Haftpflichtversicherung (liability insurance)

207 posts in this topic

Hi All,

 

I recently mentioned to German friends that I don't have Haftpflichtversicherung or Hausratsversicherung, which was met by absolute horror by all present.

I've since asked maybe 20 Germans, who have all reacted shocked when I said I don't have it.

 

In the UK I don't know anyone who has this type of insurance, other than of course for their car. It seems if we break something of a friends we would just replace it.

 

Do any non Germans here have it?, ever had to claim on it?

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I got it a few months back after similar horrified reactions from German friends, Never had to claim on it though

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I'm on my ex's policy (and yeah, he's German)

it's not so much the issue of breaking something of a friends and replacining it.

 

Say you are at Ikea and accidently graze the bumper of a car with your troley, making the tiniest scratch barely visible to the naked eye.

It's a pretty sure bet that the lawyers of the cars owner will claim the bumper is totally destroyed and has to be completely replaced at very high costs by a professional garage. Who will quite possibly pass a cut to those involved.

 

That's when the insurance is handy.

 

Yes it is a pretty shitty system and rip off.

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I would suggest this insurance is a necessity for dumb foreigners, especially those new to the place. It's all too easy to get caught out because of ignorance, because of a bad purchase, a vehicle accident a neighbour dispute, or a battle with your landlord and this is the insurance that saves you. I have a very, very comprehensive legal insurance which is worth its weight in gold, having helped me get out of, or minimise financial damage from things as simple as parking fines, via complex insurance claims to software counterfeiting. It's something you need from the outset, because once you have a problem to solve you can't buy it retrospectively.

I think that YL6 sums this up quite succinctly and is worth quoting again. Although you may want to prepare to be merged. :)

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Haftpflichtversicherung is an absolute must. It is relatively cheap, and provides pretty extensive cover. That being said, not all policies are created equal so it pays to read carefully during comparison shopping (I like the site ino24.de) or consult an independent broker (such as Starshollow).

 

In the US, liability insurance is included as part of homeowner's or renter's insurance. In Germany, Hausratsversicherung does not include liability cover. Furthermore, many Germans have legal insurance, and they can be very quick to use it. The reason to have liability insurance, as MonksTown said, is not so much to pay a friend if you break their camera (some policies will exclude this, some have a deductible for that type of damage to loaned items), but to cover damage to people you don't know, etc. If you ride a bicycle in Germany, it is especially critical to have this cover.

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I think that YL6 sums this up quite succinctly and is worth quoting again. Although you may want to prepare to be merged.

That comment was about legal insurance, and, while connected, I think Haftpflichtversicherung is more important than legal insurance.

 

To the OP--as for Hausratsversicherung--that's more of a personal choice. Do you care if you lose all of your possessions? If so, purchase it, as it will pay to replace them if there's a fire or some such disaster. If not, don't. Hausratsversicherung is a nice thing if you are a renter (and critical if you are a homeowner), but Haftpflichtversicherung is a crucial item (if you are found liable, your future wages can be attached until you pay back the debt).

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That comment was about legal insurance, and, while connected, I think Haftpflichtversicherung is more important than legal insurance.

 

To the OP--as for Hausratsversicherung--that's more of a personal choice. Do you care if you lose all of your possessions? If so, purchase it, as it will pay to replace them if there's a fire or some such disaster. If not, don't. Hausratsversicherung is a nice thing if you are a renter (and critical if you are a homeowner), but Haftpflichtversicherung is a crucial item (if you are found liable, your future wages can be attached until you pay back the debt).

Again: Not without a court order.

*Still working on the wiki page about collecting*

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The "Private Haftpflichtversicherung" or third party liability insurance is so important because without it you can loose everything you own and more (i.e. what you will earn in the future) and thus is paramount protection for your income and property. While a "Hausrat"-Versicherung (contents of your apartment/house etc just protects some of the things you own (and might cherish), you could financially survive if your flat burned down or someone broke in and stole everything of value because you would still have your saving and your income to come around again.

 

The third party liability insurance, however, protects you also if by accident or neglegence you cause injury or even death to a person and obviously this can cost you loads more of money. Just imagine you crossing the sidewalk with your head in the sky (musing again about the bad service attitude of the Germans whenst coming out of a shop, for instance) and you don't see the bicyclist coming at full speed who needs to swerve around you and crashes in the Bentley of some celebrity parked right there... the bicyclist has to stay in hospital for several month and since his one leg remains lame/paralyzed, he looses his ability to perform his job as a bus-driver. Suddenly you face claims from the bentley-owner, the health insurance of the bicylist for the long hospital stay and costly surgeries and of course from the bicyclist for a monthly pension until the end of his live for loss of his ability to work... This is why such an insurance is so important.

 

One thing you should look for in your own insurance: it should have a "Forderungsausfall"-clause. This would protect you yourself if you should be the vicitim of such an accident and the other side has neither such an insurance nor sufficient funds to pay you claims. In this case your own insurance will pay out to you instead...

 

One more piece of advice: don't go for the least expensive insurance, but for the one with the best coverage for your money and the best trackrecord for settling claims. If you don't want to go through an independent broker, check the FINANZTEST on that...

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Basically if i have it right the insurance companies have a basic coverage now for a high amount.Ask if there is 'Mietschaden' in the policy.Most have it in now.Normally all your family is covered including children under the age of 18.Also you are normally covered if your children are on a bicycle and scrape a car, to name a few examples

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Wow, some great advice. Many thanks to all. I will definitely get myself some of this insurance quickly.

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Not just families with children, but dogs should be insured, too! It costs around 70 euro per year (per dog), and I'm fully covered if my dogs damage anything or even get in a fight with another dog causing expensive vet fees. Having two feisty terriers, I can't rule out that they might one day for whatever reason decide to attack a lawnchair cushion and tear it to shreds. Actually, they've done that with one of mine :rolleyes: As a puppy, one of them latched onto the pant leg of a woman who got hysterical and threatened to call the police and sue me. Her partner calmed her down, no real damage was done (it was a playful puppy on leash!) but I could have been liable to replace her pants at least.

 

As I see it, everyone living in Germany should have liability insurance and legal insurance. Dog insurance for dog owners, plus car insurance for drivers. We had to take out house insurance because it was a requirement from the bank that gave us our mortgage, but I would have gotten it anyway. Oh... and health insurance of course. Hubby also has disability insurance. I think that about covers it. Have I forgotten anything?

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Oops... yeah... got that, too. Oh, and also special travel insurance (tied into one of the other packages) since Hubby does lots of business trips all over the world. Err... gosh... are we over insured? :blink:

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I think disability insurance was already mentioned.

If you have to quit working it's mostly because of deseases.

The leading case in Germany is depression!

 

Life insurance is only necessary if you are not married.

You can't insure yourself against death.

Accident insurance is also not necessary - you need a disability insurance.

 

Unluckily you can't insure yourself against the cost of a divorce - it may ruin you.

 

I think starshollow can comment on this.

 

PS

My wife tries to convince me to contract a life insurance.

I think it could be a threat to my life, so I don't do it.

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I have it. It's not particularly expensive. It just seems to be the thing to do here. If Germans did not think they needed it, I doubt they would spend the money for it.

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All insurances Bipa mentiones are potentially necessarry to protect one's livelihood. of course not everyone can afford to have all these insurances and thats why I would recommend to sort them by priority based on a risk assessment, both statistically and with regards to the monetary consequences.

 

1. HEALTH INSURANCE Every body need and should have a good health insurance. Not having one can - at least starting from January 2009 - cause severe legal and monetary consquences if you are ill and need treatment without sufficient insurance or private funds. And it is a major finance risk. Most people can afford to pay for some anti-flue prescriptions and a small check-up and treatment with a doctor. But what if you get cancer, or become the victim of a runnaway car-accident and you'll need ER-treatment, major surgery and couple of weeks stay in hospital? Therefore, and not only for legal requirements, health insurance comes first.

 

2. THIRD PARTY LIABILITY INSURANCE (Private Haftpflicht): I think I explained enough of the reasons above and in other threads. Not having one can endanger all that you own today and all that you might earn in the future, so it is a far greater risk than to insurance a car or your property in the house/apartment and should come second.

 

3. INCOME PROTECTION: It is always amazing to me, that someone would pay, say, 50.- EUr on top of is liability insurance each month to protect a 40.000.- value car against theft and destruction and would not spend the same amount to protect his ability to earn income. If you are 30 years today, you still have another 25-35 years (at least) ahead of your to earn money. If your net income today would "only" be 1.500.- EUR, we are talking about a value of 999.986,17 EUR that needs to be protected at least (the computation is based on the monthly amount times years with 2,5 % inflation factored in - raise in pay etc are not even considered yet here). If you had a house or jewellery with a value of close to a million EUR: would you insure it against theft or destruction? Of course you would... and now why would you not protect your main source of value for the times to come, your ability to work and generate income, I wonder?

There are three kind of insurances that belong here: occupational disability insurance (German:Berufunfähigkeitsversicherung), dread disease insurance (German: Schwere Krankheiten Versicherung) and accident insurance (German: Unfallversicherung). And for self-employed we could add a "Krankentagegeld", i.e. a daily allowance/payment in case of illness as an additional service of your health insurance in some cases...

Which of these insurances or rather which combination of these insurance is the right choice of protection for you depends on a number of parameters, like professional status (employed or self-employed), kind of occupation (i.e. what typical health risks come with the occupation) and in general a statistical risk assessment.

Accident insurance covers you basically for loss of limbs or other body function through any form of accident and can bring either a lump sum payment or monthly pension or both. In my opinion it is is important for children to be protected thus, for grown-ups it is also good to have but they should rather focus first on occupational disability or dread disease.

Occupation disability insurance is a must if you are working in a profession which know typical health risks which would make it impossible for you to continue to do the same job. All forms of manual labor belong to this, also all jobs which deal with chemicals because of allergies (this includes hair-dresser, baker and others too). All desk-oriented jobs and managment related jobs even in employment should, in my professional opinion, rather look for a dread disease insurance, where you insure yourself against a certain number of major illnesses, like cancer, heart attack, stroke and more, which do not necessarrily lead to a legally clear case of occupational disability. For all self-employed the dread disease insurance is definetly the better choice, because here the payment start when the insured illness is diagnosed whereas with occupations disability insurance you must find a doctor who convicingly can tell the insurance that you will not be able to perform your job for at least 6 month and more. This process of recognition can last several weeks or month and as a self-employed you could be bankcrupt by then already.

But still, everyone who thinks clearly about the value of his ability to earn income should have a combination of either occupational disability and accident insurance or dread disease and accident insurance.

 

4. PROTECTION OF YOUR LOVED ONES: if you have family dependent on your income, this is where life-insurance comes in. But only a risk-life-insurance, i.e. an insurance where you pay a premium each month so that your dependants receive a lump-sum payment in case of your untimely death. Never, let me repeat that: NEVER go for a mixed insurance product where you will also get some savings in the end - which most German unfortunately do, because in virtually all cases it is a bad investment. The German "Verbraucherschutzverbände" (consumer protection agencies) clearly say: insurance is insurance and saving is saving and both shall not be mixed ----- and I fully agree.

 

5. ALL OTHER INSURANCES: Only after the insurance protection above is organized should one start to look for other insurances. Helpful and necessarry are "Hausratversicherung" (i.e. insurance for the contents of your home), "REchtschutzversicherung" (i.e. legal liability insurance, because Germans love to go to court for the darndest reasons and you can end up with a hefty bill for legal expenses if you are not protected). "REisekrankenversicherung" or travel health insurance is important for everyone on public health insurance or whose private health insurance does not cover stays abroad sufficiently. A full year travel health insurance for trips of up to 60 consecutive days to any place in the world, including US and Canada, can be signed for as little as 10-12 EUR/year per person. And of course, if you own a house, you want to have houseinsurance, if you own an expensive car you'll need a full insurance for that, if you have a dog or horse it should come with liability insurance etc... But first make sure that all other flanks as mentioned above are covered if you have the freedom to choose if and how high you take an insurance for the latter mentioned cases.

 

Hopefully this helps a couple of people to structure or rethink their insurance situation and generates some more discussion here on Toytown for the good of all participants.

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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