In our Spar-Kompass section, experts provide valuable savings tips. Lawyer graduate Anja Krieter is also a regular at Velberter Verbraucherzentrale and provides insights into insurance companies that are under scrutiny these days.
People in Germany have five to six insurance policies, on average. On average, Germans spend more than 2,000 euros a year on insurance. Ten years earlier, according to the Federal Statistical Office, it was 1,020 euros. And yet, many are not well protected. Time for a “fall cleanup” on the insurance folder. Anja Krieter, insurance consultant at the consumer advice center North Rhine-Westphalia, qualified lawyer and insurance assistant, explains what types of insurance are absolutely necessary and what mistakes policyholders continue to make.
Policies everyone needs
Insurance coverage must always ensure a “GAU”. This means that in any case the “biggest accident imaginable” must be insured. In any case, this includes taking out private liability insurance for a sufficient amount: Anyone who causes damage to others should expect claims for damages. And that can be costly and, in extreme cases, even threaten their very existence. Insuring the contents of your home also makes sense, as many private households can’t afford to buy a new one after a fire, major water damage, or devastated inventory after a burglary, for example.
Anyone who is expecting children, for example, should think about additional protection for the family. A life insurance policy, for example, financially protects family members in the event of your own death. With disability insurance, insured persons can protect themselves against permanent loss of income due to illness or accident.
Flood disaster in NRW
Anyone who owns their own home cannot do without homeowners insurance. As a complement to residential building insurance, it is also advisable to take out elemental damage insurance. Since the flood disaster in the summer of 2021 in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, many homeowners know what elemental damage insurance is. Unfortunately, it is not yet standard and often not included in residential building insurance. But it is precisely the home that must be insured “at all risks”, that is, also against floods, heavy rains and other natural hazards. Home contents insurance can also be usefully expanded to include elemental damage.
Always multiple offers
If insurance is to be purchased or reassessed, an insurance intermediary is not necessarily required. Because many times unnecessary or more expensive insurance products are contracted compared to other providers. Save the cost and hassle by finding out for yourself what types of insurance are available and what you need. Therefore, offers must be obtained from several companies before entering into or extending a contract. Important here: do not only compare the costs, but also pay attention to the option to finish and pay as much annually as possible, as well as the scope of insurance and possible exclusions.
Many insurances are unnecessary. Standard vacation baggage insurance is not required. Policies that only cover minor damage, such as baggage insurance, are generally expendable. A lost suitcase can usually be easily replaced. Mobile phone insurance tends to have a lot of loopholes and pitfalls, so you can literally save yourself this leaky protection. Extra device insurance for bikes, laptops or glasses is only worth it for very expensive purchases. Unemployment insurance, death benefit and private unemployment insurance are often not required.
Never sign insurance applications immediately after speaking with an insurance broker. It is best to request comparative offers before signing. Assistance is available from the Consumer Advice Center’s Insurance Advice Service.