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Haftung & Recht
Leib & Leben
Alter & Vorsorge
Hab & Gut
Firma & Beruf
Geld & Finanzen

Household contents insurance in Germany and the USA

Not only in Germany is people’s property at any time exposed to numerous dangers. Natural disasters could damage or destroy it, just as vandalism or fire. The more expensive or unique the household items are, the harder it would be to replace them in case of damage. Therefore it is important for both homeowners and tenants to adequately insure household items in order for them to be replaced quickly in case of damage.

What applies to homeowners and tenants in Germany is just as important in the United States. The probability of natural disasters occurring is even greater here, so the need for insurance even higher than in Germany. Just as well that in both countries it is possible to insure one’s household items against the worst hazards.

The German system

In Germany, household contents insurance is important both for homeowners and for tenants. This is the only insurance that will insure your household items against damages, be they carpet, cabinet or kitchen. In principle, household contents insurance is an optional insurance, and it is anyone’s freedom to take one out. The amount insured depends on the value of the household goods. Most policy holders however, refrain from actually determining the exact value and instead opt for a flat rate per square meter. This could of course lead to problems: if one has valuable household items, but a small dwelling, one could be underinsured – which in many cases exempts the insurance from its obligation to perform or at least curtails it.

The American system

Basically, homeowners and tenants can insure themselves against damage to their household goods also in the United States - albeit with different types of household insurance, called home insurance here (or hazard insurance, homeowners insurance, HOI). In contrast to German household contents insurance, property is insured overall, not just the household. American household insurance therefore tends to have a wider scope than the German insurance. Furthermore, in most cases the HOI also includes a personal liability insurance, which can not be taken out separately. So if for example, one would fall down a friend’s stairs, one could settle this claim through the home insurance policy.

In the USA, home insurance is far more important than in Germany. To take out a mortgage for example, a relevant insurance policy needs to be submitted.

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