Every vehicle owner must have car insurance in Switzerland. In any case, almost no one would let their beloved vehicle be delivered to the potential risks without any protection.
However, the insurance companies do not make car insurance in Switzerland easy to understand.
There are several different insurance levels for vehicles, but only one level is mandatory.
On the other hand, there are even some options which are completely useless in practice. But the insurance companies will always try to talk the customer into as many options as possible.
In this article we will go into the details of the car insurance system in Switzerland. We will look at what different levels of insurance exist and which ones should be used.
This article shows which points need to be considered and how costs can be effectively reduced, of course without sacrificing benefits.
Car insurance in Switzerland
There are many types of car insurance in Switzerland. They are divided into the following categories:
- Liability insurance
- Partial coverage insurance
- Fully comprehensive insurance
Of these three insurance categories, only the liability insurance is mandatory, all others are voluntary.
Nevertheless, it is often useful to take out partial or fully comprehensive insurance.
However, there is a small one in the case of compulsory insurance, namely leasing. If the vehicle was leased, the fully comprehensive insurance is obligatory. This is a disadvantage of vehicle leasing.
In addition, there are many options that a customer can add to the coverage.
Each of these three categories also has different deductibles and coverage.
Unlike health insurance, all levels of cover must be taken out with the same insurer.
In this article it is considered that the customer has a car with Swiss license plates.
However, if the person has a car with foreign license plates, he or she does not need a car insurance in Switzerland. However, it is compulsory for every vehicle registered in Switzerland.
The liability insurance
Third party insurance or civil liability is mandatory for every car owner in Switzerland.
This insurance covers the damage caused to others. For example, if you collide with another car, the damage to the other vehicle is covered by the liability insurance.
The same applies if you injure someone. The insurance covers the person’s medical expenses and their recovery.
This insurance usually covers a considerable amount of money. Since the law specifies this insurance, each insurance will cover almost the same areas.
One thing in which the insurance may differ is the deductible.
- CHF 1’000.- for drivers under 25 years
- CHF 500 for drivers who have obtained their driving license within the last two years
Most insurance companies do not require a deductible for all other types of drivers.
However, some insurances set a deductible of 500 CHF or even 1000 CHF as a basis.
If the driver assumes that he will not be involved in collisions, a partial coverage insurance is sufficient.
Partial coverage insurance
A partial coverage insurance is optional, but highly recommended.
It covers the following damages:
- Collision with animals
- Damage to windows
- Damage caused by martens
- Theft of the vehicle
- Theft or damage to personal belongings in the vehicle
The exact terms of cover depend on the insurance company. And each insurance company applies a different deductible for each category.
If the car is older, it depends heavily on where the vehicle is parked. If the car is always parked outside, it may still be a good idea to keep this insurance.
Damage caused by martens is an often underestimated nuisance and occurs more often than you would like. If the car is parked outside, this is a real risk.
However, if the vehicle is parked outside, such protection may be waived if the vehicle is older.
But beware. If you have a garage at home, but none at work, there is still a risk of martens or hail.
Consider: Some insurances have their own special conditions or do not cover damages in some cases, therefore read the contract carefully or get professional advice.
Fully comprehensive insurance
Fully comprehensive insurance is highly recommended if the vehicle is younger than 5 years. In addition, fully comprehensive insurance is even compulsory for leasing in Switzerland.
This covers the following damages:
- All benefits of the partial coverage insurance
- All damages to your own vehicle (also self-inflicted)
- Parking damage (optional as additional insurance)
The vehicle liability insurance as well as partial coverage insurance do not cover costs for damages caused by own fault, such as e.g. collision with a parking column.
A self-inflicted accident can even mean total loss for the vehicle, which is why comprehensive insurance is worthwhile, especially for newer vehicles.
If other drivers, such as friends or relatives, are often driving the vehicle, you can also take out a fully comprehensive insurance for safety reasons.
The risk of accidents is much higher with new drivers, which is why fully comprehensive insurance makes sense here, unless the vehicle has already gotten old anyway and is no longer of high value.
In summary, the fully comprehensive insurance is worthwhile if:
- Vehicle is younger than 5 years
- Friends and family members often use the vehicle
- New drivers are on the road with their vehicle
If the repair costs are higher than the value of the vehicle, the insurance company may decide not to repair the vehicle. Consequently, the current vehicle market value, less deductible, is paid out and the owner can decide whether to repair it or buy a new vehicle.
Passenger insurance covers accidents for people who are travelling in a car. Should an accident occur, this insurance also covers damages to the insured.
This insurance is sometimes also called passenger insurance.
At first sight it sounds very good, but this insurance is completely unnecessary in Switzerland.
Because in Switzerland the accident insurance is obligatory. So every Swiss citizen is already insured against accidents.
Likewise, people with a Schengen visa are also subject to accident insurance in Switzerland. Thus, for most Swiss citizens, the passenger insurance is wasted money.
When is passenger insurance useful?
The only reason to take out this insurance is if the insured person regularly drives people who are not resident in Switzerland in the vehicle.
Bonus system for car insurance in Switzerland
Each insurer uses a bonus system for the insurance policies.
The premium usually starts at 100%.
This means that the policyholder pays 100% of the premium. The way the bonus goes up and down is different for each insurance company. However, the concept usually remains the same.
If the policyholder does not have an accident for a contractually agreed period of time or does not use his insurance for a whole year, the premium decreases. As a result, the premium usually decreases by 5-10% each time the bonus is paid.
However, if the policyholder is involved in an accident, his premium can increase again by 5-10%.
For this reason, if the policyholder is often involved in accidents, the premium can even rise again above the initial 100%.
Some insurance companies have an option called bonus protection. If the client chooses this option, the premium will only increase after the second incident per year.
On the other hand, most insurances prescribe a minimum premium of 30-40%, because the insurances do not offer free protection just because one has not had an accident for the last 20 years.
9 tips to save money on car insurance in Switzerland
How can I save on car insurance?
Purchase costs, fuel, service, etc. all costs which can accumulate quickly.
With these 9 tips you can at least save on car insurance in Switzerland.
1. Change your car insurance.
The current insurance may have been the cheapest 5 years ago, when the contract was signed. On the other hand, the cheapest insurance will gradually become the most expensive.
Therefore, it is essential to compare annually, unless a fixed contract period was agreed upon.
2. Reconsider insurance cover
The car may no longer be the latest model or the insured may have been given a garage space at work and at home. As a result, it may no longer be worthwhile to maintain a fully or partially comprehensive insurance.
Rethink superfluous protection, cancel and save money.
3. Pay premium completely in advance
As with health insurance, car insurance companies also offer discounts for policyholders who pay their premiums once a year in advance.
In short, there are three options available to the insured:
- Once a year
Since it is usually not a considerable amount of money, it should be no problem to pay the full amount in advance and thus save premiums.
4. Negotiate a start at a lower bonus level
With the above-mentioned bonus system there is often freely negotiable leeway.
Because not everyone has to start at the 100% bonus level, often a start at 80% can be negotiated.
If you would like to protect yourself, you can choose the bonus protection option in this case.
5. Go without free choice of garage
This can be compared with the free choice of doctor in health insurance.
The insurance company chooses the nearest repair shop and if the garage owner is on the list of the insurance company anyway, you save money without the choice being really limited.
If the damage is repaired at another garage, the deductible is higher.
6. Pause the license plate
If you don’t use your car for a while, because you want to take the train for example, you can pause your license plate for a while.
For the period in which the license plate is reset, the premium is thus refunded by the insurance company at the end of the year.
Now not all insurance providers are the same. Some refund the entire insurance premium, others refund only a part of it.
7. Do not insure carried items in the car insurance
Who has already covered the option “simple theft abroad” by the household insurance, can finally save the option “carried along things” with the car insurance.
8. Crash recorder for young drivers
If the young driver has a crash recorder or tachograph installed, the insurance company grants a discount.
The crash recorder stores acceleration, date and time of the last 30 seconds before the accident. The savings potential is 15%.
In addition, the tachograph continuously collects data on the driver’s driving behavior and transmits it to the insurance company. With a good driving profile, the savings potential is up to 25%.
9. Choose an environmentally friendly vehicle
Many insurance providers now offer a large discount to vehicle owners with electric or hybrid engines.
Some even offer discounts for cars with low consumption or low gas emissions.
Savings potential: up to 25%.