Social counseling and debt relief


Health and accident insurance

Health insurance: mandatory and useful

Basic health insurance is mandatory for all persons residing in Switzerland, even temporarily.

What you need to know:

  • it can represent a significant part of the budget;
  • only basic insurance is mandatory;
  • the benefits are identical in each health insurance company;
  • the choice of health insurance company is free;
  • Foreign students with a B study permit have access to health insurance benefits at advantageous rates (more information).

Supplementary insurance is optional. They cover what the basic insurance does not cover (dental care, private hospitalization, alternative medicine, some unrecognized treatments). Unlike basic insurance, supplementary insurance companies have the right to refuse clients or to express reservations.

Accident insurance is mandatory for all persons living in Switzerland and complements health insurance. If you work at least 8 hours a week, it is covered by your employer. Therefore, you can cancel it with your health insurance by simple request and at any time. When you leave your job, remember to reinstate accident insurance with your basic insurance.

Helpful Links

The Health Insurance Department (SAM)

The mission of the Health Insurance Service (SAM) (in French) is to ensure the application of the Federal Law on Health Insurance.

It can help you to obtain:

  • a subsidy, in the event of a modest or difficult economic situation;
  • an exemption from the obligation to join a Swiss insurance if you already have equivalent coverage in your country;
  • information on the prices of the various health insurances.

Other sites, such as Priminfo (in French), can also help you make your choice according to your situation.

How to save money?

  • Opt for an alternative insurance model.
  • Apply for a subsidy from the Health Insurance Service (SAM) (in French) (maximum CHF 300/month in Geneva). If you are entitled to the subsidy, the amount will be automatically deducted from your premium each month. As the right to the subsidy is retroactive, it is worth applying at any time of the year.
  • Remove accident insurance from your basic insurance if it is covered by your employer.
  • Opt for insurance that guarantees third party payment (in French).
  • Compare the premiums every year and choose the most economical health insurance company (the most economical is not necessarily the cheapest!). Make an appointment with a social worker for advice on choosing your insurance.

Helpful Links

Liability and household insurance

Public liability insurance

This insurance is not mandatory, but highly recommended. It reimburses damages caused to another person. As a student, if you live with your parents and are under 21 years old, the family insurance also covers you. It is strongly recommended that you take out a new liability insurance as soon as you leave the family home.

Household insurance

This insurance is not mandatory, but recommended when you become a tenant. It protects you from risks such as theft, fire or water damage. It is often offered in addition to the civil liability insurance.

If you are in student housing (BLRU, Cité Universitaire, etc.), household insurance is often included in the lease. Find out about this when you sign your lease or rental agreement.

Helpful links

  • Consult the offers on the website of our partner scorestudies. Please note that the proposed insurances do not cover damage to the furniture when you stay in a furnished room. Therefore, if you are part of the 1hparm2 program you can contact the 1hparm2 antenna for more detailed information on the liability insurance useful for you.
Other insurances

Contributions to OASI/DI/EO

Swiss and foreign students who have their civil domicile in Switzerland must pay an annual contribution of CHF 496 (minimum contribution) to the OASI, the DI and the EO as of January 1st following their 20th birthday. Students who are gainfully employed pay contributions from January 1 of the year following their 17th birthday. The payment is made to the compensation fund of the canton where the educational institution is located.

Students do not pay contributions:

  • if they can prove by a certificate from their employer or a compensation fund that they have already paid contributions of at least CHF 496 in the year in question on their income from gainful employment or on their loss of earnings allowances;
  • if they stay in Switzerland solely for the purpose of studying and therefore do not have a civil residence in Switzerland;
  • if their spouse is affiliated to the Swiss OASI/DI/EO and has paid at least double the minimum contribution (CHF 992) on the income from gainful employment as defined by the OASI.

Students who have paid less than CHF 496 (minimum contribution) on their income from gainful employment during the year in question only have to pay the difference.

Students who are over 25 years of age are subject to the rules applicable to persons not in gainful employment (in French) (calculation of contributions based on assets and income in the form of a pension).

Vocational Training Allowance

The vocational training allowance is a monthly benefit of CHF 400 granted for every child who is studying or in apprenticeship until the end of the month in which he or she reaches the age of 25 at the latest.

Helpful links