Personal liability insurance

Personal liability insurance is extremely important and whilst it is not obligatory, we recommend all our clients arrange such insurance. Our concept provides worldwide cover when a claim for compensation is brought by a third party for damage/injury you negligently cause to their property/person.

You can be held liable for the costs resulting from your negligence and whilst these may be fairly low and easily paid out of pocket, a liability claim can soon mount up and threaten financial ruin.

A Case Example:

It’s the first day of your annual skiing holiday and though you’re a little rusty, things are going well. Feeling confident, you decide to take a more difficult route back down to the village and that’s when it happens – an unexpected bump in the slope causes you to lose control and collide at speed into another skier. They fall badly and slide down the slope with considerable velocity before hitting the side barrier.

During the collision, your right ski releases and before landing on the slope, catches the head of a snowboarder coming downhill. He too falls.

You are badly shaken, the snowboarder is unconscious and the skier badly injured. All three of you require medical assistance. As the snowboarder has a serious head wound and is not responding to verbal contact, mountain rescue decides he needs a helicopter ambulance to take him to the next hospital.

The skier, though in considerable pain, is conscious and taken by snowmobile to an ambulance in the village below. You return to the base with the ski-lift where mountain rescue and medical services take your details.

You are held directly responsible for the accident and are sued by the mountain rescue teams for their costs; the helicopter lift alone was Euro 2,590.00. The skier broke their collarbone and was in hospital for 4 days. As a self-employed carpenter he won’t be able to work for at least 3 weeks so he’s already contacted his lawyer to sue you for loss of income. The snowboarder, who suffered a serious concussion, was in hospital for 2 days. He too has taken a lawyer to represent him for a personal injury claim against you. In addition to these claims, their medical insurance companies have invoiced you directly for the medical treatment costs and you’ve receive demands totalling Euro 5,800.00. More costs can be expected as the skier requires further medical care.

A personal liability policy would cover these costs and your liability insurer would provide legal representation in any courts of law. Whilst this example may seem somewhat absurd, such claims can easily occur.

Of course, a personal liability policy will also cover for less eventful mishaps:

  • Whilst cycling along a residential road, your 10 year old loses their balance and collides into a parked car, damaging the paint work. The owner of the car sends you the bill for the repairs as well as for a rental car which they required whilst their car was being repaired. Your personal liability policy covers the costs.
  • You are away for the weekend and your washing machine leaks. The water seeps through the floor into the apartment below. The damage to the apartment below as well as to the property in it is covered by your personal liability policy.

Your Personal Liability in Rented Accommodation:

If you are living in rented accommodation, we have insurance concepts which will cover damage you cause to the property including any rented furniture and fittings. Also covered are the costs to change the locks to your rented apartment or home should you lose your keys.

Animal Owner’s Liability Insurance

If you have a dog or horse, you will need to arrange animal owner’s liability insurance. German law clearly separates between “general liability” and “strict liability”. Damage and injury caused by your dog or horse will be considered “strict liability” which means unless you can prove otherwise, you will be liable for damages. Damage/injury caused by other pets, such as cats, rabbits and parrots, is included under the personal liability insurance.

Vehicle Liability Insurance

German personal liability policies provide no vehicle liability insurance.

If you rent a vehicle, you must arrange the liability insurance supplied by the rental company. If you borrow someone else’s car, it is their vehicle liability insurance which provides cover for damage you cause operating the vehicle. If you register a car in Germany, your car insurance policy will include the mandatory vehicle liability cover.

Home Owner’s Liability Insurance

If you are a home owner and use oil for heating, then it is imperative that you have an oil tank liability policy specifically for tank leakage. The costs involved when an oil tank leaks are high and the German authorities follow strict guidelines to reduce the risk of environmental pollution which becomes a significant risk. As the owner of the tank, you will be held liable for all the resulting costs and damages (strict liability) if it leaks. The damage to the oil tank itself is excluded.

If you own a private property but do not occupy it yourself, you require a home and property owner’s liability policy which protects you against risks resulting from owning that building. If you own & occupy a private home, the owner’s liability coverage is included in your personal liability insurance policy. There is no need to purchase a separate policy.