How does accident insurance work in Switzerland?

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
How does accident insurance work in Switzerland?
Accident insurances are mandatory for everyone living in Switzerland. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

Whether you are commuting to work, out on a hike, or simply heading to your local swimming pool facility – an accident can occur anywhere and at any time. But while accidents can be painful, in Switzerland at least your finances should be spared.


In Switzerland, if you work for your employer for at least eight hours per week you will be automatically insured under the obligatory accident insurance, also known as UVG (German), LAA (French), or LAINF (Italian), through your company – whether you have an accident working locally or while away on business.

This means that any occupational accidents and illnesses, as well as any non-occupational accidents occurring during your leisure time, will be covered by your accident insurance, which in turn is paid for by your employer. (The premiums for insurance for non-occupational accidents are, however, usually paid by the employee?.

This also applies to those working from home as well as trainees.

However, the rules are slightly different if you work part-time, or fewer than the eight hours per week required for your employer to fork out money. In this case, your employer is still required to cover any work-related accidents, however, they do not have to cover non-occupational accidents on your behalf.

It is also important to keep in mind that working for several employers for eight hours (or more) per week collectively does not qualify you for the accident insurance.

You will instead need to organise your own personal accident insurance through the obligatory health insurance (KVG / LaMal) to cover any non-occupational accidents you may incur..

Likewise, if you are self-employed or a student, the accident insurance (UVG) does not apply to you. In this case, too, you must take out personal accident insurance.

Note that if you are self-employed in Switzerland, you will still be insured against accidents by your (mandatory) health insurance company, but this will not include coverage in the event of a loss of wages or earnings.

READ MORE: Will my Swiss health insurance cover treatment in another canton?

If you happen to be unemployed, you will be automatically insured via the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva), so long as you meet the requirements for receiving unemployment benefits. The accident insurance premiums will be deducted from your unemployment insurance daily allowance.


What should I do if I have an accident in Switzerland?

If you have an accident in Switzerland you must notify your employer as soon as possible. If you are unemployed, you must notify your regional employment centre or Suva.

Those who have an accident cover via their health insurance company need to reach out to their provider after which you will receive an accident report form to complete and send back to your insurer.

What type of accidents are covered?

In Switzerland, accident insurance – which is obligatory for everyone living there - applies exclusively to what the law defines as an accident or occupational illness, however determining what constitutes an accident versus an illness is not straightforward.

You can head to Suva’s website for more information regarding the criteria laid down in law that is used to determine whether your accident is indeed classified as such, or falls within the illness category.


READ MORE: Should I take out insurance before I go skiing in Switzerland?

What is included in the accident insurance?

In Switzerland, the personal (and UVG) accident insurance includes a number of perks, such as outpatient and hospital care services as well as reimbursements for expenses such as transport costs, housekeeping, and necessary aids related to your recovery.

The accident insurance (UVG) covering employees who work for the same company at least eight hours per week further provides the following:

  • Cash benefits in the form of daily allowances in the event of temporary incapacity to work or a disability pension for people who are likely to be permanently incapacitated
  • Helplessness allowance for the help of third parties for support in everyday life
  • Survivors' benefits such as widow's/widower's pensions, or orphan's pension
  • Impairment compensation in the form of a capital payment in the event of damage to physical or mental integrity

How much of my salary does the accident insurance cover?

The obligatory accident insurance covers a maximum of 80 percent of the last salary – up to the UVG maximum of CHF 148,200 (as of January 1st, 2023). However, you can always take out supplementary insurance to close this gap and not lose out financially.

What happens if I get fired or take unpaid leave?

If you get fired or finally find the time to take that sabbatical you've been eyeing up, there is some comforting news: you get to keep your  (UVG) for 31 days from your last working day or last wage payment.

Am I covered during my maternity leave?

Yes, you will continue to receive accident insurance (UVG) coverage while on maternity leave as you are still employed with your company.

Will my children be insured too?

No. In Switzerland children are insured against accidents via their mandatory health insurance.

If you do wish to have your child (and finances) protected against any accidents involving your child, you can always take out private accident insurance or child insurance for better coverage.


Can my accident insurance (UVG) benefits be refused?

The short answer is, yes. If you cause an accident through your own fault while fully aware of the risk, such as engage in a dangerous sport at night, then you may be seen as having acted with gross negligence. If this is the case, benefits can be either reduced or refused altogether.

How long can I remain insured with my accident insurance?

If you work for the same employer for at least eight hours per week then you will be insured for the entire duration of your employment.

What happens if I have an accident while abroad?

Should you have an accident while on vacation or away on a business trip, don’t worry. You will still be covered by your accident insurance.

If you spend a significant amount of time abroad or happen to travel quite frequently, it may also be worth taking out supplementary insurance as medical treatment and transport costs abroad are not fully covered by obligatory accident insurance.


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