Guide to car insurance in Switzerland


How does motor vehicle or car insurance in Switzerland work?

Swiss motor vehicle insurance englobes cars, old timers, scooters, motorbikes, camping cars, professional vehicles and boats.

Three modules of motor vehicle or more specifically Swiss car insurance can be subscribed to, two are optional and one is obligatory.

1) Liability: Liability insurance is obligatory for all motor vehicles. License plates cannot be delivered without motor vehicle liability protection. This covers the driver for any damage done to a third party or to their motor vehicle or belongings.
2) Partial Casco: Partial Casco basically insures the car  for everything except collision and parking damage. Protection includes: fire, lightening, explosions, short-circuits, cables eaten by rodents, natural events (winds more than 75kmh, hail, snow damage, land and rock slides), theft, broken glass, collisions with animals and vandalism.
3) Full Casco: Complete collision and damage protection caused by the policy holder to his or her own car.

Swiss car insurance is valid in Europe and the countries bordering the Mediterranean as is specified on the green card that is delivered by the insurance company. Outside these territories country specific car insurance is required.

In Switzerland each Canton has one or more motor vehicle administrative centres, which delivers car registration papers, license plates, import formalities, driving licenses and technical controls (services des autos). The centres are all linked to the insurance companies via a centralized computer system and can only deliver license plates once an insurance company has sent them an electronic certificate which confirms that the car and driver are insured, this makes it impossible to drive without insurance. If a driver does not pay the car insurance premium an order is sent to the police to withdraw the license plates from the car until payment has been made, accompanied by a fine.

What amount should my car be insured for in Switzerland?

The car must always be insured for the catalogue price, plus options. Underinsurance applies to car insurance, so the amount covered must be as precise as possible.

What deductible should I choose?

The rule is generally the higher the deductible, the lower the yearly insurance premium. The complexity of car insurance in Switzerland  is that the premium is made up of three separate modules and four or five extended coverages that are almost always included in the Swiss car insurance plan for vehicles that are less than five years old.

.Liability module
Minimum : 0.-
Maximum : 3000.- (higher is possible, but very rare)

.Partial casco module
Minimum : 0.-
Maximum : 3000.- (higher is possible, but very rare)

.Full casco module
Minimum : 250.-
Maximum : 3000.- (higher is possible, but very rare)

What value or amount is reimbursed in case of a car insurance total loss claim?

A total loss claim will be reimbursed at current value.
This amount can be significantly improved with current value supplement extended coverage; the best providers will refund 100% of the value of the car for the first two years of its life with the supplement.

Extended coverage that should always be included in car insurance in Switzerland

.Bonus protection
Always include bonus protection in your Swiss car insurance plan to avoid costly premium increases following a liability, partial or full casco claim.

.Gross negligence
Always include gross negligence in your car insurance in Switzerland  so that the insurance company does not reduce your compensation if negligence can be associated to your claim.

.Parking damage
Always include parking damage in your Swiss car insurance plan if the vehicle is less then 3 or 4 years old. Most companies refuse parking damage on older cars or ask for photos or for an expert to view the car if it is more than 5 years old (to make sure that there is no pre-existing damage to the car).

.Current value supplement
Always include current value supplement in your car protection plan to compensate for the rapid depreciation rate of a car in case of a total loss.

Extended coverage that can be added to car insurance in Switzerland:

.If you often travel with a lot of expensive personal belongings in your car
Personal belongings extended car insurance coverage will cover belongings that are broken in an accident and for theft if the car is locked and broken into.

.If you would like to avoid surprises when headlights and rear-view mirrors are broken
Most companies offer an extended glass and associated materials protection which will cover smashed light bulbs, rear-view mirror holders and other associated materials.

.If you ride a motorbike
Damage and destruction of safety gear (helmet, protective clothing, boots and gloves). Usually covered at replacement value if less than two years old, and a reduced amount if older.
Theft of the above items is also covered if they are attached to the vehicle (helmet) or in a locked top box.

.If you require an extended protection plan following an accident
If you or your passengers have limited accident, death and disability protection extended accident and treatment costs can be added to the car insurance plan. Depending on the provider benefits can include private hospitalization, medical and dental treatment, medical transport, damaged material, rooming-in costs, loss of income, death and disability benefits,

.If you require an assistance package
If you do not benefit from the constructor’s or a motor vehicle club assistance package or want to optimise the assistance package comprehensive roadside assistance packages can be added to the Swiss car insurance plan (assistance limited to the insured car) or to the personal insurance plan (assistance while driving any car in Europe except a rental).

Examples of car insurance claims in Switzerland

.A hits B’s car from behind and damages it when B abruptly stops at a red light.
A’s car liability insurance module will pay for the repair of B’s car.

.A slides off a wet road and damages his car.
The repair to the damage of A’s car will only be paid by the insurance company if A opted for the full casco module. If A’s car is a total loss A will not be compensated if he does not have the full casco module.

.A’s car is hit by B’s car because B went through a red light.
The repair to A’s car and all related expenses will be paid for by B’s car liability module. If B does not have the gross negligence extended car insurance coverage his insurance company will reduce the compensation obliging B to pay for part of the claim himself.

.A’s car collides with an animal on the road and is damaged.
The damage to the car will be paid for through the partial casco module. The insurance company can request a report from the local authority to confirm the collision. Always take a picture of the animal for the claims file. Damage caused by a maneuver to avoid hitting an animal is generally not covered.