What insurances are mandatory in the Netherlands?

Health insurance FvB de Boer

If you are planning to move to the Netherlands, you will need to organize some insurance in the Netherlands. Luckily insurances are not very expensive in the Netherlands and it covers a large number of unexpected high costs. In the Netherlands we stand at an average of 8 insurances per resident, five of them are damage insurances. We’ll tell you more about how to take out a policy when moving here and what the mandatory insurances are in the Netherlands. We are more than happy to assist you.


Nobody wants to be under- or over-insured. As an expat living abroad you want to be fully prepared, especially when it concerns basic needs such as health insurance. But what are the mandatory insurances in the Netherlands? Only two insurances are actually compulsory.

  • Health insurance: firstly, you are required by law to have a health insurance if you are eighteen years of age or older.
  • Car insurance: if you own a car, a car insurance policy is also mandatory. Home insurance is not a required insurance policy, but it is very advisable to have.


Below we’ll thoroughly discuss the importance of a Dutch health insurance, pointing out all the specifics to bear into mind. As the car insurance does not apply for all expats, we will briefly discuss the required insurance for car owners.

Dutch health insurance

Everyone who lives in the Netherlands is obligated to have Dutch health insurance, either public or private. The Dutch health policy covers the costs of standard healthcare like a visit to the GP and some hospital visits. It is also possible and rather advisable to take out additional insurance policies. This is mostly recommended for dental care, physiotherapy or alternative medicine. Nevertheless, only the Dutch national health insurance is known to be compulsory, supplementary insurances are not.

The Dutch healthcare system

Expats moving to the Netherlands will undoubtedly be told that the Dutch healthcare system is ranked among the best healthcare in the world. Healthcare in the Netherlands is funded through taxes, mostly through mandatory insurance fees and taxation of income.
Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory for all Dutch citizens, and this also applies to expats that are in the Netherlands on a long-term stay. It doesn’t matter if you are already insured for healthcare in your home country, you must get a Dutch health insurance. After obtaining your Dutch social security legislation, you must obtain a basic health insurance (basisverzekering).

Who need to obtain the health insurance?

Most expats residing or working in the Netherlands will need to apply for the standard Dutch public health insurance within the first four months after the commencement of the resident permit. These expats, or foreign residents, can be categorised into the following groups:

  • Non-EU citizens: for non-EU citizens staying in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days will first need to obtain a residence permit. After this permit is obtained they will be able to apply for Dutch public health insurance.
  • EU citizens: every foreigner working and/or living in the Netherlands, including interns and volunteers, is obligated to have a Dutch public health insurance. EU citizens, people from the European Economic Area (EEA; Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland staying for less than one year can normally use their European Union Health Insurance Card (EHIC). For stays longer than a year and for those who work in the Netherlands a Dutch health insurance needs to be applied for.
  • Students: foreign students with part-time jobs and paid internships will need to have a Dutch health insurance. This is not the case for unemployed students who are not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland. These students are not entitled for Dutch health insurance and will need to apply for private insurance, unless they already have an insurance in their native country covering the necessary services.
  • Children: children under the age of 18 are insured for free. However, it is necessary that their parents have a Dutch health care insurance.

What is covered by Dutch health insurance?

Now that you know more about one of the two mandatory insurances in the Netherlands, you’ll probably want to know what exactly is covered with the health insurance. The basic Dutch insurance package normally insures all expenses for standard medical services. Every year the Dutch government accesses which services need to be included in the so called basisverzekering. The present basic health package (2018) covers the following needs:

  • Hospital care and treatments from specialists.
  • Dental services and physiotherapy until the age of 18.
  • Care from certain therapists, including speech therapists.
  • General practitioner (GP) consultations.
  • Basic mental health services.
  • Dietary help.
  • Maternity care and obstetrics.
  • Anti-smoking assistance.

Car insurance

In addition to the health care, owners of a car will need a car insurance as well. This also applies for owners of a car, motorcycle, scooter, camper, or quad, amongst others. You will be obliged to insure your vehicle for at least statutory liability, meaning that the damage that you cause is covered by the insurer. Your own damage is not covered which you will need to pay for yourself. The name for this coverage in Dutch is WA (Wettelijke Aansprakelijkheid). You can also choose for supplementary insurances such as the WA Plus or All Risk coverage. These services, however, are advisable, but not mandatory.