Home insurance in Cuenca can be expensive, compared to the insurance prices you may be used to. So you'll have to decide whether house and contents insurance is worth what you'll pay for it.
In Ecuador, you'll receive quotes for your house (or condo) and for the contents. House coverage is very cheap compared to the contents coverage.
Most houses in Ecuador are made of concrete, bricks or adobe. Most condos are built of bricks and concrete. As such, the risk of fire is substantially reduced. On the other hand, here in Cuenca there's the risk of earthquakes (and in other areas, the risk of volcanic eruption).
Both earthquakes (terremoto in Spanish) and volcanic eruptions are covered in your house policy, as are the following natural phenomena:
Events beyond your control are also covered, including:
And then, of course, there's the deductible. For fire and lightning, earthquakes and tremors, you'll likely pay 2% of the insured value, with a minimum of $1,000 that you'll have to pay yourself.
For rain and flooding, the deductible is usually 1% of the insured value, with a $500 minimum.
For the other events noted above, the deductible will likely be 10%, with a $250 minimum.
If your house is totally destroyed by any of the above, your insurance company will have the right to pay you for the damages or to pay for the costs of reconstruction.
Just about every house and condo building in Ecuador has either 24 hour protection (its own, or a gated community's security), metal grates over the windows and doors, or both. And many have loud alarms (very few have silent alarms that transmit to a security company).
So insurance on your contents may be overkill, especially at the price you'll pay for the coverage you'll receive. You may want it for protection against destruction, though.
You won't even be considered for contents insurance if the doors and windows (at least those on the ground floor (planta baja) of your house) don't have metal grating of some type protecting them from break-ins).
If you have any jewelry or art that you wanted insured, they have to be listed and appraised. In addition, jewelry has to be kept in a wall or floor safe.
It's important to be aware that coverage against robbery will likely only pay you half of the insured value (that is, if the insured value of the contents is $25,000, the insured value against robbery will be only $12,500).
There are also some stipulations. Anything that a guest or a worker steals is not covered (for example, an expensive figurine removed by a repairman working inside your home). For a theft to be covered, either the robber has to break into your house, or, after you let him in under other pretenses, he attacks you or holds you at gunpoint.
There's also separate coverage for electronics (the equivalent of a rider in North America), third party liability, and insurance for any domestic help you may employ.
Electronics break easily. And robbers love to steal them since they're high value items. And that's what makes them expensive to insure.
You'll need extra coverage for all electronics (that's in addition to the contents insurance), and you'll likely pay about 1% of the insured value as your premium every year.
This coverage (in Spanish, third party liability is called responsabilidad civil) is cheap, since people in Ecuador don't sue each other. In fact, if you want it, your coverage for damages to people or property will be for just a few thousand dollars, not the millions required in North America.
If you hire a full-time maid (not a cleaning woman who comes in for a couple of hours once or twice a week), you may want coverage to cover her accidental death and for any medical expenses. This may be especially important should she cook for you.
The house or condo you want to insure must be your primary and habitual residence for the premiums discussed below. For a second home, you'll likely be able to purchase insurance, but the costs will be higher.
Building insurance is inexpensive. For example, to insure your house for $100,000, you would likely pay less than $300 a year, including the tax.
The expense comes with the contents insurance. If you want coverage for just $20,000 worth of household items, jewelry, art, etc. (not including electronics), you'll pay over $200 a year for that peace of mind. But the robbery/theft coverage will only pay you for half that $20,000 value.
To insure your electronics, you'll pay 1% of the value. So for $5,000 coverage (not too difficult to reach if you have a 60" plasma TV and a couple of computers), you'll pay $50 a year, in addition to the contents coverage.
Third party liability will run you about $25 a year. Some companies will include this for free if you obtain both the building and contents coverages.
Insurance for your domestic help will run you around $10-$15 a year.
As you can see, home insurance in Cuenca is expensive for the coverage you'll receive.
Here, your biggest threats are earthquakes, lightning and robbery. If you think the chances of any of these happening are remote, then insurance is something you can skip.
But for considerably less than $1,000 a year (unless your house is very expensive, or you have a lot of expensive toys), you can have home insurance in Cuenca and protect your house and its contents.
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!