If hearing the term “personal liability insurance”—let alone its German translation “Privathaftpflichtversicherung”—makes you feel anxious or confused, you’re not alone. It’s something your elderly German neighbor might have told you is important, but millennials and Gen Zers may wonder if personal liability insurance is actually a must-have in Germany.
Spoiler alert: It’s basically necessary for everyone, including expats, to have at least have some personal liability insurance in case life gets messy. Being held financially liable for causing damage to others is not only unpleasant, but can quickly end in financial misery.
But what does this insurance entail exactly, and what are the coverages you should watch out for?
If you’re in a rush, here are some key things you should know about personal liability insurances:
- Personal liability covers you if you accidentally injure others or cause damage to their stuff.
- You won’t be covered for injuries you’ have inflicted upon yourself, or damages you’ve caused to your own things.
- Your liability insurance covers your family members – such as your partner and your children as long as you’re living under the same roof (but your roommate won’t be). However, kids under 7 are considered to be incapable of guilt or tort. Scan your liability insurance for important extras like rental property damage and key loss (psst, both are covered by Lemonade!).
- You can easily get a liability policy with the Lemonade app. And the best part: Unclaimed premiums are donated to a charity of your choice via the Giveback program.
Curious to dive deeper into the ins and outs of German liability insurance? Feel free to check out our ultimate 101 guide. We promise it’s more fun than it sounds.
Here’s what we’ll be covering:
- What is German personal liability insurance?
- Do I need to have personal liability insurance in Germany?
- What does personal liability insurance cover?
- What’s the right amount of coverage for your personal liability insurance?
- What won’t my personal liability cover?
- Which extras are useful?
- Who is covered under my liability policy?
- How to get covered with Lemonade
What is German personal liability insurance?
Unfortunate things happen whether we like it or not. These unlucky events can be quite costly if someone else gets injured or valuable stuff gets damaged. Did you spill red wine all over your new crush’s smartphone? Did you smash a neighbor’s window while practicing some golf? Private liability insurance will cover you if you accidentally harm others—whether it’s their bodies or their stuff.
Do I need to have personal liability insurance in Germany?
Unlike car insurance, private liability insurance is not required in Germany. Nevertheless, landlords might ask you for proof of both personal liability and contents insurance (“Hausratversicherung”). According to the German Tenants’ Association (“Deutscher Mieterbund”) this request isn’t legally valid. However, reality looks slightly different.
There’s lots of competition when it comes to affordable housing – and not only in Berlin. Therefore, you should give yourself a head start, and consider getting yourself both insurances.
What does personal liability insurance cover?
Well, that depends on your policy.
For this reason, it is worth taking a closer look at what your policy covers and make sure it meets your individual needs and what you want to have covered.
In general, it protects against personal injury and property damage caused by carelessness. When someone makes a claim for damages against you, your insurance company will determine whether it’s justified. If it isn’t, your personal liability insurer will defend the claim—even in court. If you are responsible, your insurance will pay the costs.
Most insurances will also cover damages caused by your furry friend, because pet owners are liable for their pets’ damages (keep in mind that dogs and horses usually have to be insured by a special dog or horse liability insurance).
This is why the amount of coverage you’ve chosen as well as the deductible are both important.
Good to know: If you damage someone else’s stuff, your liability insurer will likely cover the repair costs. However, if repairing the damaged item isn’t feasible, your insurer will pay something called the actual cash value. Meaning, the amount the item would go for today, minus its depreciation (due to age, wear and tear). Think of it like the “eBay” price of an item. According to German consumer association Stiftung Warentest this poses a slight disadvantage to the person whose stuff got damaged: they won’t necessarily receive enough money to buy the same item again today.
What’s the right amount of coverage for your personal liability insurance?
On average, coverage ranges between 5 million euros and a whopping 50 million euros. The agreed-upon sum limits the liability of the insurer. Let’s say somebody claims 7 million euros against you because you accidentally caused a multi car collision with your bicycle (medical costs, or compensation for pain and suffering and loss of earnings, can quickly run into the millions). If you were found liable for these costs and you chose a coverage of 5 million euros, you’d have to pay the difference on your own. Yikes.
But how much is the right coverage? Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question, because everyone has to decide for themselves.
Pro-tip: Experts at Check24, a German comparison website, recommend a minimum of 10 million euros coverage just to be on the safe side. Also pay attention to your deductible. The deductible determines how much you will have to pay out of pocket if a claim is made. With some insurance companies you can set the deductible to zero. However, if you want to pay a lower monthly fee, you can choose a higher deductible.
What won’t my personal liability cover?
Fasten your seat belts and hold on tight—the following information is important. In general, personal liability insurance does not pay in the following scenarios:
- Injuries you’ve inflicted upon yourself, or damages you’ve caused to your own things
- Deliberately caused damage
- Damage covered by other types of insurance (such as motor vehicle, boat, hunting, or professional liability). This includes e-scooters, which have been subject to mandatory insurance since June 2019.
- Damage you cause to other people who are insured under your policy (for example, your partner)
- Damage in connection with the commission of an intentional criminal or administrative offense
Which extras are useful?
In addition to your coverage, additional benefits are particularly important and should be considered according to your own individual needs. These are not necessarily automatically included in the policy. Also, pay attention to exclusions or special insurance conditions and limits of coverage (for example, in case of key loss).
Losing your key
If you lose the key to your rental apartment, some insurers will pay for the cost of a new key and the replacement of locks.
Damage to rental property
If you rent an apartment, and you damage a permanently installed item that came with the apartment.
Default on payment cover (“Forderungsausfalldeckung”)
If someone else has caused you damage, but is not insured and can’t pay for the damage, you’d be left with the costs. A bad debt cover protects you from this situation.
Drones & e-bikes
Drones and e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically included in every policy. Drones are considered to be a motorized aircraft, and can be added to some insurers’ policies.
Who is covered under my liability policy?
Most insurance companies offer different policies for single people and families. However, your roommates are not covered and will need their own policy. With Lemonade, you can easily add your significant other (no, you don’t have to be married) and your children to your policy—as long as you live under one roof.
Please note that children under 7 are considered to be incapable of guilt or tort. This means that if your 5-year-old child causes damage, as a parent you cannot be held liable. In traffic, children up to 10 years of age are considered to be incapable of tort. Nevertheless, in the unfortunate circumstance that actions are taken against you, some insurance companies might offer you protection.
How to get covered with Lemonade
With Lemonade’s Policy 2.0, you are protected by an insurance policy designed for the 21st century, one that’s also transparent and easy to understand. With the help of the app, you can create your own policy in a few seconds and adapt it to your needs at any time—without any paperwork or endless phone calls.
Submitting a claim is just as easy. Just open the app and click on “Submit Claim.” AI Jim, our chatbot, will ask you a few questions, and your claim will be processed ASAP. With a Lemonade policy, you also make a positive social impact: unclaimed premiums will be donated to a charity of your choice through our Giveback program.
Short and sweet – With Lemonade’s personal liability policy you are insured against the following:
- Property damage
- Injury to others
- Financial losses
- Damage to rental property
- Key loss
- Damage while traveling worldwide
- Damage caused by
- pets (dogs & horses excluded)
- bikes or e-bikes
- small boats
- exchange of electronic data
1. Material damage
Your personal liability insurance protects you in case you damage things that belong to others.
2. Injury to other people
Someone slipped and hurt themselves at your housewarming party? If they make a claim against you, we’ll help you handle this mess. In plain English this means: we check if the claim for damages against you is justified and defend it—in court, if necessary. If you are responsible for the damage, we’ll pay the costs for you.
3. Financial losses
We cover financial losses you cause to others, resulting neither from property damage nor bodily injury. If you accidentally lock someone else’s bike with yours, and they have to pay for a taxi to go to work, we’ll help you out. The maximum amount we’ll pay in these cases is 50.000 € per event.
4. Damage to rental property (“Mietsachschäden”)
Your Lemonade personal liability policy covers damage to the apartment you rent, plus furniture. So, if you accidentally knock over a candle, and it burns your landlord’s brand new parquet floor, we will have your back. However, we won’t cover glass breakage.
5. Loss of keys
If you lose the key to your rented apartment, you’re covered for the costs for the key and for changing the locks. We’ll cover a maximum amount of 50.000 € per event.
However, you are not insured if you lose your office keys after a wild happy hour.
6. Damage while travelling abroad
The Lemonade personal liability insurance protects you worldwide, as long as your stay abroad in the EU lasts less than three years, or less than one year if you’re staying outside the EU. So, if you’re on holiday in Venice and accidentally knock over a glass sculpture in the souvenir shop, you are covered.
7. Damage caused by pets
Damage caused by your own pets or animals in your care are covered by personal liability—but dogs and horses are excluded. Please inquire about special dog or horse liability insurance. However, we do make an exception for service dogs.
8. Bikes and e-bikes
We also protect you if you cause damage with your e-bike. Please note that e-bikes are divided into pedelecs and s-pedelecs. Pedelecs, or e-bikes that ride up to 25 km/h are insured, but s-pedelecs are not insured under this policy.
9. Small boats
We cover damage you cause when using small boats or watercrafts with a sail area of less than 15 m2, and engines with less than 15 hp.
10. Exchange of electronic data
If you accidentally spread a virus via an email or USB, making your friend’s laptop unusable, we’ll have your back. We’ill cover up to 50.000 € per incident.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get insured with Lemonade in seconds!