Liability insurance

  • 4.1 Typical exclusions 4.1.1 CSO


Liability insurance is an insurance contract that obligates an insurer to compensate for financial losses as a result of directed against the policyholder claims for damages. The insurer is the policyholder of substantiated claims of third parties or defend at its expense unsubstantiated claims from; this passive legal protection complements the active legal expenses insurance.

Claims for damages can be justified if the policyholder

  • Breached a contractual obligation and can not prove that this was not the fault § 280 BGB or
  • The policyholder has a duty of care culpably violates ( tort liability, see § 823 BGB) or
  • Behave increasing danger has ( strict liability )

And has thus added a third party damage. When violations of contractual obligations is important to note that many resulting damage is not covered by liability insurance.

Most liability insurance is voluntary. Mandatory liability insurance policies are only in the areas held by the legislature for particular risks. Because of the operation risk posed by a motor vehicle, such as vehicle owner must complete a motor vehicle liability insurance. Because of the danger posed by the use of firearms, hunters need a hunting liability insurance. No obligation to take out liability insurance, for example, for pet owners ( with some exceptions ).

Legal and contractual framework

The legal framework for liability insurance can be found in Germany in the § § § 100 to § 124 of the Insurance Contract Act ( VVG).

In Austria, the § § 145 to 158i regulates the Insurance Contracts Act ( Insurance Act ) the rights and obligations of policyholders and insurers.

In Switzerland, this form of insurance is partly regulated also in the Insurance Contract Act ( VVG).

The contractual framework designed Terms, namely the General Conditions of Insurance for Liability Insurance ( AHB), patterns and conditions of the General Association of German Insurers and template used for most conditions, and risk descriptions and specific conditions that complement the AHB to the individual types of liability insurance, and adjust. Professional liability insurance and property damage liability insurance have partly differing terms and conditions, as well as the uniform prescribed AKB for motor vehicle liability insurance.

Types of liability insurance

Liability insurance can be classified according to different criteria, such as whether or not they protect private or business risks, or on whether it is a voluntary liability insurance or compulsory liability insurance.

Typical liability insurance for private risks

  • Personal liability insurance ( PHV ) to cover the liability risks as a private person from the situations of daily life, particularly under § 823 BGB;
  • Automobile liability insurance covering liability for damage caused by use of the motor vehicle damage, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, such as, embodied in most countries other than liability insurance, without whose financial statements motor vehicles are not approved for road traffic ( legal basis in Germany: insurance Act)
  • Keepers liability insurance ( THV ) to hedge the specific liability risks as keeper of animals, in particular in accordance with § 833 BGB;
  • House and property owners liability insurance ( HUG), insurance against liability claims, arising out of or in the range of houses and land
  • Water damage liability insurance to hedge against the effects of water pollution by oil tanks and other equipment with wassergefärdenden substances
  • Water sports liability insurance insurance against water damage due to sports, especially the ship's liability insurance, analogous to motor vehicle liability insurance usually an insurance
  • Hunting liability insurance to protect against diseases caused by the practice of hunting liability losses
  • Builders liability insurance insurance liability claims in connection with construction projects

Typical operating and professional indemnity insurance

  • Professional liability insurance or office liability insurance to protect occupationally caused damages to third parties, such as as an employee or official of the Office of liability insurance or the service liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance
  • As a freelance doctor: medical liability
  • As an independent architect or civil engineer,
  • As a member of the legal and accounting professions, ie lawyers, notaries, tax consultants, auditors: property damage liability
  • As guardian or caregiver,
  • Commercial and industrial liability in Germany after the liability law, including product liability
  • Environmental liability

Typical compulsory liability insurance

  • Motor vehicle liability insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance for Lawyers (cf. § 51 Federal Code of Lawyers )


Exclusions specify the cases in which no insurance coverage. They are found in the CSO, but also for example in the AHB additional special conditions and risk (BBR ) of the respective insurance contract. Their function is to limit the insurance coverage, for example, because the insurer would generally do not provide insurance coverage for a certain behavior (for example, the policyholder has caused the damage with intent ), or because he could offer insurance coverage for the excluded risk only under special liability insurance want.

Typical exclusions


  • Deliberately caused damage ( for gross negligence is "the insurer shall be entitled to reduce its payment to the severity of the policyholder's fault ratio. "; compare § 81 and § 103 VVG)
  • Claims between family members as far as they live in the same household or legal representatives of the insured
  • Claims between individuals, the insurance coverage from the same insurance contract have (hereinafter are caused by an insured damage in a co-insured not insured, such as property and financial damages to the car owner as a passenger for loss caused by another driver of the car accident)
  • Damages to other things that the policyholder actually possesses due about of rent, loan, lease, rent, unlawful interference or which he kept under contractual agreement ( here be noted that rental properties be exceptional rented property are at most vendors at least to contractually specified limits insured within the insurance sum, sometimes even to the complete sum insured. exception again is often damage to the architectural glazing and electrical installation that should be insured separately.)
  • Damages to other things that worked the policyholder
  • Environmental, radiation and asbestos claims
  • In property damage liability insurance also damage from commercial and speculative activities.

Examples which may be on the patterns and conditions of the Association of Insurers (GDV ) referred to, which can be accessed from the homepage of the GDV, there Paragraph 7 CSO.

Meanwhile, extensive contracts are offered by many insurance companies, however, the hedge against higher premiums some of the damage would otherwise be excluded. There are also at similar premiums partly quite significant differences between the scope of services from different providers. For example, some providers now also offer specialized insurance rates and conditions for otherwise excluded industry-specific occupational hazards.

Duration of the insurance contract

The liability insurance is taken regularly for one or more years and is automatically renewed if it is not timely terminated before the contract expires. For most companies, the notice period is 3 months before the expiration date. In general, the duration of the contract may not exceed three years since the VVG 2008. Irrespective of the agreed term of the contract from both sides can be canceled after a rejected or regulated claim. Likewise, the policyholder is entitled to a right of extraordinary termination at a premium increase. Here, the period is one month from the receipt of the rejection damage, damage full regulation or increase premiums.

Cost-benefit analysis

The private liability insurance protects the policyholder against the damages he caused culpably as part of his private life. If there is no insurance coverage, the responsible party for any damages of his liability with all his present and future assets must occur without an upper limit.

The public liability insurance often provides for a deductible in order to keep the insurance premium in economically reasonable bounds and the policyholder to participate in the economic risk.

Although the policy includes liability insurance initially only in their own interests from to hedge in case of claims. However, the liability insurance in addition to social purpose, the often innocent victim has to ensure adequate compensation to its legitimate claims. Therefore, the compensation claim is not economically in the policyholder's property, so he can take over any available. The victim may, therefore, also in case of insolvency of the policyholder require a separate satisfaction.

In the automobile liability a direct claim of the injured party against the insurer notwithstanding the preceding paragraph is justified. Only 67 % of Germans have a private liability insurance. Who is damaged by an uninsured person ( eg, by a destitute dog owners ) often gets nothing. To offset this risk, insurers offer - at under special conditions, a quasi- insurance against lack of liability insurance - for an extra fee. In such a case, the insurer grant their customers on the basis of a judicially decreed enforceable title, the acquisition cost of damage → (damage - loss coverage) and provide its insured with it as if even the tortfeasor were insured.

In particular, in particularly danger-prone activities for social reasons to hedge the victim is a legal or professional legal requirement to have liability insurance - notwithstanding the principle of freedom of contract - provided:

  • High-risk area: motor vehicle liability insurance, nuclear liability insurance for the use of radioactive materials
  • Hunting liability insurance
  • Law and Economics Consulting: lawyers, tax advisors, accountants and notaries
  • Physicians and members of some other health practitioners
  • Other professionals: security companies, showman, brokers and insurance intermediaries

In cases of compulsory insurance, the insurer is also regularly then obliged to pay to the victim, if there is to policyholders as bonuses for delay, cancellation or breach of obligations performance freedom. However, this does not relieve the proposer, he must leave the insurer will refund the service provided afterwards.