Swiss Missed: Stuff you’d wished you knew before you moved to Switzerland

The title says it all! I definitely was lacking some key details and advice before my move which feels really odd begin that my company brought me over here and I’m working with a relocation agency. Here are some things that I hope you find helpful before you begin to make moves towards Switzerland.

  • Health Insurance- Your US insurance will stop immediately upon your exit from the US or ‘termination from your US employer. Don’t bother with the travel health insurance. You’ll learn that you need to purchase Swiss health insurance within three months of moving to Switzerland. Fair. I thought this meant that I had that time to be covered however I chose, so I bought travelers insurance to save some money. Nope. You have to retroactively buy the Swiss stuff for your arrival date. This would have saved me some money had I known this in advance. I would suggest contacting an insurance broker before you ever leave the US. If you need a good one, I can recommend mine.
  • Fire and Personal Liability Insurance: Yes, you’ll need these too. Talk to your new best friend, your insurance broker.
  • Be Proactive and Pay Medical Bills- Don’t wait until they arrive in the mail. After your US company ‘terminates’ you, your HSA is moot too. Reimbursement city from here on out.
  • Live in the Canton of Your Work Permit– I just happened to massively luck out here and established residence in the canton of my work permit. Apparently, you cannot live in another canton, even if closer to your office. It blows my mind that no one told me this, so I am telling you now.
  • Don’t Move Around– I am three month Airbnb surfing, while fun, and trying to enjoy the journey, it is tiring. You do accumulate stuff and you will get tired of packing up. Choose one place, in your canton of work, and visit other cities on the weekends and during the week to get a feel for their vibe.
  • Plan Your Bills– Every money transfer costs and takes time. Plan accordingly.
  • Speak German to Your Washer– I really don’t know if I’ve had clean clothes since I arrived in Switzerland. All of the washer instructions and symbols are in German and wifi rarely works in sublevel bunkers where they keep the machines. Look this up in advance of your stay. It would also behoove you to get the instructions from your Airbnb host in advance and to ensure that the washer cards have funds on them.
  • SIM City– Memorize your SIM card code. I never needed this in the US and found out at 1:30AM when trying to order an Uber, that your phone can disconnect from the SIM PIN and leave you stranded. Thank goodness for new friends.

All for now. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more. The school of Swiss knocks 😉

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