If you cause an accident in Germany, you can be sued by the victim. If the victim wins, you will have to pay reparations1. This could easily ruin you.

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

What does liability insurance cover?

Private liability insurance

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

  • 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 will pay the repairs.
  • 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 bicycle1, they can sue you for damages. The insurance company will pay the legal fees and the reparations.
  • Damage caused by your spouse and children
    Liability insurance covers your family too, except your children under 7 years old1, 2. Your children over 6 years old are covered until they finish their studies1.
  • 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, the landlord 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 to things you rent or borrow
    For example, you damage a hotel room while you are on vacation1, or you borrow a neighbour's drill and you break it1, 2.
  • Damage while helping a friend (Gefäl­ligkeits­schäden)
    If you help your friend to move, and you break their furniture, liability insurance will not pay for it1, 2. Some new liability insurance policies cover this1.

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. Liability insurance covers damage to a rented apartment, but not to an apartment that you own. It still covers damage to your neighbours' apartments.
  • 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.
  • Damage caused by children under 7 years old
    Your young children are not covered by most liability insurances1, 2. You must pay more for this. Your children over 6 years old are covered by your liability insurance until they finish their studies1.
  • Damage or injuries caused by your pets
    This is covered by a separate 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 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 and Luko's household insurance cover locksmiths1, and they speak English.

Do I really need it?

Yes. Liability insurance is not mandatory, but it's a really good idea1. There is no limit on damage claims. You can be sued for millions of euros1. A tiny mistake can bankrupt you, and a cheap insurance can prevent this1.

83% of German homes have liability insurance1. 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.

Use Tarifcheck to compare liability insurance prices.

How to pick liability insurance

Don't just pick the cheapest insurance, and don't trust sponsored posts from random websites. You might regret it when you need to use your insurance. Instead, do your own research.

  1. Use Tarifcheck to compare prices
    Tarifcheck only shows you the prices. It does not help you pick a good liability insurance.
  2. Use Test.de's liability insurance checker
    This tool checks if your liability insurance covers the important things.
  3. Check your insurance company on Trustpilot
    See if people have problems getting paid by the insurance company.
  4. Read your insurance policy
    All EU insurance policies come with an Insurance Product Information Document (IPID)1. This one-page summary tells you what your liability insurance covers. Always read this document before you sign an insurance contract.

Minimum coverage

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

  • At least 10 million euros1, 2 in damages to other people. 50 million euros is better1, 2.
  • At least 300,000€ in damages to the apartment you rent1.
  • At least 50,000€ in damages while using a computer1.
  • It should cover you anywhere in the world, not just in Germany1.

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

Deductible

Some liability insurances have a deductible (Selbstbeteiligung). This is the amount you pay yourself before your insurance helps you.

If your deductible is higher, your insurance is cheaper. The price difference is small. It's better to pay more, and have no deductible1.

How to pay less

Liability insurance is cheaper if you pay 1 year in advance, instead of every month1. You can sometimes get liability and household insurance together for a lower price1, 2.

Just don't get the cheapest insurance. Pick good coverage with a good insurance company.

Lost keys

Pick a 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.

English-speaking insurers

If you don't speak German, Feather, GetSafe, Luko and Lemonade offer liability insurance, and they speak English. They all cover lost keys.

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 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 Luko offer dog liability insurance, and they speak English. They both cover dangerous breeds1, 2.

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 month1. Professional legal insurance is more expensive. The price depends on what type of business you run.

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

More about legal insurance in Germany ➞

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 get dog liability insurance. It's mandatory.

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 insurance1, 2. If your lease has a clause that requires liability insurance, you can ignore it1.

Can I deduct liability insurance from my taxes?

Yes.1, 2