Private insurances

In the Netherlands, there are many different private insurances offered and most Dutch people use these private insurances. See below for the different private insurances available.

Liability insurance
In the Netherlands, many people take out a so-called Wettelijke aansprakelijkheids verzekering (WA) / Liability Insurance. This insurance protects a person or entity from claims initiated by another party. Although there are people who think this is a compulsory insurance, it is NOT. Only when driving a car it is compulsory. In case you are buying a car, you need to get a liability insurance.

Dutch people often think that however careful you are, you or one of your family members may unintentionally cause damage to another person or another person’s property (the dreaded ball through your neighbour’s windowpane). Almost all insurance companies offer this Liability Insurance.

Legal assistance insurance
The legal assistance/aid insurance (Rechtsbijstandsverzekering) is an insurance which provides cover (worldwide) for the costs of certain legal disputes concerning criminal cases and specific disputes following an event in which you have suffered damage. This may be the case when you were injured in a collision and the responsible party denies fault. Furthermore, it can cover legal assistance in disputes to social, contractual, and labour law issues, consumer’s conflicts, and disputes regarding housing issues.

Travel insurance
The continuous travel insurance (doorlopende reisverzekering) is another popular insurance, especially for people who have to travel frequently (expats, for example). This insurance, which can also be applicable to your partner and other family members, covers loss or theft of luggage, medical costs and assistance, cancellation costs, and many other risks involved in travelling. Note that your standard Health Insurance will also insure you for medical expenses abroad. Travellers to the US and Canada are often advised to take out additional travel insurance because of the excessive difference in healthcare expenses in those countries, which will not be covered by our national insurance (which outside Europe only covers 200% of the expenses on a national level).

Also check your coverage if you’re planning to do sports during your holiday with a higher risk of injury, like skiing or scuba diving.

Accident insurance
An accident insurance (Ongevallenverzekering) is an insurance against bodily injury or death because of accident and the expenses entailed in these events. These kinds of insurances will pay out a lump sum amount if you or a family member become(s) permanently disabled, lose(s) body parts or die(s) as a result of an accident.

Motor vehicle insurance
In the Netherlands, it is mandatory to insure vehicles (autoverzekering) at least for third party liability. The owner of the car insures the vehicle and is held responsible, irrespective of the driver.

There are three options for insuring a vehicle in the Netherlands. The most comprehensive car insurance is the All Risk insurance. This essentially covers most things that could happen to your car, subject to certain general exclusions.

• Third party/liability (Wettelijke Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering/WA): obligatory insurance covering damage to third parties, which means everybody and everything involved in an accident except for you, your car, and your possessions.
• Restricted comprehensive cover (WA + mini casco): covers damages such as fire, explosions, lightning, theft, storm and broken windscreens.
• Comprehensive cover (Casco/Volledig casco): contains restricted comprehensive cover and claims on damage by collision and damage caused by violence.

The Dutch car insurances work with a no-claim premium discount, which means that the more years you drive without claiming damage the higher discount you get to the premium contributions. This often amounts to a 70% discount.

In the event of an accident, each person involved must fill in a claim report and send it to their respective insurance company. The form available is the same for each insurance company and drivers are advised to keep a form in the vehicle at all times. The insurance documents must be carried in the car.

Life insurance
Life insurance (Levensverzekering) is a contract made with an insurance company, whereby the insurance company agrees to pay money to your survivors in the event of your death. You make payments to your insurance provider to guarantee this cover. There are many different life insurances and they can be taken out for many reasons. It is a good idea to ask your insurance provider to explain the circumstances in which you are covered as fully as possible. It is equally important to ask whether you would also be insured if you died in a terrorist attack, in a natural disaster, in an unnatural or unusual way, by accident, or after taking your own life.

Life insurance mortgage
If you buy a house and take out a mortgage, it is often required to take out a life insurance connected to the mortgage as well. In that case, the burden to your survivors and the risk for the bank is relieved a bit. Your survivors can continue to live in your home and the bank is assured of continued pay.

Surviving dependants benefit
The benefits paid under the National Surviving Dependants Act (Algemene Nabestaanden Wet – ANW) are financial support granted by the government to people whose partner has died, and to children who are orphaned. These benefits are paid by the SVB. As the coverage is limited, many people take out an additional Survivor Insurance, which insures you against the loss of income up to a certain chosen degree. Private pension funds (in which you might take part through your employer) often offer these packages as well.

Funeral insurance
Death is inevitable and often comes suddenly. Some people choose to avoid the issue and do not arrange for their funeral, whereas other people make up a last will or testament (which in the Netherland you can make up with the notary), insure themselves or put money aside as a contribution to funeral expenses. However, if you have a particular funeral in mind, or wish to protect your loved ones from unnecessary stress and organisational hassle, you may wish to purchase funeral insurance.

For expats, who often wish to be buried or cremated in their country of origin, these arrangements might require even more organisation and costs. It is therefore very sensible to think of taking out an international funeral insurance that not only covers the costs involved, but also takes care of the arrangement arrangement and care of the departure in the Netherlands and the arrangement of the transport via Schiphol airport to the country of your demand.

Income insurances
Over the last years, a number of relatively new insurances have been introduced. These private insurances cover the loss of income in case of unemployment, disability, or death. The additional Survivor Pension/Insurance has already been mentioned before, but there are two other insurances that need to be mentioned as well.

Even though the Dutch National Social Security and the Employee Social Security schemes provide a solid ‘vangnet’ (safety net), insurers and banks have introduced additional income insurances. The general idea behind these kinds of insurances is that if you become unemployed or disabled due to illness, your income and your standard of living should remain more or less the same. These insurances are often offered when taking out a mortgage, but pension providers also offer them. Before taking out such an insurance, expats should ask themselves what they intend to do in case of unemployment or disability (i.e. whether or not they will return to their country of origin) and where they will receive their national or employee benefits.

More information
These insurances are offered by a variety of insurance companies and banks, some are specialised on expat insurances, other aren’t, Finding a suitable insurance takes careful thought and involves several financial decisions. You cannot be sure to have chosen the best insurance policy if you have not taken professional advice. Make sure to seek advice from several different insurance providers or ‘independent’ intermediate parties (tussenpersoon), but bear in mind that advisers may be trying to make their own insurances as appealing as possible. If possible, research their policies.

On these websites you can find more information: Sociale Verzekerings Bank (SVB), compare health insurance companies or general insurance companies.