In Switzerland, every individual must be insured against accidents. There are a variety of ways of doing this:
If you are a salaried employee, your employer is obliged to take out accident insurance for you, and a premium is deducted from your salary. The same system applies to employees who work from home and to trainees.
If you are registered unemployed, providing you receive unemployment benefits you are automatically insured via the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva) in case of accident. The premium is deducted from your benefits.
It you are self-employed you must take out personal accident insurance.
In all other cases you are not covered by accident insurance specifically. Instead, accidents are covered as a risk under your compulsory private health insurance. This applies to stay-at-home partners, children, students and retirees, etc. Check your health insurance policy to make sure that you have accident cover.
It is not always easy to distinguish between accident and illness. Accident insurance applies exclusively to what the law defines as an accident or occupational illness. Suva uses specific examples to illustrate the criteria laid down in law that are used to determine which is most likely the case. (web page available in German, French and Italian).
If you work at least eight hours a week for your employer, your accident insurance covers occupational accidents and illnesses, and non-occupational accidents occurring during your leisure time.
If you work for less than eight hours a week for your employer, your accident insurance covers occupational accidents and occupational illnesses only. Accidents that occur on your way to and from work are considered to be occupational accidents.
If you have had an accident you must notify your employer as soon as possible. The employer must in turn notify their insurance company immediately.
If you are registered unemployed, you must notify your regional employment centre or Suva.
If you have accident cover via your health insurance company, you must notify it if you have an accident.
You will then receive an accident report form to complete and send back to the insurer responsible.
Your accident insurance will reimburse accident-related medical expenses. You do not have to pay a deductible or retention fee yourself. However, if you are insured against accidents through your health insurance provider, you will have to pay the deductible and retention fee.
Daily allowance / salary payment
If you are unable to work as the result of an accident, as of the third day following your accident you are entitled to a daily allowance corresponding to 80% of your salary.
If the allowance paid by your accident insurance is lower than this figure, your employer must make up the difference. If your insurance benefits correspond to 80% of your salary or more, your employer does not have to continue paying your salary.
If the accident insurer does not cover these costs, employees continue to receive their full salary as normal for a period determined by how long they have worked for the company. Check your employment regulations to find out what rules apply to you.
Remember that if you continue to work despite being signed off, the insurance company may come back to you and demand that you repay the daily allowance you have received.
Other cash benefits
Accident insurance provides for a range of cash benefits.
The insurer may pay you a disability pension if continuing medical treatment does not offer the prospect of a significant improvement in your health. You must be classified as at least 10% disabled to qualify. This pension may be awarded in addition to a disability pension under the state Invalidity Insurance scheme.
The insurer may also pay you an integrity and/or helplessness allowance if you need permanent assistance to complete everyday tasks.
If the insured person dies as the result of an accident, their spouse or registered partner, and children, are entitled to survivors’ pensions.
The Federal Office of Public Health offers a range of information on accident insurance.
Visit the Suva website for details of accident insurance if you are unemployed (website available in German, French and Italian).