What is general liability insurance

Private liability insurance: an absolute must for everyone!

Who needs what protection?

Everyone should take out private liability insurance because it protects against damage that can run into the millions.

A distinction must be made between the following tariffs:

  • in the Single tariff Only you as the policyholder have insurance coverage.
  • in the Family tariff the protection is extended to other people. Joint private liability insurance is sufficient for spouses or people living in a cohabiting relationship. In the case of cohabiting partnerships, however, the partner should be mentioned in the policy. Children are generally also insured as long as they are still in the first uninterrupted training course.

For families and in permanent partnerships with a shared apartment, family tariffs are usually cheaper than insuring yourself individually.

Private liability insurance only covers the private sector. Professional or business liability insurance can therefore also be important (especially for freelancers / self-employed). For some professions, financial loss liability insurance is also useful.

Additional liability insurance should include:

  • Homeowners and landowners of rented or undeveloped property
  • Animal owners, for example dogs and horses
  • Owners of oil tanks
  • Builders
  • Owners of motor and sail boats, surfboards, model airplanes and motor vehicles
  • People in the public service, because of the possibility of recourse claims by the employer
  • Hunter

When does private liability insurance take over?

In the event of a claim, it is the responsibility of the liability insurer to check whether the claims for damages made against you are justified. Liability insurance provides you with comprehensive protection:

  1. Does the insurer think they are unjustified, he fends off the claims at his own risk and expense. Liability insurance therefore offers what is known as "passive" legal protection.
  2. If the insurer considers the claims against you to be entitledthen he will pay for the damage. The prerequisite is that there is no exclusion in the insurance conditions - for example, you did not cause any damage on purpose (legal: intent).

The injured party should not enrich himself from damage. The liability insurer must follow this principle. Depending on the damage, these regulations apply:

  • At a damage the repair costs are always paid. If the item is worth less after the repair than before, there is also a surcharge for this reduction in value.
  • At a Total loss the current value of the insured item is reimbursed. The current value is the replacement value of items of the same type and quality, taking into account age and wear and tear. As a replacement for a used bike, the injured party would get so much money that they could buy a similar good used bike.
  • At a Personal injury Medical and hospital costs, costs for alleviating suffering, compensation for professional disadvantages, costs for restoring the ability to work, compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for permanent damage (e.g. pension payments) and other additional costs (e.g. nursing staff) can be claimed.

How much should you insure yourself?

It is important: in the cases mentioned, the insurer only pays up to the amounts insured for personal injury, property damage and financial loss stated in the insurance policy. If the damage is higher than what you insured, you will have to pay the rest yourself.

Therefore, make sure to take out adequate insurance. You should agree to a lump sum of 10 million euros as the minimum coverage. The insurance should cover this sum in all three areas - personal injury, property damage and financial loss.

Better - and obtainable for just a few euros more - are cover sums of 50 million euros. Make no mistake: In accidents with several people involved, such damage occurs!

What is insured?

The dangers of daily life are insured. Among other things, there is insurance coverage:

  • neglecting the duty of supervision over minors (not only over one's own children, but also over strangers)
  • in the event of a breach of traffic safety obligations (e.g. cleaning, gritting and clearing snow on sidewalks)
  • as a pedestrian or cyclist (also from electric bicycles) in road traffic
  • as a participant in private sporting activities such as football or tennis
  • in the event of damage that you cause with your own or third-party rowing and paddle boats, surfboards or third-party (borrowed or rented) sailing boats
  • as owner of owner-occupied real estate (holiday apartments, holiday home / weekend house, condominium)
  • as a separate owner in apartment complexes, due to damage to the common property
  • for the loss of someone else's private apartment keys or professional keys
  • as a builder for (re) building measures with a construction cost of at least 20,000 euros
  • for the water damage risk for substances that are common in the household such as paints, varnishes, heating oil up to 50 liters / kilogram of these substances
  • for damage from the exchange, transmission and provision of electronic data

Often misunderstood: what is not insured?

Favors: If you help others at their request (for example when moving) and cause damage in the process through simple negligence, you are generally not obliged to pay compensation. You should discuss such courtesy services with the other person beforehand and, if necessary, look for suitable insurance for them.

Incapable children: According to the law, children who have not yet celebrated their 7th birthday cannot be held responsible for damage. You are incapable of tort. In the event of damage in flowing traffic, children are only responsible from the age of 10. If the parents have not neglected their duty of supervision, the injured party will not receive any compensation. You can, however, look for a liability insurer who also insures children who are incapable of tort - this way, conflicts can be avoided if your child causes damage.

Other important clauses to look out for

If Cause you other harmwho have no liability insurance and cannot pay for the damage themselves, it is important that your liability insurance covers you and pays you for the damage. You should make absolutely sure that your liability insurer takes over insurance cover for these cases.

Make sure that emerging risksthat are added during the term of the contract are initially included in the insurance free of charge. Example: You have taken out private liability insurance and are purchasing a dog for which you need pet owner liability insurance. The dog is then insured free of charge until the next premium is due. So you can take some time to take out pet owner liability insurance.

When concluding a contract, you should make sure that the coverage of this pension insurance corresponds to that of the main insurance. Newly added risks - i.e. the acquisition of the dog - must be reported to the insurer in good time.

When is the insurance cover at risk?

In the event of a liability claim, you may not acknowledge the claim of the injured party or pay compensation without the written consent of the insurer. So don't sign an admission of guilt or pay any money. Otherwise your insurance cover can be jeopardized.

You must report the damage to your insurance company immediately.

Where is insurance coverage available?

The private liability insurance is valid worldwide. As a rule, however, the prerequisite is that the stay abroad does not last longer than one year.

Staying within the European Union should be insured without a time limit - make sure that this is regulated in your contract.

How is the contribution calculated?

Tariffs are offered for singles, married couples without children, families and relatives for certain professional groups. Of course, this also has an impact on how expensive the contracts are.

Agreeing on a deductible per insured event reduces the premium - but it usually brings so little savings that you should do without it.

It is usually cheaper to pay the insurance premium once a year than, for example, in monthly installments.

How can the contract be terminated?

Insurance contracts can be terminated with a notice period of (usually) three months to the end of the term. Without termination, the contract is automatically extended for another year. Thereafter, the contract can be terminated annually - again with a three-month notice period.

You can also cancel in the event of a claim or an increase in premiums.

Choose a suitable provider and tariff

The differences in contributions and benefits between the providers of private liability insurance are enormous. If in doubt, let us advise you independently!

Orientation with private liability insurance

This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with our federal association (vzbv) and the Rhineland-Palatinate consumer center for the network of consumer centers in Germany.