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Personal Liability Insurance

Under German law, every individual is legally fully liable for any damage they cause to another person (Section 823, 1 German Civil Code, BGB). Since this liability is not capped, the person who caused the damage is liable to the full extent of their assets in the worst-case scenario.

This is why it is recommended that employees take out an additional personal liability insurance policy in their own interest. Personal liability insurance protects against the negative financial effects of legal liability: for any damage caused by the policyholder, the insurance company bears the costs of compensation. Furthermore, personal liability insurance also protects against claims for damages wrongfully asserted against the policyholder. The following examples illustrate how easily compensation claims covered by personal liability insurance can arise:

  • Example 1: A cyclist comes out of a side street and cycles onto a footpath or cycle path, but does not notice that there’s a car parked on the side of the road. The cyclist just about manages to dodge the car, but one of the bike pedals scratches the paint of the car. The car owner claims compensation for the costs of the damage, which could easily amount to several thousand euros.

  • Example 2: While helping a friend move house, a man drops the friend’s new TV set. The friend demands compensation for the damaged TV.

  • Example 3: Two friends are walking beside each other on the pavement, talking animatedly. They do not see the elderly lady coming towards them, her hands full of shopping bags. One of the friends walks into the elderly lady, who falls and breaks her left hip and her right arm. Due to her injuries, the victim has to spend several days in hospital for treatment. The friend who caused the accident has to pay the immediate treatment costs, compensation for pain and suffering, and any further medical bills.


In contrast to motor vehicle liability insurance, which is mandatory, personal liability insurance is voluntary. In your own interest, we recommend that you take out a personal liability insurance policy as protection against any liability claims. Insurance premiums for this type of insurance are generally quite reasonable.


Further information about personal liability insurance is available in German at:
Verbraucherzentrale
Bund der Versicherten


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