Most people don’t relate insurance with Greece. But protecting your family with insurance for your house, car – and even your health – is now more important than ever. Read on!
Insurance in Greece
The concept of insurance is not something people typically associate with Greece, but it’s now more important than ever. Think about this for a moment. Maybe you reside in Greece permanently or just for holidays. Perhaps you own a house or work there. Maybe you’re a student, or a retiree. Whatever your circumstances, insurance is one of main things you should arrange in Greece.
Read on for a short description of some of the must-have insurances you must to have in Greece, why you need them, and some tips for purchasing.
Did you know that vehicle third-party liability insurance is required in Greece? All vehicles with Greek number plates require insurance in Greece. Those with non-Greek number plates must seek insurance from the vehicle’s country of origin, as no Greek insurance is able to issue a plan.
Greek state regulators regularly perform electronic checks. Any vehicle found without insurance will face a fine of 250 Euros plus the cost of insurance. You have two choices here: hand in the number plates to the registration office (read: don’t have a car and drive) or keep your vehicle insured all year around.
There are many insurance providers in the country, ranging from big multinational companies to local ones.
TIP: When you shop for car insurance in Greece you should not base your decision only on the cost of the premiums, as a cheap premium might mean that the firm is trying to attract customers in order to compensate for its poor financial performance. Instead, look for reputable companies that will give you value for money.
BONUS TIP: If you ever plan to travel outside of Greece with your car, be sure to ask for a “Green Card’’ to accompany your insurance plan. This document is your proof of insurance when traveling outside the country.
Did you know that Greece is #1 in earthquake activity in Europe, and #5 globally? Extreme weather conditions are also on the rise. Therefore, Greeks are seeking home insurance at record rates to protect themselves from these events, and even theft. Homeowner’s insurance is not mandatory, however if you have a mortgage on your home, you will be required by the bank to purchase.
When insuring your home, be sure to insure your home for the cost of rebuilding it – not what you paid for it.
In determining the amount of insurance to purchase, remember that the land under your house is not at risk from theft, windstorm, fire, and other perils covered in your home insurance policy. Don’t include its value in deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy, otherwise you will pay a higher premium than you should. Keep in mind that the commercial/sale value is different from the construction cost/insured value.
Additionally, be sure to include any communal areas, such as a pool, garage, patios, etc. to protect against damages. A reputable insurance agent will be able to advise you of the right amount of coverage.
TIP: Know upfront if your policy will not cover your home if it’s unoccupied for several days. Note: the limit for time away from home is usually 45 days. In this case we declare a friend, neighbor, or service company to look after the house while we are away. The thinking behind this is to prevent further damage in case of an incident because no one is there to take care of it. Also, be sure to ask about any exclusions for things like jewelry, bank checks, cash, etc. Make sure your policy spells it all out, so there are no surprises.
Greece does have nationalized health care, however due to severe budget cutbacks, the public health system (IKA – EOPYY – PEDI and now EFKA) is extremely bureaucratic, slow, and confusing to the point where even the Greeks cannot make sense of it. Therefore, an increasing number of Greeks are purchasing private health insurance. This allows immediate access to quality medical services. Among the other benefits not found in public services is the ability to receive a global air medical transfer in case of an emergency.
Non-EU residents who wish to live in Greece may be required to purchase Residence Permit insurance. For them, basic insurance plans with lower coverage and premiums are available and easy to obtain, often with no medical tests required.
TIP: Don’t shy away from this because there are “free” services. In the end, private health insurance ends up being lower in cost compared to the offered or “free” services.
Be sure your advisor is licensed by the Bank of Greece by showing his/her professional ID and get referrals. A licensed, reputable insurance advisor will be able to counsel you on all important insurance issues and determine the appropriate level of coverage.
Many companies now offer English-speaking help lines that operate 24/7. It’s something we don’t like to think about until we need it. Protect yourself, your property, and your family with the right insurance.
If you have questions about this article, contact Stavros directly. email
Stavros Tsichlis is an insurance advisor licensed by the Bank of Greece since 2009. With a background in sales and later as a marketing consultant in London, he moved back to Greece in 2009 and specialized in Xpat insurance services. Since then, he’s advised thousands of people on insurance issues. In 2017, Stavros founded the insurance portal www.insurance-greece.com. He’s also the vice-president of the Association of Insurance Advisors in his local area.
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