Living abroad can be an exciting experience. But what if you fall ill or your car breaks down in the middle of the road? There’s no need to worry when you are properly insured. Now that you are a Belgian resident, health, car and unemployment insurance are compulsory, while other types are merely optional. Not sure where to begin? How about right here.
Health insurance and social security
Belgium is well-known for its excellent healthcare system. There are many hospitals that offer high-quality medical care at an affordable cost. Expats living and working in Belgium must be insured to receive healthcare refunds.
When you fall ill or need medical care, your health insurance company reimburses a part of your medical expenses. Belgian healthcare is accessible and affordable for locals and expats alike, and you are free to visit any doctor of your choice. Generally, medical costs are paid in advance by the patient and are then completely or partly reimbursed by the Belgian health insurance fund. The amount of the refund varies depending on the type of treatment. Keep in mind that there’s a six-month waiting period for service activation after joining, unless you were already entitled to reimbursements in another EU country.
In addition to public insurance, you can opt for private health insurance to cover the remaining costs or supplementary medical care. There are plenty of private insurance providers, but make sure you compare their packages to see which one is best suited to your situation.
Apply for health insurance in 3 steps
- Step 1: complete your residency registration to receive your Belgian eID card.
- Step 2: get registered for social security, either through your employer or by registering yourself at the social security office.
- Step 3: select the mutuelle/ziekenfonds of your choice depending on your religious or political affiliation or opt for an independent one.
Other than mandatory health insurance, private sector employees in Belgium pay 13.07% of their salaries toward social security contributions to finance the subsidized healthcare system. For blue-collar workers (and artists), 108% of their gross income is used as the basis of the contribution calculation. Another portion of this fee goes into the unemployment fund, which compensates workers who have lost their jobs. In both cases, the amount is automatically deducted from their salaries.
To drive a car in Belgium, you’ll need to have Belgian car insurance. This rule also applies if you bought your car in your home country. In Belgium, just like in many other countries, insurance is affiliated with the vehicle, not the driver. Depending on the level of protection, you can choose full or partial coverage or basic third-party liability coverage for damage you cause to another person or vehicle. Only this basic coverage is legally required.
The cost of the insurance varies by the selected package and your personal claim history. In other words: the more accidents you have had, the higher your fee will be. To prove that you are properly insured, you will need to keep your insurance and accident form in the car at all times. Your insurance company will provide you with both.
Apart from these mandatory types of insurance, there are plenty more to choose from. Although these plans are optional, some of them are highly recommended:
- Home insurance: to protect your property and belongings
- Life insurance: in case loved ones pass away
- Pet insurance: to cover medical costs for pets
- Travel insurance: in case anything happens abroad
- Family and personal liability insurance: to cover third-party liability
- Legal insurance: to pay for the costs of legal actions
In search of a stress-free expat life, for you and your family? Insure yourself well and save yourself a lot of trouble. Here at Link2Europe, we are happy to inform you. Get in touch!