How to choose liability insurance in Germany

Liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) is the most important insurance after health insurance. Most Germans have it.

This guide explains how German liability insurance works, what it covers, and how to choose the best liability insurance.

What does liability insurance cover?

Liability insurance covers damage and injuries to other people. For example, if your washer breaks, floods your neighbour’s apartment, and causes thousands of euros of damage. The cost of repairs could bankrupt you, but your liability insurance pays for it.

Private liability insurance

Personal liability insurance (Privathaftpflichtversicherung) covers…1

  • Damage you cause to the apartment you rent (doors, floors and walls, but not your own things)
    For example, if your washing machine breaks, floods the apartment you rent, and destroys the wooden floor, the insurance company covers the repairs. It covers most apartment repairs when you move out.
  • Damage you cause to other people’s property
    If you accidentally send someone a virus that breaks their computer, or scratch someone’s car with your bicycle,2 they can sue you for damages. The insurance company will pay for the repairs and the legal fees.
  • Damage caused by your spouse and children
    Liability insurance covers your family too, except your children under 7 years old.3 Your children over 6 years old are covered until they finish their studies.4
  • Injuries caused to other people
    If you accidentally trip someone and they break their leg, or you kick a ball in someone’s face at the park. The insurance company will pay the legal fees and the reparations.

Some insurance policies also cover…

  • Lost keys
    If you lose your apartment keys, the landlord might need to replace the locks for the entire building.5 This can get really expensive. You should get insurance that covers this. Some leases require liability insurance that covers lost keys, but that’s not legal.31
  • Damage to things you rent or borrow (geliehene Sachen)
    For example, you break the couch in your furnished apartment,6 you damage a hotel room while you are on vacation,7 or you borrow a neighbour’s drill and you break it.8
  • Damage while helping a friend (Gefälligkeitsschäden)
    If you help your friend to move, and you break their furniture, liability insurance will not pay for it.9 Some new liability insurance policies cover this.10
  • Other people’s insurances not paying you (Forderungsausfall)
    If someone else hurts you, and they cannot pay the damages, your liability insurance will pay you.

Most insurance policies do not cover…

  • Damage to your own things
    The things you have in your apartment are not covered by the liability insurance. To insure them, get household insurance (Hausratversicherung).11 Liability insurance does not cover damage to an apartment you that you rent, but not to an apartment that you own. It covers damage to your neighbours’ apartments.
  • Damage caused by your business activities
    If you are a freelancer or a business owner, only professional liability insurance (Betriebshaftpflichtversicherung) to cover your business activities.
  • Damage caused by children under 7 years old
    Your young children are not covered by most liability insurances.3 You must pay more for this. Your children over 6 years old are covered by your liability insurance until they finish their studies.4
  • Damage or injuries caused by your pets
    For this, you need dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung). It’s required for all dog owners in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Thuringia.
  • 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 insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung) can be useful.
  • Piracy and copyright infringement
    If you get in trouble for illegally downloading movies, your liability insurance will not cover you.12
  • 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 it.30 Household insurance (Hausratversicherung) sometimes covers locksmiths.

Do I really need it?

Yes. Liability insurance is not mandatory, but it’s a really good idea.2 There is no limit on damage claims. You can be sued for millions of euros.13 A tiny mistake can bankrupt you, and a cheap insurance can prevent this.14

83% of German homes have liability insurance.15 It’s the most important type of insurance after health insurance.

How much does it cost?

It usually costs less than 5€ per month, or around 60€ per year. You can pay less if you get multiple insurances from the same company.

The best liability insurance

If you feel lazy, choose Feather or Getsafe. Both options are fine. They both speak English, cover lost keys, and have contracts in English. I have my liability insurance with Feather since 2022.

To choose liability insurance yourself…

  1. Use Tarifcheck to see options
    Don’t choose the cheapest option. Usually, it’s cheaper because the coverage is not as good.
  2. Check your insurance company on Trustpilot
    Read the negative reviews. See if people have problems getting paid by the insurance company.
  3. Read your insurance policy
    All EU insurance policies come with an Insurance Product Information Document (IPID).16 This one-page summary tells you what your liability insurance covers. Then you should read your entire contract. It takes less than an hour, and it’s really worth it. If you don’t speak German, Feather and Getsafe have their contracts in English.

The minimum coverage you need

Your liability insurance must cover you well. This is the minimum it should cover:

  • Minimum insured sum
    These are the minimum sums a good liability insurance should cover.
    • At least 10 million euros17 in damages to other people. 50 million euros is better.18
    • At least 300,000€ in damages to the apartment you rent.19
    • At least 50,000€ in damages while using a computer.19
  • Worldwide coverage
    It should cover you anywhere in the world, not just in Germany.19
  • Coverage for rented things (geliehene Sachen)
    If you rent a furnished apartment, it should cover rented things. This covers you if you break the furniture.

Use this tool to check if your liability insurance covers these things.

I recommend liability insurance that covers lost keys. Replacing a lost key can be very expensive. The landlord could make you pay to replace all the locks in the building. Most insurers cover lost keys, including Feather and Getsafe.

If you often rent vehicles, you can pay around 1€/month more to cover rented vehicles. This covers the car rental company’s deductible if you damage the car.

Don’t wait

Get liability insurance before you need it. You can’t get it after you have a problem. For example, if you get liability insurance just before you move out, it might not cover the things you already broke in the apartment.

How to pay less

Don’t get the cheapest insurance. Pick good coverage with a good insurance company. There are other ways to pay less.

  • Yearly payments are cheaper than monthly payments20
  • Combine liability and household insurance to get a lower price.21
  • Choose a higher deductible (Selbstbeteiligung). If your deductible is higher, your insurance is cheaper. The price difference is small, so it’s better to pay more, and have a small deductible.22
  • Declare it on your tax return. Liability insurance payments are tax-deductible.23

Liability insurance for English speakers

These insurers speak English and sell liability insurance:

Both companies have English-speaking support, and send documents in English. Feather’s insurance contract is also in English.

My personal choice

I have liability insurance from Feather, but I have not used it yet. I chose them for a few reasons:

  • Their liability insurance meets all the requirements above.
  • They speak English. Even their insurance contract is in English. I like the convenience.
  • They helped me get private health insurance before. I trust their services.
  • I know their founder since many years, and meet him regularly. I trust him.
  • They are a German company, based in Berlin.

Other types of liability insurance

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 insurance.24

Some professions are required to have liability insurance:25

  • Freelance doctors and veterinarians
  • Architects
  • Civil engineers
  • Lawyers
  • Tax advisors, tax agents, tax consultancy services26

Dog liability insurance

Dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung) is required 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 costs around 5€ per month. Use Tarifcheck to compare prices. If you don’t speak German, Feather and Getsafe sell dog liability insurance, and they speak English. Their insurance covers dangerous breeds.

More about 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.

More about car insurance in Germany

Legal insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung) 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 will pay for it.

There is private legal insurance (for you), and professional legal insurance (for your business). Private legal insurance costs 16€ to 24€ per month.27 Professional legal insurance is more expensive. The price depends on what type of business you run.

Feather and Getsafe sell legal insurance, and they speak English. Tarifcheck lets you compare insurances, but it’s only in German.

More information about legal insurance

Other questions

Is liability insurance mandatory?

No. You are not required to have liability insurance, but it’s a really good idea to have it. Most Germans have it.

  • If you have a dog in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony or Thuringia, you must have dog liability insurance.
  • If you have a car or a motorcycle, then you must have vehicle insurance. It includes liability insurance for when you are driving.
  • In some professions, you must have professional liability insurance.

Can the landlord force me to get liability insurance?

No. The landlord can’t force you to get liability insurance.28 If your lease has a clause that requires liability insurance, you can ignore it.29

What to do next

Read about the other types of insurance in Germany. The next most important insurances to have are legal insurance and disability insurance.

Types of insurance in Germany

Sources and footnotes


  3., Finanztip 

  4. Finanztip 







  11. Settle in Berlin 

  12. (archived) 

  13. Finanztip 





  18. Finanztip, 







  25. Wikipedia