An insurance is a contract between an insurance company and you. The insurance company financially compensate you in case of a mishap (for example, fire or theft). In return, you pay the company an insurance premium. The amount of the premium varies depending on the insurance company, but it will always be less than the amount you would have had to provide to repair the damage. The list of all guarantees and obligations are mentioned in the policy guidelines of your contract. But which insurances should you subscribe to in Belgium?
Compulsory insurance in Belgium
- Liability insurance for motor vehicles: if you are using a motor vehicle on public roads you have to take out civil liability insurance. This type of insurance covers only damage caused to others. If you are responsible for the damage, but would like to be compensated for the damage to your person or your vehicle, you need to take out an additional, non-mandatory insurance. You should always keep the insurance certificate (Green Card) inside your vehicle.
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- Insurance against accidents at work and on the way to work: your employer is required to take out this insurance to protect you.
- Liability insurance in case of fire and explosion: certain institutions or organisations that have a public open space are obliged to take out such insurance.
- Professional liability insurance: this is only mandatory for some professions, such as architects, tour operators, real estate agents, accountants and insurance agents.
- Liability insurance related to specific activities: some more risk filled activities, such as hunting, require you to take out liability insurance.
Optional (but recommended!) insurance in Belgium
- Family insurance: for damage caused by a member of your family or by yourself to another person.
- Home insurance: for claims caused by fire, explosion, flood, storm, lightning, snow, hail, etc. This insurance is usually required by landlords. Fire insurance compensates you for damage to you or your belongings, as well as damage caused to third parties.
- Complementary car insurance: for costs related to the repair of your vehicle or reimbursement of costs of a non-repairable vehicle, whether or not the damage was caused by an accident.
- Legal expenses insurance: in case you need to resolve a dispute, exercise your rights to get what you claim, or defend yourself against lawsuit (including criminal) proceedings against you. This insurance will take care of redress against the third party if you are the victim of an accident that occurs in a foreign country or in Belgium with an uninsured Belgian vehicle.
- Theft insurance (house): in case of theft of one or more of your assets.
- Travel Insurance: for care or repatriation when you are abroad.
- Hospitalisation insurance: to cover the costs of hospitalisation both during and after your stay in a hospital (drugs, revalidation, etc.), including also the consequences of an accident or illness.
- Life insurance: there are many different kinds of life insurance, but in essence, they are designed to insure the life or death of a person. In the first case, it is an insurance to be paid to the insured at maturity. A life insurance is similar to savings, as you are building up a reserve to enjoy after a certain point in your life. The second type allows you to save your loved ones from financial worries if you pass away unexpectedly. A combination of these two insurances is also possible.