive trip, or if you travel multiple times each year. Otherwise, it makes more sense to get one-time travel insurance for each trip. The travel insurance comparison on makes it easy to find the cheapest annual travel insurance offer for your needs.

  • Pet insurance

If you own a pet, you run the risk of being hit with high veterinary costs. Pet insurance can help cover these costs, at least in part. Pay careful attention to the deductible that you have to pay out of your own pocket. Additionally, the amount that the insurance covers can be limited, depending on the offer.

To find out whether it is worth getting pet insurance for your cat or dog, created a special pet insurance comparison. This comparison automatically shows you the version of each insurance offer that best matches your needs. It also shows you whether or not these offers are worth getting for your pet, based on your possible veterinary costs.

  • Legal insurance

Legal insurance can be divided into two different sub-types: Personal legal insurance and motorist legal insurance. It normally is not worth getting legal insurance just in case. Before you get legal insurance, you should know which possible legal expenses you want to insure yourself against.

Before you settle on an offer, you need to make sure that it actually covers the risks you are likely to come up against. The legal insurance comparison on can help you with this. In addition to costs, it also lets you compare the coverages included in legal insurance offers. You can filter and sort offers based on the areas of law that are covered. You can find more information in the guide to legal insurance.

  • Supplemental health insurance

Supplemental outpatient health insurance is offered by many health insurance providers. Offers typically bundle many different coverages, and may include benefits for gym memberships, emergency medical transportation, alternative treatments, medicines, travel medical emergencies, glasses and contact lenses, and orthodontic treatments.

You likely will never need every single one of the coverages included in a bundle. But you should ask yourself which benefits you might actually need (both regularly, and in emergencies), and whether getting supplemental health insurance is worth it for you.

  • Supplemental hospital insurance

Supplemental hospital insurance is offered in three main versions: General ward, semi-private ward, and private ward. Additionally, there is also a flex model that lets you spontaneously choose your preferred ward on a stay-by-stay basis.

Semi-private ward and private ward hospital insurance come with the added benefit of being able to choose which doctor you want to oversee your treatment. But they are normally expensive. These insurance types are only worth getting if being able to choose between doctors and staying in a one-bed or two-bed room is important to you.  


4. Not recommended

  • Cash-value life insurance

In addition to pure term life insurance, Swiss insurance providers also offer various kinds of life insurance that has cash value. This is sometimes called whole life insurance, mixed life insurance, or savings insurance. These insurances almost never pay off, and they are often nontransparent and complicated. It is much better to save money yourself, and to get separate term life insurance if you need it.

  • Mobile phone insurance

Mobile phone insurance is relatively expensive and does not cover all possible damages to your phone. Theft often is not insured. Getting your screen repaired is often cheaper than the cost of having mobile phone insurance. You can find more information in the guide to mobile phone insurance.

  • Car passenger insurance

Passenger insurance is offered as an optional supplement for mandatory third-party liability car and motorcycle insurance. It normally is not worth getting this insurance because passengers who live in Switzerland are already insured against accidents – either through their mandatory health insurance or through their employer-based accident insurance. You can find more information in the guide to accident insurance.

The cost of insurance

Insurance Premiums for an individual
Mandatory health insurance Around CHF 4300 per year, on average. Premiums vary broadly
between regions, deductible models, and insurance models.
Third-party liability car insurance Premiums vary between driver profiles and vehicle models.

Example: Tesla Model Y (long range), 514 hp, 2023, Zurich, garage.
20,000 km per year. Driver profile: Swiss, age 43, no accidents.
CHF 1000 deductible. No claim forgiveness or gross negligence waiver:
CHF 240 to CHF 479 per year.
Property insurance*

Premiums vary between cantons.

Example: Canton Zurich:
CHF 0.29 per CHF 1000 of insured value per year.

Personal liability insurance Premiums vary depending on coverage.

Example: Renter, individual. Sum insured: CHF 3 million. CHF 200
deductible per claim. No borrowed vehicle coverage or gross
negligence waiver:
CHF 60 to CHF 102 per year.
Household insurance Premiums vary between households.

Example: Apartment, 2.5 rooms, 60 m2, urban. Standard furnishings.
Solid construction. Sum insured: CHF 65,000. CHF 200 deductible
per claim. No coverage for simple theft away from home:
CHF 113 to CHF 174 per year.
Recommended in some cases
Collision and comprehensive car insurance Premiums vary between driver profiles and vehicle models

Example: Tesla Model Y (long range), 514 hp, 2023, Zurich, garage.
Partial casco (CHF 500 deductible, no coverage for personal
property carried in vehicle):
CHF 109 to CHF 282 per year.
Full casco (CHF 1000 deductible):
CHF 322 to CHF 742 per year.
Term life insurance Premiums vary between individual profiles.

Example: Man, non-smoker, age 43, living in Zurich. CHF 200,000
death benefit:
CHF 504.10 to CHF 732 per year.
Travel insurance Premiums vary depending on coverage. Trip cancellation and trip
CHF 98 to CHF 299 per year.
Pet insurance Cat (3 months to 1 year):
CHF 107.10 to CHF 463.20.
Dog (3 months to 1 year):
CHF 187.75 to CHF 760.80.
Legal insurance Personal and motorist legal insurance:
CHF 205 to CHF 449.40 per year.
Supplemental health insurance Premiums vary broadly depending on coverage and your age.

Example: Age 43
CHF 144 to CHF 820.80 per year.
Supplemental hospital insurance Premiums vary broadly depending on your age and your preferred
hospital ward category.

Example: Semi-private hospital ward. Age 43:
CHF 826.80 to CHF 2024.40 per year.
Not recommended
Whole life insurance
(savings insurance or mixed life
insurance with cash value)
Premiums vary between individual profiles. Premiums are often high
compared to cash value.
Mobile phone insurance Premiums vary between device models and coverage:
From CHF 78 per year.
Passenger insurance
(rider for car and motorbike insurance)
Basic insurance (lowest available disability and death benefits):
CHF 40 to CHF 78 per year.


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