Insuring a vehicle in Switzerland
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There are three types of car insurance in Switzerland:

  • Third-party liability insurance, which is compulsory.
  • "Casco" insurance (fully comprehensive or collision) covers damage to the vehicle and is optional.
  • Passenger insurance covers bodily harm to the passengers and is optional.

Third-party liability insurance
All vehicle owners are required by law to take out third-party liability insurance.

  • This insurance covers third-party bodily injury and property damage as a result of operating an insured vehicle, irrespective of who was driving the vehicle at the time the loss was incurred.
  • The Road Traffic Act prescribes minimum guaranteed coverage that depends on the type of vehicle (e.g. three million Swiss francs for passenger vehicles).
  • The injured party has direct right of action against the holder's insurer, i.e. s/he needn't seek recourse against the person who caused the injury or damage in order to obtain compensation - in contrast to other types of liability insurance -, but rather, s/he can make a claim directly with the insurer.
  • Car insurance generally includes comprehensive and passenger insurance, however, they are not mandatory.


Comprehensive insurance
People who are fully dependent on their vehicle and do not have the financial means to replace it quickly in the event of loss or damage should take out comprehensive insurance.

There is restricted coverage and fully comprehensive insurance.

  • Restricted coverage extends to damages to the vehicle caused by theft, hail/windstorm, acts of God, cracked windshields, fire, snowslides and animals.
  • In addition to the risks covered by the restricted coverage insurance, fully comprehensive insurance covers collision damages. As a general rule, you cannot insure collision risk without insuring the risks included in the restricted coverage insurance.
  • The vehicle is insured, not the owner. So it makes no difference who is driving the vehicle when a happening that is insured against takes place (e.g. collision).
  • Fully comprehensive insurance is governed by a bonus-malus system that varies from company to company. This system is not used in the restricted coverage insurance.


Passenger insurance
According to the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA), "Passenger insurance is particularly advisable when the vehicle owner frequently transports passengers who are strangers and s/he is uncertain as to their accident insurance coverage." Bon à savoir is a consumer magazine that does not share this opinion and puts forth quite convincing arguments against the passenger insurance.

  • This insurance covers bodily injury to the insured person(s) as a result of an accident that occurred when using the insured vehicle. Coverage can also be purchased for medical costs, death and disability benefits and in-patient daily benefits. The vehicle owner, driver and/or passengers can be insured.
  • The insured sums can be chosen freely.
  • Passenger insurance has the advantage that the insurer provides benefits irrespective of who is at fault in the event of a collision, for example.

Insurance costs
The cost of insurance in Switzerland is high and varies considerably from one company to the next. Let's take an example:

Opel Vectra 2.01 16V Sport (listed price: 38,000 Swiss francs) for an average risk, 100% bonus:

Third-party liability insurance
Yearly premium ranges from 987 to 1,644 Swiss francs, depending on the company. This premium can drop as low as 382 Swiss francs with a maximum bonus. The deductible is set at 1,000 Swiss francs until the age of 25, and at 500 francs for a learner driver. There is no deductible for other drivers.

Fully comprehensive insurance
Yearly premium ranges from 1,437 to 2,528 Swiss francs, depending on the company. This premium can drop as low as 597 Swiss francs with a maximum bonus. The fully comprehensive insurance deductible is 1,000 Swiss francs.

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