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Insurance for Expats in the Netherlands

Submitted: October 2014

Fundamentally, insurance (verzekering) is mainly a financial service which is designed to reduce risks. An insurance product transforms the cost of your potential large liabilities or expenses into regular premiums. An insurance product “ensures” that your situation is more stable/less risky than what it would otherwise be, but it is certainly not a way to evade the liabilities you are potentially responsible for. Do not wait for problems to arise before reviewing your insurance arrangements. Once you have a problem, it is already too late. Financially speaking, being poorly insured is risky whereas being over-insured is expensive.

There is some competition between insurers on the Dutch market. Consequently, it is advisable to shop around and compare before taking out an insurance policy (premiums, levels of coverage, discounts, etc.). Insurance products can be sold by insurance companies or by banks. If you are unclear about your cover or your needs whilst you are in the Netherlands, you might wish to first review your existing insurance arrangements in your country of origin. This is important if you want to avoid double coverage.

Insurance isn’t necessarily a country-specific issue, but how much insurance you need may vary from one country to another. This is because your potential liabilities, such as medical bills, are specific to a jurisdiction. In the Netherlands, self-insurance may be seriously considered. If you take out an insurance plan, your premiums will finance:

Home insurance

Your home insurance needs depend on whether you own your home, or if you rent it. Home insurance is generally required to secure a mortgage. Discounts may apply if you take both from the same bank.

For property owners, an insurance policy protects you against damage to your building, and is commonly referred to as the “buildings” component (woonhuisverzekering). This may cover the costs of rebuilding your property from scratch or the costs of certain exceptional repairs. A basic home insurance policy should also cover you against third party liability if an accident happens in your home.

For tenants, contents insurance (inboedelverzekering) may be needed. Contents insurance may or may not include third party liability in the event an accident happens in your home. In this case, you might wish to take out a separate public liability insurance policy (aansprakelijkheidsverzekering).

Going away from home

If you expect to be away from your home for more than one month, you should let your insurer know. Failure to do so may result in a claim being rejected if something happens to your home whilst you are away.

Home insurance exclusions

Check if something is excluded from your home insurance policy. In the Netherlands, common home insurance exclusions are:

Car Insurance

Car insurance (autoverzekering) is mandatory in the Netherlands, and your policy must generally include at least third party cover (WA-Verzekering). This should insure you against potential liabilities to third parties, but not damage or theft of your own car.

If you need your vehicle to have more than just third party cover, you might wish to take out a comprehensive vehicle insurance policy. As car insurance can be expensive, you should take some time to shop around and negotiate fair quotes. Dutch insurers may offer discounts on your premiums if you do not make a claim for a given period.

Bringing a foreign car into the country

If you are taking a foreign-registered car to the Netherlands, your car registration plate will serve as evidence that your car is insured for third party liability. This, however, will apply only if your car is registered in the EU or various other neighbouring countries party to the Green Card system.
From a practical point of view, you should check your insurer’s requirements in the event you need to make a claim for an accident in the Netherlands. This information may be already available on your insurer’s website or on the documents you have been given from your insurer so far. If not, you might wish to give a call to your insurer before coming to the Netherlands.
If you have taken out a comprehensive car insurance policy in your home country, you might wish to check if extra breakdown cover is needed for your stay in the Netherlands.

Health insurance

In the Netherlands, healthcare is not free and the Dutch pay health insurance premiums to an insurance company. While these health insurance policies are regulated, there is no social security scheme for health insurance in the Netherlands. Mandatory coverage applies to expats in the Netherlands, even for those who are there temporarily. If your stay is going to last for more than a year, you should take out private health insurance with a Dutch insurer. Otherwise, a foreign insurer may do. For more information on health insurance, see HEALTHCARE – Health Insurance for Expats in the Netherlands.

Life insurance

Life insurance can be particularly helpful if your family is financially very dependent on you, as it may guarantee a lump sum payment to your family if you die. Do carefully assess the burden of retaining foreign life insurance while you are resident in the Netherlands. Do also check the geographical extent of your existing life insurance policy when you move across borders.

Business insurance/employer's insurance

If you are going to run a business in the Netherlands, you will need to have at least personnel and public liability insurance.




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