Property damage in private liability insurance

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Most of the damage that happens in everyday life is property damage - maybe you knock your friend’s digital camera off the table. Or you overload a multi-socket in your rented apartment with too many devices. Or you sit on your friend’s reading glasses... Accidents can happen to anyone. A brief moment of carelessness can have far-reaching consequences.

You are legally obligated to make amends. For smaller things, like a broken cup, it’s probably no problem for you. The situation is different with glasses with special lenses. This can easily add up to a few hundred euros. An apartment fire could ruin you and your family financially.

In the event of damage, a Haftpflichtversicherung (German for private liability insurance) policy protects you and your private assets; it regulates the damage for you.

We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers on the subject of "property damage" for you here.

What is property damage?

Property damage occurs when you damage or destroy another person's property. This also includes damage to rented property. Damage that occurs suddenly - due to carelessness or an accident - is insured. This is the case, for example, if a hot pan falls onto the kitchen floor and damages it. Continuous damage caused by wear and tear is not covered by your liability insurance.

Does my liability insurance cover property damage?

Yes, personal liability insurance covers the settlement of claims for property damage that you cause to other people. If you choose Coya's "Top of the Topps" topping, it also covers courtesy damage that may occur while you’re helping out friends or neighbours.

With Coya, you can insure yourself at the single rate. Or you can protect your partner and your children with family private liability insurance.

What is courtesy damage?

Courtesy damage is when you provide a free service or offer assistance in your neighbourhood and damage your friend’s or neighbour’s property. This is the case, for example, if you help with a move and drop a valuable vase or damage a staircase with a piece of furniture.

What are the coverage amounts for property damage?

Coya covers up to 30 million euros. This means that you are comprehensively covered in the event of damage.

What is the recommended coverage for property damage?

We recommend a coverage of at least 30 million euros. There are property damages that cause very high costs, for example, if your child accidentally starts a house fire or if you cause a traffic accident with several injured parties. That is why a high amount of coverage is advantageous.

What kind of damage counts as property damage? 

Damage to property happens quickly due to inattentiveness in everyday life:

  • At a party, you knock over the red wine bottle and ruin your host’s carpet.
  • You are on holiday in a 5-star hotel in Spain. In the bathroom, a cosmetic jar slips out of your hand, falls into the sink and leaves a crack in the ceramic.
  • When visiting friends, you accidentally knock over a valuable vase with your backpack.
  • While moving into your new apartment, you bump into the terrace door with a bulky cupboard.

What costs does my liability insurance cover in the event of property damage?

In the event of damage to property, your private liability insurance will cover the current value of the damaged item, not the replacement value.

What is the current value?

“Current value" means the value of the item today. This is based on the assumption of a loss in value compared to the value when you first bought the item. The injured party has already used the object for some time. The use leads to a decrease in value. For example, a three-year-old smart phone is no longer worth as much as a new device.

What costs are not covered by my liability insurance in the event of damage to property?

In Germany, your liability insurance does not cover the replacement value of an item if it’s damaged or destroyed, only the current value.

If you accidentally smash your television set yourself when you move house because you hit it with a chair, your liability insurance does not cover the property damage caused. This means that if you cause property damage to yourself or another co-insured person, your private liability insurance will not cover the damage.

What benefits are included in the event of property damage?

Your liability insurance will cover three areas for you or the persons co-insured on your contract:

  1. It examines the claim and determines whether you are actually liable for the damage incurred.
  2. If the damage to property is your fault, your liability insurance will settle the claim.
  3. If the claims for damages against you are not justified, your liability insurance will protect you from unjustified claims.

What is material consequential damage?

Consequential damage to property arises as a result of material damage. Suppose you meet a good friend who works as a freelance graphic designer in a cafe. During a lively discussion, you accidentally spill your cup of coffee over his keyboard. First, you have property damage. The loss of data and the loss of work are consequential damage to property. 

Does my liability insurance also apply to property damage abroad?

Of course! For example, if you have a German private liability policy and you are on holiday or on a semester abroad in an EU country, you are insured in the same way as in your home country, as long as your place of residence is in Germany. Outside the EU, your insurance cover is valid for a maximum of five years.

Does my liability also pay in case of self-inflicted property damage?

If you cause property damage to yourself or a co-insured person, your private liability insurance does not cover the damage. It only applies if you cause damage to other people's property.

Does my liability pay for property damage caused intentionally?

No, in the case of wilful damage, your private liability insurance does not protect you by covering the claims for damages. For intentional damage caused by damage or destruction of other people's property, you have to pay for it yourself.

What other forms of damage are covered by my liability insurance besides property damage?

In addition to property damage, your private liability insurance also covers personal injury and financial losses. Personal injuries occur when you injure another person, damage their health or cause their death. A financial loss is when a third party suffers a loss of assets because of you.

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