Why foreigners in Switzerland pay higher car insurance premiums
The price you'll pay in Switzerland for your car insurance premium will often depend on the country you are from, a new report has revealed. And it's a controversial practice that has been in place for a long time.
Insurance companies justify this system by pointing out that it is based on statistics: in determining premiums, they take into account criteria such as age, driving record, car type, and, yes, also nationality.
All these factors influence the probability of an accident, and data indicates that certain foreigners are involved in more accidents than others.
"If statistics show that people who hold a certain citizenship tend to make more claims or be involved in more incidents than people of other nationalities, those statistics may influence the premiums charged", according to Moneyland price comparison platform.
“In other words, [for insurance companies] you drive better if you are Swiss than the vast majority of other nationalities”, the broadcaster, LémanBlue, concluded.
Just how much more do foreigners pay?
A 2018 analysis by Comparis price-comparison service indicated that Albanians pay as much as 95 percent more than Swiss drivers, while Italians pay up to 22 percent more.
However, rates for foreign drivers are not the same across Switzerland, Comparis found.
While Zurich is the most expensive city all around, premiums for foreigners are the lowest there: a Swiss driver pays an average of 2,150 francs per year for his comprehensive casco insurance; an Italian 2,429 francs for the same type of coverage (+ 13 percent), and an Albanian 3,530 francs (+64 percent) — 1,380 francs more than a Swiss and 1,100 francs more than an Italian.
The most expensive city in terms of auto premiums for the three nationalities analysed by Comparis is Ticino’s capital Bellinzona.
The Swiss spend an average of 2,367 francs; the Italians 2,675 francs, and the Albanians 3,857 francs.
Comparis didn’t say whether the higher rates for all nationalities are related to the fact that Ticino has the most dangerous drivers in Switzerland.
While this practice is not illegal in Switzerland — unlike in the European Union — some call it discriminatory.
For Mustafa Atici, president of the migrant section of the Social Democratic Party, this practice “is pure discrimination. Thousands of people have to pay more without ever having caused an accident”.
He conceded that many young immigrant drivers may be more often involved in crashes, “but punishing everyone who has the same nationality is not fair”, he said.