Compulsory insurance - Description

Basic health insurance

Under Swiss health insurance law, every person resident in Switzerland for more than six months is required to take out insurance with one of the recognised schemes providing basic cover. You should join a health insurance scheme within three months of your arrival in Switzerland; otherwise you may be liable to a fine.

The compulsory health insurance covers basic medical needs, including inpatient treatment in a shared room, basic outpatient treatment and the reimbursement of drugs recognized by the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO).

The services are identical from one scheme to the next, but the amount of the premiums and the quality of the insurance service may vary. So it is worth your while comparing, using the independent site or, for example, which enables you to obtain quotes from several providers in line with your profile and posts comments from users.

For more extensive coverage (such as inpatient care in a single room, choice of doctor, reimbursement of alternative medicines or dental charges), you can take out supplementary medical insurance. This is arranged by the free market, without an obligation on the part of the insurer to provide cover, and includes a wide range of services and tariffs.

Accident insurance

Accident insurance, which covers both professional and private injuries, may be paid for in full or in part by your employer. Check with the HR department in your company to find out whether professional and private accidents are covered or not.

In the event of non-coverage or partial coverage, you can take out private health insurance to supplement compulsory basic health insurance.

Please note: People not in regular employment (e.g. your partner or children) are not generally covered by the accident insurance scheme run by your employer. They need to be covered by means of basic health insurance. Similarly, if you employ staff (household, garden), you need to insure them against the risk of professional accidents.

Motor vehicle insurance

Before you can obtain registration plates for your vehicle in Switzerland, you need to submit a personal liability insurance certificate (third party cover), which you can pick up from most Swiss insurance companies.

Insurance against damage to your car (fully comprehensive or part comprehensive cover) is recommended but not compulsory. The independent site will help you compare the various motor vehicle and personal liability insurance offerings.

To ride a bike in Switzerland, you need to buy an insurance sticker each year and attach it to your bike. These can be obtained from post offices and bike shops, or ordered online from the Swiss Touring Club (TCS), with the possibility of taking our supplementary insurance against injury or theft, and with assistance abroad, for thirty or so francs per month.

Building insurance

This type of insurance, which is compulsory for building owners, can be obtained relatively cheaply and provides coverage for fire, explosion and natural disaster.

Fire insurance

Every person in the canton of Vaud is similarly required to insure their personal belongings against the risk of fire (