House insurance

Home insurance covers damage caused to your home and its contents. In addition to fire brigade services in the event of a fire, home insurance may also be useful for a broad range of damages caused to your home and its contents, including damages caused by third parties.

Home insurance offers three different types of coverage: 

  • Basic coverage (fire, storms, natural disasters, etc.)
  • Additional coverage for expenses linked to a claim (relocation, evaluation costs, etc.)
  • Optional coverage (theft, vandalism, indirect losses)

It is therefore important to check with your insurer which risks are covered by the policy and which are not.

You are not obliged by law to insure your home. The obligation is often imposed by others. Lenders who are providing you with a mortgage will require you to insure the property  against various risks, so that they can be confident to recover the value of their loan. Even if you are renting the tenancy agreement will usually require you to take out fire insurance.

Who needs it ?

It is obvious that a property owner will take out insurance cover to protect his asset. However, it is also in the interest of the tenant to take out fire insurance. After all, the Civil Code states that a tenant must maintain the property and return it to the owner at the end of the rental period   in the same condition it was in when he moved in. As a  tenant you can be held liable in the event of a fire or explosion. It is not easy to avoid this contractual liability. You can only evade it if you can prove that the damage was caused by an Act of God (accident or natural event)or a defect in the building or by a liable third party (e.g., the neighbour above you has a leak, which causes damage to the apartment you are renting).

Without home insurance as a tenant you are not only at risk of losing the roof over your head, but you are also liable for the owner's loss of property. Therefore, it is quite normal for rented property to be covered by two fire policies, one taken out by the owner to cover his asset and one taken out by the tenant to cover his liability and contents.

Extent ot the amount insured ?

The amount of insurance (premium) depends on the surface area and the estimated value of the residence and furniture. In order to benefit from the correct compensation in the event of damages to your residence and its contents, it is important that your furniture is insured for the correct value. Insurers are required to provide an evaluation schedule to their clients. These schedules take into account the number of rooms potentially combined with their surface area, the standard of finish, the number of façades, the year of construction, etc. By filling in the claim form correctly, you will be guaranteed to be fully compensated.

Recourse by neighbours and third parties

Third party and neighbour recourse cover is usually included in comprehensive home insurance policies. Its purpose is to cover damage (fire, explosion, water damage, etc.) caused to third parties or neighbours. Third-party and neighbour recourse cover can be taken out by tenants, or by landlords wishing to protect themselves in the event of damage caused by tenants living in the property affected by the claim. Recourse cover for neighbours and third parties only comes into play when third parties/neighbours request repairs.

Basic fire insurance cover

Unless otherwise agreed, fire insurance covers insured property against damage caused by fire, lightning, explosion, implosion, falling or striking aircraft or objects falling or projected from them, and by collision with any other vehicle or animal.

When taking out fire insurance, the parties may agree to insure against theft. However, this cover is not compulsory. Consequently, the parties are not obliged to take out such cover.

Even if you do not have insurance against theft, damage to the property and the building following a burglary are often covered by fire insurance. In this case, even if you do not have burglary insurance, you can ask your insurer to compensate you for damage to doors and windows caused by burglars.

Please note! Damage caused outside the home is not necessarily covered: garden shed car, swimming pool, greenhouse, etc. 

Check your policy to see what is covered and what is not.

Waiver of appel "Abandon de recours/Afstand van verhaal"

Some landlords want the tenant to be covered by their own fire insurance. In this case, the landlord includes a clause waiving recourse against the tenant in the lease contract and in his own fire insurance policy. He then waives his right to sue the tenant if he is responsible for a fire. As a tenant, you are automatically covered by the landlord's insurance.

The advantage of this insurance is that the landlord can be sure that his tenant is insured and that any damage caused to his property will be properly covered.

But beware:

  • This waiver of recourse may present a risk for the tenant if the landlord is not properly insured or has not paid the premium.
  • This clause does not cover your furniture, your civil liability towards other people, such as neighbours.