If you cause an accident in Germany, you can be sued by the victim. If the victim wins, you will have to pay reparations1. A lawsuit like that can easily ruin you.

Liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) protects you from such damage claims. If you cause an accident, your insurance company will pay the legal fees and the reparations.

Personal liability insurance

Personal liability insurance (Privathaftpflichtversicherung) protects you from most claims against you1:

  • Damage to the apartment you live in (doors, floors and walls, but not your own things)
    For example, if your washing machine breaks, floods your apartment and destroys the wooden floor, the insurance company will pay the repairs.
  • Damage to other people's property
    If you accidentally send someone a virus that breaks their computer, they can sue you for damages. The insurance company will pay the legal fees and the reparations.
  • Injuries caused to other people
    If you accidentally trip someone and they break their leg, they can sue you for damages. The insurance company will pay the legal fees and the reparations.

Some insurance policies will cover these accidents:

  • Lost keys
    If you lose your apartment keys, they might need to replace the locks for the entire building1. This can get really expensive. You should get insurance that covers this. Some rent contracts require liability insurance that covers lost keys.
  • Damage or injury caused by your pets
    Liability insurance that covers your pets usually costs a little more. This is usually called Hundehaftpflichtversicherung.

Most insurance policies do not cover these accidents:

  • Damage to your own things
    The things you have in your apartment are not covered by the liability insurance. If you want to insure your furniture, your electronics or your bicycle, you need a household insurance (Hausratversicherung)1.
  • Damage caused by your business activities
    If you are a freelancer or a business owner, you will need professional liability insurance (Betriebshaftpflichtversicherung) to cover your business activities.
  • Car accidents
    If you drive a car, damage to other people and their cars is covered by your car insurance, not by your personal liability insurance.
  • Legal disputes
    If you want to sue someone, your liability insurance won't protect you. Legal protection insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung) can be useful.
  • Piracy and copyright infringement
    If you get in trouble for illegally downloading movies, your liability insurance will not cover you1.
  • Locking yourself out
    If you lock yourself out of your apartment, and you call a locksmith to open the door, your liability insurance will not pay for it1. If the locks need to be replaced, your liability insurance will usually pay for it1. Household insurance (Hausratversicherung) sometimes covers locksmiths. Feather's household insurance covers locksmiths.

Private liability insurance is really important, so most Germans have it. It costs less than 5€ per month. Use Tarifcheck to compare liability insurance options. If you don't speak German, Feather and GetSafe offer liability insurance for less than 5€ per month, and they speak English. Both Feather and GetSafe cover lost keys.

Professional liability insurance

Professional liability insurance (Betriebs- and Berufshaftpflichtversicherung) protects freelancers, tradesmen and businesses against liability claims. Your insurance will protect you from liability claims related to your job.

If you are an employee, you do not need professional liability insurance. You are already covered by your employer's insurance1.

Some professions are required to have liability insurance1:

  • Freelance doctors and veterinarians
  • Architects
  • Civil engineers
  • Lawyers
  • Tax advisors, tax agents, tax consultancy services1

Dog liability insurance

Dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung) is mandatory in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Thuringia. This insurance pays for the damages caused by your dog. It's sometimes called pet liability insurance (Tierhaftpflichtversicherung) or pet owner liability insurance (Tierhalterhaftpflichtversicherung).

Hundehaftpflichtversicherung is very cheap. It costs less than 5€ per month. Use Tarifcheck to compare prices. If you don't speak German, GetSafe and Coya offer dog liability insurance, and they speak English. They both cover dangerous breeds1, 2.

Related guide: Having a dog in Germany - Dog liability insurance

Liability insurance for drivers

When you drive a vehicle, you are covered by your car's insurance (Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung). All cars in Germany must be insured. When you rent a car, liability insurance is included in the price.

Related guide: Car insurance in Germany

Legal insurance gives you free access to a lawyer. If you have a problem with your landlord, your employer, the tax office or anyone else, you can call a lawyer. You can ask them questions, they can write letters for you, and they can go to court with you. Legal insurance can be very useful.

There is private legal insurance (for you), and professional legal insurance (for your business). Private legal insurance costs around 15€ per month. Professional legal insurance is more expensive. The price varies depending on your type of business.

Use Tarifcheck to compare legal insurance options. If you don't speak German, Feather and GetSafe offer legal insurance, and they speak English.

Which liability insurance should I pick?

Pick a liability insurance that covers lost keys. Replacing a lost key can be very expensive.

Use Tarifcheck to compare liability insurance options. If you don't speak German, Feather and GetSafe offer liability insurance, and they speak English. Both cover lost keys.

Other questions

Is liability insurance mandatory?

No. You are not required to have liability insurance. It's just a really good idea to have it.

If you have a dog in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony or Thuringia, you must get dog liability insurance. It's mandatory.

If you have a car or a motorcycle, then you must have car insurance. It always includes car liability insurance.

Can the landlord force me to get liability insurance?

No. The landlord can't force you to get liability insurance1, 2. If your lease has a clause that requires liability insurance, you can ignore it1.