Private liability insurance is the most widely used type of insurance in Germany, after standard insurance. It is even ahead of motor vehicle insurance, which is only used by 81% of people over 18.

Over 48 million people in Germany will be members of private liability insurance in 2021. I learned about this insurance only after a few years as had lived in Germany.

During a conversation with colleagues, we came across this topic. Since I did not know this kind of insurance so far, I inquired about private liability insurance.

My colleagues were stunned and almost worried that I had not yet taken out liability insurance. They recommended that I take out one as soon as possible. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous myself after everything my colleagues told me about it.

When I finished my work that day, I went home and took out private liability insurance through Tarifcheck* that same day. I felt much better and was reassured. 😊

Topics in this article

I tried to understand everything about private liability insurance in Germany >>

I found out what is covered by the personal liability insurance in Germany >>

How I used my liability insurance after stepping on a colleague’s glasses (true story) >>

I also researched what is not covered by liability insurance in Germany >>

I had to make sure the liability insurance also covered my family in Germany >>

Eventually, the cost for liability insurance in Germany didn’t scare me >>

How I took out the liability insurance using the liability insurance calculator Tarifcheck >>

Go to the liability insurance calculator Tarifcheck >>

First, I tried to understand everything about private liability insurance in Germany

After talking to my colleagues, I started researching everything I could about private liability insurance in Germany. I wanted to inform myself first before I would take out a new insurance policy.

As with other insurances in Germany, there is a wide range of private liability insurances in Germany. Alone, over 260 personal liability insurance rates can be found via Tarifcheck* at the moment.

The consumer center in Germany advises everyone to take out private liability insurance after you have to pay by law in unlimited amount for his caused damage. Without this insurance, I have the feeling, the existence of my family and me could be threatened very quickly.

What is precisely the personal liability insurance in Germany

But what exactly is private liability insurance in Germany? Private liability insurance covers (almost) all damage that you cause. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cell phone you accidentally stepped on or if you lose your apartment key in an apartment building.

Private liability insurance will cover you if you have carelessly or recklessly broken something or even caused an accident. The issue of gross negligence is also covered.

To be protected against high claims for damages, you take out private liability insurance.

What are the German names for private liability insurance in Germany?

As I learned in the conversation with my colleagues, not everyone calls private liability insurance “private liability insurance.”

Colloquially, the following terms are also often used:

  • Privathaftpflicht
  • Haftpflichtversicherung
  • Haftpflicht
  • Privathaftpflichtversicherung

Is private liability insurance in Germany mandatory? Does the law require it?

As I found out during my research, private liability insurance is not mandatory insurance in Germany. As already mentioned, it is an insurance that is highly recommended, as it covers almost all cases of damage.

However, you are legally obligated to pay with all your assets for damages you have caused. Insurances like car insurance are mandatory in Germany as soon as you want to use a motor vehicle of any kind on the road.

How many people do have liability insurance in Germany? 

Back then, when I talked to my colleagues about private liability insurance, I wondered how many people were insured. Today, in 2021, it can be assumed that around 48.44 million people in Germany aged 14 and over have taken out private liability insurance.

This liability insurance currently covers about 83% of the German population. So the question arises why some people are not insured.

Am I among the people who need liability insurance in Germany?

How do you determine if you need private liability insurance in Germany? As with other insurances, there are various reasons when it should be taken out:

Own house or land and rent it out, or it is undeveloped

Animal owners of, e.g., dogs or horses, which can cause personal injury or property damage

If an oil tank is installed in your house

You are a builder yourself

You own either a sailboat, motorboat, surfboard, or model airplane

You work in the public sector, and your employer may have a right of recourse against you.

You are a hunter

If you meet one of these cases, you should take out liability insurance. But even as a regular employee, with or without a family, enough can happen to you in life that makes liability insurance worthwhile.

Do I need third-party liability insurance for work?

Private liability insurance is also essential for employees. Here are some typical insurance cases:

  • You lose the key to your work, and an expensive locking system has to be replaced
  • You accidentally transmit confidential electronic data to someone, and the company suffers a significant financial loss as a result
  • You accidentally give the wrong advice to a customer, and the customer suffers a loss as a result.
  • Violations of image or personal rights also occur time and again
  • Personal injury and property damage also happen frequently when you have increased contact with customers.

Also, as an employee in the public service, you should take out such liability insurance. Even if your employer is liable for you at first, he can make recourse claims against you later.

Should I have liability insurance when I rent an apartment?

As I learned through my research, private liability insurance is also beneficial if you live in an apartment for rent.

So many things can happen in everyday life, in the worst case unintentionally causing expensive damage to the rented apartment. The landlord can hold you liable for this.

If you have taken out liability insurance, the insurance company will examine your case, defend you, or pay for the damages.

There are more and more landlords who attach importance to the liability insurance of the tenant.

They demand proof of insurance (in German: Versicherungsnachweis) even before the tenancy agreement is signed.

The German Tenants’ Association points out that such a clause in the lease is not allowed.

However, landlords can always choose another tenant who meets or wants to meet their requirements. It is therefore advisable to take out liability insurance.

Are short-time tourists supposed to have liability insurance in Germany?

As a tourist, you are not required to have private liability insurance in Germany. Nevertheless, even as a tourist in Germany, you can be held fully liable for any damage you cause.

As a rule, you should assume that something like this will not happen if you are only in a country for a few days or a few weeks as a vacationer.

However, you will certainly feel better if you have taken out appropriate insurance as a guest or tourist.

Then I had to find out what is covered by the personal liability insurance in Germany

With all this background, it was even more apparent that I should take out private liability insurance.

In the meantime, I had understood why private liability insurance is good in Germany. Nevertheless, I wanted to learn more about when insurance can help me.

Typical situations covered by private liability insurance in Germany

Personal injury due to an accident

You are a cyclist riding out of a traffic-calmed area onto a bike path and collide with an oncoming cyclist. The latter hit his head on the asphalt and is seriously injured.

After fracturing his skull, the cyclist remains paraplegic. Since he was on his way to work, the Employer’s Liability Insurance Association came to you with recourse claims. For the commuting accident, this relates to monthly costs, among other things.

Claim: 8.1 million euros

Loss of keys at work

The company you work for has its office in a large office building. You accidentally lose the key to the office. As a result, the entire locking system has to be replaced.

The landlord asks you to pay for this yourself and sends you an invoice.

Damage claim: 10,000 euros

Property damage to the borrowed camera

You borrow a camera from an acquaintance for your vacation. Unfortunately, you drop it on the floor due to carelessness. The camera and the lens are irreparably damaged, and the acquaintance wants a replacement for the borrowed camera.

Damage claim: 2,500 Euro 

These are only a few examples of possible cases of damage. If you have taken out private liability insurance, you do not have to pay for the damages and costs yourself.

In more minor cases, this is no problem, but in case of a traffic accident or, e.g., a building fire, this can quickly cost several million. Claims for damages by which your existence would be threatened without insurance.

Examples about third party liability insurance in Germany from Check24

You are covered with a personal liability policy for the following three categories of damage according to Tarifcheck*, a company of Check24.

Property damage (Sachschaden)

You accidentally tip beer over a friend’s smartphone during a movie night. The resulting damage amounts to 500 euros.

The insurance will either pay for the repair or replacement of the device.

Personal injury (Personenschaden)

Due to carelessness, you cause an accident with a cyclist crossing a street, and the cyclist breaks his thigh.

The insurance covers hospital and household expenses and compensation for pain and suffering in the total amount of 75,000 euros.

Loss of keys (SchlĂŒsselverlust)

You live in an apartment building and lose the front door key. The central locking system must therefore be replaced.

Depending on the tariff, the private liability insurance covers the costs for replacing the complete locking system of approx. 1,900 euros.

What coverage amount (Deckungssumme) is recommended?

It is advisable to choose a sum insured of at least 10 million euros. Personal injuries, in particular, can quickly result in high costs. Be it because of rehabilitation measures, compensation for pain and suffering, conversion of an apartment to make it suitable for the disabled, or payment for loss of service.

Which additional coverage is practical?

If you are considering taking out personal liability insurance, make sure that the following additional benefits are included in the best-case scenario:

  • Damage caused by courtesy due to unpaid assistance

Damage that occurs, for example, when you help a friend paint an apartment or when you look after the children of a family friend

  • Loss of keys

Loss of keys (personal or professional) is also not included in every personal liability policy.

  • Indemnity coverage

Suppose you are involved in an accident, are not at fault, and the person who caused the accident does not have private liability insurance. With this additional benefit, your loss is covered by your insurance policy.

  • Damage that occurs during a tenancy

Here, damages to the building or inventory of vacation homes, hotels, and borrowed, rented, or leased property are covered.

  • Damage during voluntary work

Personal injury and property damage are covered if you are voluntarily active in an association in your free time.

How I used my liability insurance after stepping on a colleague’s glasses (true story)

A few years after taking out private liability insurance, exactly such a case occurred, which my colleagues had warned me about. Not a severe case, but it was helpful to have liability insurance.

One day, while sitting with one of my colleagues at his desk to go through some presentations, I must have accidentally knocked his glasses off the table. This would not have been a big deal if I had noticed it right away.

how I used the liability insurance

Because of the carpeted floor at work, and ended our conversation after a few minutes. I rolled my desk chair back a bit to stand up more quickly. In the process, I stepped on his almost new varifocals.

Very embarrassing for me, but fortunately, the liability covered the current value of the glasses. He had bought his varifocals new at the optician a few months ago.

The new price of the glasses was around 1200 euros cost. I was lucky that my insurance had taken 100% of the property damage in this case.

I also researched what is not covered by liability insurance in Germany

Before I would take out private liability insurance in Germany, I wanted to know which damages would not be covered by it.

What situations are not covered by German personal liability insurance?

There are some damages for which liability insurance does not cover in a private environment. We’re talking here about damage caused:

  • to a co-insured person or my property
  • intentionally
  • by my animal, e.g., my dog (or horse)
  • by the use of a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft
  • by utilizing a drone (partly covered in premium tariffs)
  • by an amateur hunter while hunting

Which risks are covered by separate insurances?

Some of these claims are covered by separate insurance policies. There are the following liability insurances that cover such cases:

I then had to make sure the liability insurance also covered my family in Germany

Since I was married and already had a child, I wanted to make sure that my family was also covered with this private liability insurance policy.

Does the personal liability insurance in Germany cover my family, spouse, children, or partner?

So I checked whether it was possible to take out private liability insurance for the entire family or whether this benefit had to be paid separately.

In Germany, it is common for private liability insurance policies not to cover family members automatically. Therefore, as soon as you live with your partner or have children, it is worthwhile to take out family liability insurance instead of personal liability.

Some private liability insurance policies already include partners and children. It is therefore essential to check this in advance. Children are insured up to 18 or until they have finished their education or studies and are single.

For partners, a separate application must be made from time to time.

Does the third-party liability insurance cover other people in my life in Germany?

With private liability insurance, other persons are not insured.

Family liability insurance (Familienhaftpflichtversicherung), relatives with whom you live in the same household are usually also insured.

Does the private liability insurance cover my pets in Germany?

No, pets such as dogs are not covered by private liability insurance in Germany. For this purpose, there is a unique animal owner liability insurance (Tierhalterhaftpflichtversicherung).

Eventually, the cost for liability insurance in Germany didn’t scare me

What surprised me a lot was that the prices for private liability insurance in Germany are not that high. Since this insurance is crucial for the entire family, I did not think twice when taking out the policy.

How much is personal liability insurance in Germany?

Private liability insurance in Germany is available from just over 24 euros a year for singles.

For families, rates are somewhat more expensive and start at around 36 euros per year. 

A few examples of costs from the liability insurance Germany calculator Tarifcheck / Check24

Cheap rates for singles

If you want to find cheap private liability insurance as a single, there are rates between 24.24 euros and 181 euros per year.

price liability insurance Germany example one

With a monthly payment, this is just 2.02 euros per month for the cheapest tariff.

Cheap Rates for Families

Favorable family rates for liability insurance start from only 36.44 euros per year currently.

price liability insurance Germany example two

The most expensive tariff can cost up to 246 euros a year.

Cheap partner tariffs

For a tariff you and your spouse are covered, the annual costs start at 26.30 euros. The most expensive offer is 213 euros per year.

price liability insurance Germany example three

Favorable rates for single parents

If you are a single parent, insurance rates for private liability insurance start from 34.28 euros per year. The most expensive rate is 227 euros per year.

price liability insurance Germany example four

How to pay less with the help of the liability insurance Germany calculator

With the private liability insurance comparison from Tarifcheck*, you can save significantly with the proper settings.

You should only ensure that the desired tariff covers the desired amount of coverage and additional services such as loss of keys.

Over the configurator, for private liability insurances on Tarifcheck*, one can sort completely simply the results.

If you set the sorting to lowest price first (Lowest price first), the cheapest rates are displayed first.

How I took out the liability insurance using the liability insurance calculator Tarifcheck*

The search for the correct insurance rate was correspondingly easy on Tarifcheck*. I have summarized for you here how I found my private liability insurance policy.

Step 1

The first step should be to open the right page of Tarifcheck* (from Check24) on the subject of personal liability.

first page liability insurance germany calculator

The first information you have to offer is your family situation (Familienstad).

You can choose between:

  1. Paar/familie – couple/family
  2. Single

Make your choice and click on the blue button – Jetzt Haftpflichtversicherungen vergleichen (Compare now) – to continue.

Step 2

On the following page, you will need to provide additional information about yourself.

details about liability insurance germany

First, you have to answer following questions:

  • GewĂŒnschter Versicherungsbeginn – Desired start date of insurance
  • Tarifauswahl – Rate selection
  • PLZ des Antragsstellers – Zip code of the applicant
  • Tarifgruppe – Tariff group
  • Geburtsdatum – Date of birth
  • Ausfalldeckung – Default coverage
  • DeliktunfĂ€hige Kinder unter 7 Jahre mitversichern? – Do you insure children under 7 years of age who are incapable of committing a tort?
  • Hund mitversichern? (kein Kampfhund!) – Do you insure a dog? (no fighting dog!)
options for price comparison liability insurance

And then answer the second set of questions.

These are options that could reduce the cost of the policy (Rabattrelevante Angaben):

  • Laufzeit – Duration
  • Bestand in den letzten 5 Jahren eine Vorversicherung? – Did you have prior insurance in the last 5 years?
  • SchĂ€den in den letzten 5 Jahren – Damages in the last 5 years

Once you have made the appropriate selection, you can choose not to answer to the detailed questions (Ich verzichte auf …).

All you have to do is to click on the blue button “Berechnen” (calculate, compare).

Additional questions for the liability calculator Germany

Or you can choose to answer the detailed questions:

  • WĂ€hlen Sie eine Vorgabe fĂŒr Ihre Berechnung – Select a default for your calculation
  • Standard AK Empfehlung – Standard AK recommendation
  • Mindest-Versicherungssumme Personen/SachschĂ€den – Minimum sum insured for personal injury/property damage
  • Mindest-Versicherungssumme fĂŒr MietsachschĂ€den – Minimum sum insured for rental property damage
  • Mindest-Versicherungssumme fĂŒr VermögensschĂ€den – Minimum sum insured for property damage
  • Best-Leistungsgarantie – Best Performance Guarantee
  • Selbstgenutztes Wohneigentum – Owner-occupied residential property
  • Eigentumswohnungen in Deutschland, vermietet – Condominiums in Germany, rented
  • Unbebautes GrundstĂŒck – Undeveloped property
  • Einliegerwohnung vermietet im selbstbewohnten Haus – Granny apartment rented in owner-occupied house
  • Ferienhaus-/Wohnung im Inland selbstgenutzt – Vacation home/apartment in Germany owner-occupied
  • Wohnung / Ferienwohnung / Ferienhaus im europ. Ausland ohne Vermietung – Apartment/vacation home/vacation home in other European countries, not rented out
  • Fachpraktischer Unterricht (Laborarbeiten) – Practical training (laboratory work)
  • HĂŒten eines fremden Hundes/Pferdes – Herding of another person’s dog/horse
  • Einschluss Öltankhaftpflicht – Inclusion oil tank liability
  • AllmĂ€hlichkeitsschĂ€den – Gradual damage
  • GewĂ€sserschaden-Risiko, z.B. Farben – Water damage risk, e.g. paints
  • SchĂ€den durch hĂ€usliche AbwĂ€sser – Damage caused by domestic sewage
  • SchĂ€den durch elektronischen Datenaustausch/Internetnutzung – Damage due to electronic data exchange/Internet use
  • GefĂ€lligkeitsschĂ€den – Damage caused by courtesy
  • Gemietete oder geliehene Sachen – Rented or borrowed property
  • SchlĂŒsselverlust, fremder privater SchlĂŒssel (Mietwohnung) – Loss of keys, third-party private key (rented apartment)
  • SchlĂŒsselverlust fĂŒr Zentrale Schließanlage (keine EigenschĂ€den) – Loss of keys for central locking system (no own damage)
  • SchlĂŒsselverlust von fremden DienstschlĂŒsseln – Loss of keys for third-party service keys
  • Weltweite Deckung gewĂŒnscht (Standard ist Europa oder EU) – Worldwide coverage desired (standard is Europe or EU)
  • Alleinstehendes Elternteil im Haushalt lebend – Single parent living in household
  • Ehrenamtliche TĂ€tigkeit – Voluntary activity
  • TĂ€tigkeit als Tagesmutter – Activity as a childminder
  • RegressansprĂŒche von SozialversicherungstrĂ€gern von mitversicherten Personen – Recourse claims from social insurance carriers of co-insured persons
  • Bauherrenhaftpflicht am Haus oder GrundstĂŒck – Builder’s liability on the house or property
  • Eigene Surfbretter – Own surfboards
  • Besitzen Sie Hunde, Pferde, Rinder, landwirtschaftliche Tiere? – Do you own dogs, horses, cattle, agricultural animals?
  • Benutzen Sie eigene Wasserfahrzeuge? – Do you use your own watercraft?
  • Besitzen Sie Modellflugzeuge, Ballone oder Drachen? – Do you own model airplanes, balloons or kites?
  • Besitzen Sie privat genutzte Drohnen? – Do you own drones used for private purposes?
  • Gehen Sie auf die Jagd? – Do you go hunting?
  • Betreiben Sie eine Photovoltaikanlage? – Do you operate a photovoltaic system?
  • Rechtsschutz zur Ausfalldeckung – Legal protection for default coverage

Step 3

what does liability insurance Germany cost

In this view

  • the individual criteria of the search can be adjusted.
  • The highest tariff is the policy that offers the lowest monthly premium
  • You can choose from more than 100 offers

Once you have found your desired rate, you can select it by clicking on Antrag (contract) and purchase insurance.

Step 4

After you choose the offer, fill in the necessary personal information.

how to fill in personal details for the liability insurance contract
  • Anrede, Titel – Salutation, title
  • Vorname – First name
  • Nachname – Last name
  • Postleitzahl, Ort – Postal code, city
  • Straße, Hausnr. – Street, house no.
  • Telefon-Nr. – Telephone no.
  • Fax-Nr. – Fax no.
  • E-Mail-Adresse – E-mail address
  • Genaue derzeitige Berufsbezeichnung – Exact current job title
  • Alter bei Versicherungsbeginn – Age at start of insurance
  • 41 (Ihre Angabe aus der Eingabemaske) – 41 (your entry from the input mask)
  • Geburtsdatum – Date of birth
  • Datum wĂ€hlen – Select date
  • Staatsangehörigkeit Nationality
  • Familienstand – Marital status
  • Anrede Lebenspartner – Title of life partner
  • Vorname Name Lebenspartner – First name Last name of partner
  • Geburtsdatum Lebenspartner – Date of birth of life partner

Wrap Up

If you do not yet have private liability insurance in Germany, I can only recommend that you take out such insurance as soon as possible. This protects you and your family and children from sometimes very high claims in case of damage.

I hope that this summary has provided you with all the information you need to take out private liability insurance.


* The links marked in this way are affiliate links and indicate that we receive a small commission, if you decide to buy the products or services offered by our partner sites. There’s no additional cost for you. Powered by TARIFCHECK24 GmbH.

About the Author

Alex Z.

Alex works in product management and has been living in Germany for more than 11 years. He has been speaking German for more than 20 years. His passion is to help people, who want to live a good life in a German speaking country, to learn German super fast. Want to connect with him? Look for Alexandru Zloteanu on LinkedIn.

View All Articles