How protected is your SME? Insurance check for SMEs

Determine your insurance needs with just a few clicks
Tailored to sector and legal form of company
360° view – compulsory, advisable and complementary insurance policies

Analyze needs in 3 minutes

Whether it’s a mini-empire or a one (wo)man show, an established craft workshop or a high-tech start-up – every SME is unique. And so, naturally, are its insurance needs. You can use the AXA insurance check to find out exactly what type and amount of protection you and your business require. It will tell you what kinds of insurance are compulsory, which ones are advisable, and which ones require further consideration. All on the basis of your individual business model. In just a few clicks.

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What types of insurance do SMEs with employees usually need?

As the owner of an SME you have a social responsibility. And an obligation to insure your employees in the first and second pillars, as well as against accidents. Other types of social insurance are advisable, but not compulsory. Let us explain why these may still be a sensible option, and which additional business insurance policies we recommend.

Social insurance

As part of the first pillar, contributions are paid to the  old-age and survivors’ insurance (OASI/AHV) and disability insurance (DI/IV) schemes and the loss-of-income (EO) fund, which pay benefits to the insured in the event of death, disability and old age. The  second pillar provides occupational pension insurance (OPA/BVG) for your employees and is compulsory for those earning an annual salary of CHF 22,050 or more.  Accident insurance is also necessary: all employees must be insured under the Accident Insurance Act (AIA/UVG), and those who work eight or more hours a week must also be insured against non-occupational accidents.

Taking out a daily sickness benefits policy is in principle voluntary, but soon pays off in the event of illness: the insurance frees you from the obligation to continue paying the salaries of sick employees.

Business insurance policies

While certain types of insurance make sense for almost any SME, others may be vital for one business but unnecessary for another, depending on their company profile. For example, someone who owns a commercial property will also need buildings insurance; someone who advises clients will need liability insurance; and where business vehicles are used, motor insurance is absolutely essential.

Business insurance policies  recommended for all sizes of SME in all sectors:

Business liability/professional liability: If your business causes harm to a third party, you as business owner are liable. Your company should have a business liability policy so that damage to persons or property will not cause you financial hardship. And since your advisory work could cause financial loss for customers and clients, you should also have a suitable professional liability policy.

Legal protection: Legal disputes occur in the course of ordinary business more often than you might think. Business legal protection should be included in the insurance portfolio of every small or medium-sized enterprise so that disputes with suppliers or customers don’t turn into a financial risk.

Cyber insurance: Since SMEs rarely have sufficient resources to protect their IT infrastructure, they are the acknowledged number one target of cyber criminals. These hackers may cause system failures, capture sensitive information or  extort money after locking businesses out of their files. Cyber insurance helps if you suffer damage and also pays the secondary costs of an attack.

Work out your insurance requirements

This free insurance check provides a clear overview of all the policies required or recommended for your business model in just a few clicks – try it out now!

What types of insurance do start-ups need?

During the start-up phase, entrepreneurs like to focus on their business idea and how to get it off the ground. And that's exactly why they should pay particular attention to having the correct insurance, right from the start.

Social insurance

The legal form of the individual enterprise determines which types of social insurance are compulsory.

Not a legal entity: The owner of a sole proprietorship, general partnership or limited partnership counts as self-employed. This means that occupational benefits and risk protection are arranged on a voluntary basis, with the exception of first pillar contributions.

Legal entity: If you have founded a GmbH or an AG, you are not self-employed and must register yourself and all your employees for the following types of insurance: accident insurance, unemployment insurance, first pillar for OASI/AHV, DI/IV and loss-of-earnings compensation (EO), plus occupational benefits under OPA/BVG on annual earnings of CHF 21,330 or more. Daily sickness benefits insurance is voluntary, but pays off as soon as the number of employees and the total salary volume start to increase.

Business insurance policies

Apart from liability insurance, which is legally required for some professions, business insurance policies are generally voluntary, yet if something goes wrong for a company they may make all the difference between survival and disaster – especially for businesses just starting out. These types of policy should form part of your basic insurance:

Business liability/professional liability: Business liability insurance is a must, because it protects your new business from the risk of financial loss if third parties are harmed by your firm. It covers reasonable claims for property damage, personal injury and some types of economic loss, as well as defending against unjustified claims.

Property insurance: From the cost of cleaning and disposal through to restoration and loss of income, this type of insurance covers the costs that may result from fire and natural forces, burglary, water, glass breakage and other risks on your company premises.

Legal protection insurance: Legal disputes with employees, landlords, suppliers or customers present an incalculable commercial risk, particularly for new companies. The right insurance makes these costs affordable and protects against unforeseen legal disputes.

Cyber insurance: Cyber crime is one of the biggest threats that small and medium-sized enterprises face. These days, automated virus attacks and phishing are the rule rather than the exception. Cyber insurance is therefore part of the basic equipment of any start-up that uses the internet, directly or indirectly.

AXA Start-up Package

We are your ideal partner in this adventure. We analyze the potential risks and bring all the necessary policies together into a customized package offering excellent value. In addition, we will contribute CHF 500 towards the start-up costs of entrepreneurs who take out our Start-up Package.

What types of insurance are needed by self-employed people without employees?

Decisiveness and initiative are classic traits of self-employed people. Anyone starting their own business must not only actively seek orders but also ensure their own financial security, since illness or accident could have unpleasant consequences. Furthermore, for the self-employed there is often no clear boundary between work and private life as regards when and where you work, your activities and contacts. Protecting yourself against risks and providing for your old age should therefore always take both your personal circumstances and your working life into account.


Pillar 1/State pension: The self-employed are subject to only one social insurance obligation: to pay AHV/IV/EO contributions (first pillar). These provide basic insurance for old age and disability but should be voluntarily supplemented with further insurance to avoid the inevitable gaps in provision.

Pillar 2/Occupational benefits: Occupational pension insurance under the OPA/BVG is not obligatory for self-employed persons. However, they may voluntarily join the occupational benefits institution for their profession or the Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution in order to save capital and insure against the risks of old age, disability and death. 

Pillar 3/Private pension: Pillar 3a provides a tax-efficient means of saving for retirement and is particularly useful for the self-employed. You can pay up to 20% of your income into this type of pension solution while also insuring yourself and your family against the risks of occupational disability and death. A Pillar 3b solution enables you to save flexibly and without commitment.

Risk protection

Accident insurance: Compulsory insurance under the AIA/UVG applies only to the non-self-employed. The self-employed can cover the cost of an accident either by taking out a voluntary policy under the AIA/UVG or by including the risk of accident in their private health insurance.

Accident and daily sickness benefits insurance: In many cases, when a self-employed person falls ill or has an accident their earning power is reduced – possibly even to zero. This causes a financial shortfall, which fortunately can be closed by taking out a policy covering accident and daily sickness benefits insurance for the self-employed.

Occupational disability insurance: When a self-employed person is unable to work owing to illness or accident, the benefits they receive under AHV/IV often do not cover their actual living costs. Occupational disability insurance benefits prevent the holder from having to fall back on their savings or get into debt.

Liability insurance: Professional liability insurance is compulsory for certain professions. Yet even if it does not apply to your particular type of self-employment, this kind of insurance is worthwhile. It covers third-party claims in the event of business-related personal injury, property damage and straightforward economic loss for which you could be held liable according to the legal provisions on liability.

Legal protection: Legal expenses insurance enables you to budget for risks related to legal disputes and court cases. For sole proprietorships, we also offer useful combined products covering private and professional needs, mobility and travel.

Your personal insurance requirements

Depending on your business profile, additional policies should be added to the above-mentioned types of insurance. Our no-obligation insurance check provides an individual recommendation once you have entered details of your sector, activity and type of organization. Check your protection in just three minutes:

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