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Private Liability for families

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Family is the most important thing in the world.  With a private liability insurance, you protect yourself and your loved ones against claims for damages from third parties. Mishaps, carelessness and accidents happen quickly in everyday life. It only takes a moment of not paying attention, and it has already happened. Perhaps your child is running after a ball while playing in front of the house and forces a vehicle to take evasive action. Or your wife drops a wine glass on the carpet at a party at work. You might stumble and drop a friend's laptop. In all these cases, without private liability insurance, you are legally liable with your private assets for the damages.

In this article, you will learn how to protect yourself and your family. We answer all important questions about private liability insurance.

What is family liability insurance?

You can insure yourself as a single person with a private liability insurance at the single rate. But it is also possible to protect your entire family - i.e. several people - with just one single policy.

In short: A liability insurance at the family rate is a voluntary private liability insurance for the whole family. In everyday life, this is why it is often referred to as "family liability insurance".

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Why is a family liability insurance useful?

Mishaps, accidents and inattention happen quickly in everyday life. According to German law, the liability of private persons is unlimited. This means that if you cause damage and are not privately insured, you are liable with all your present and future assets. And that is for life! This applies to your house, your property, your bank balance and your salary. In the worst case, a simple mishap can threaten the financial future of your entire family.

Especially in the case of personal injury, you and your loved ones will quickly be faced with high claims due to:

  • Salvage costs,
  • Medical care / hospitalisation costs,
  • Pain and suffering compensation,
  • Loss of working hours and
  • Pension payments.

But it can be prevented. With family liability insurance from Coya, you're in safe hands. We'll cover the entire claim.

From only €74.39 per year you can protect yourself and your family.

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Types of damages

Damage to property occurs when you damage or destroy another person's property.

Personal injury occurs when you injure someone, damage their health or cause their death. This also includes consequential damage resulting from this.

A financial loss occurs when another person suffers a financial loss through your fault.

To make the topic more tangible, here are a few examples of damage from everyday life:

  • Your 12-year-old son gets a mosquito in his eye while riding his bike. He loses control of his bike and drives into a parked car, causing property damage
  • At an after-work party at your work colleague's house, a glass of red wine falls on the carpet (property damage)
  • Your 22-year-old daughter is on her way to college by bike. She’s late and overlooks an elderly lady, knocking over the pedestrian. The senior citizen breaks her arm in the fall and needs several weeks of rehabilitation (personal injury)
  • You have an important appointment and can't find a parking space. After all the searching, desperate to make your meeting, you're double-parked. The parked driver is then unable to attend a business appointment. This causes damage to his image and loss of assets (property damage)
  • Your partner is so engrossed in his smartphone that he misses a red light and runs in front of a moving car. The driver swerves at the last moment but hits a motorcycle. The motorcyclist is injured. As a result, the freelance architect cannot work for several months. (Damage to property and personal injury)

With just one policy, you can protect yourself and the people living in your household against the financial consequences of these and similar damage events. It’s online, uncomplicated and fast. And if you want, with immediate effect.

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Who is included in my family liability insurance?

The following are considered to be family (insured persons):

  • Your husband/wife*,
  • Your partner living with you, if they are registered with you by the authorities,
  • Your unmarried children* if at least one of the following conditions applies:

    • Your children are under 18 years old,
    • Your children are still at school or in subsequent vocational training,
    • Your children are doing volunteer work,
    • Your children are certified as needing care, even if they're not officially registered with you.

* even if they are not officially registered with you.

In addition, our family liability insurance also offers insurance protection for all people who live with you in a domestic community and are officially registered at the same address.

This can be for example:

  • Your married children,
  • Grandchildren,
  • Parents, in-laws, grandparents, siblings,
  • Your roommates.

The insurance will cover you if one of your family members causes damage to another person or property. A private liability insurance for families covers claims for damages arising from legal liability provisions under private law. These include:

Unjustified claims.

It happens that other people make unjustified claims or demands against you or a member of your family.

Maybe someone else was the cause of the damage. Or the claim made against you is unreasonably high. Sometimes there is no reasonable claim for damages. Your liability insurance will help you in these cases as well. We first check who is responsible and liable for any damage.

A private liability insurance is therefore also a passive legal protection insurance. However, this is no substitute for an active legal expenses’ insurance. You need a separate policy for this. This is useful if you want to defend yourself against administrative offences such as speeding or if you want to enforce your own claims.


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Definition of unjustified claims

As a rule, a legal claim for damages against you or an insured person exists only if the damage was caused culpably and negligently or intentionally (there is no insurance cover in the case of intent).

If the damage was not caused culpably and negligently or intentionally, no claim exists, accordingly.

Here are a few examples for this:

Anyone who plays sport with others accepts the dangers of sport within the framework of the rules of the game.

Therefore, no claim for damages can arise from a damage that occurs in a game that is played according to the rules. A simple breach of the rules is not sufficient for this either.

Here is an additional example:

You ride a bike. Another cyclist takes your right of way, causing a collision. The other cyclist claims that you are partly to blame for the accident and wants you to partially compensate him for his damage. Since you are not responsible for the accident, there is no legitimate claim. We will defend the damage for you.

Since you are not responsible for the accident, there is no legitimate claim. We will defend the damage for you.

Persons incapable of tort

In the following cases, the liability insurance in the basic version does not settle the damages incurred, with the exception where you have violated your duty of supervision. With our add-on "Top of the Topps", damages caused by persons incapable of tort are also insured.

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Who is considered to be incapable of tort?

Tort is defined as a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to legal liability. Here are a few examples of persons incapable of tort, or being legally liable for their actions:

Children under the age of seven are deemed to be unfit for tort. Children at this age cannot be held liable for damage caused by them. In road traffic, the age of the children increases to ten years (provided there is no intent).

Parents are only liable if they have violated their duty of supervision. Otherwise they do not have to compensate for the damage. Accordingly, private liability insurance defends against possible claims. Exception: Children who are incapable of tort are explicitly covered and you have a legitimate interest in the settlement of the claim.

Adults, for example developmentally or physically disabled or mentally ill people, can also be classified as unfit for tort under certain circumstances. Anyone who was unconscious at the time the damage was caused is also not liable.

  • Your sister who has a developmental disability lives with you in your household. You are her legally appointed guardian and have decided to take out liability insurance at the family rate to cover her in the event of damage. In an unnoticed moment she leaves the house, runs into the street and causes an accident. If you have neglected your duty of supervision as a caregiver, you are liable for the damage.
  • Your dementia-stricken neighbour was a plumber by trade. To make you happy, he tries to fix the dripping faucet, but floods your entire kitchen instead.
  • Your 5-year-old adopted daughter, who is one of the co-insured persons on your policy, plays in front of your house. During one of her adventures, a toy flies against the neighbour's parked car and damages the paint. Since you have a legitimate interest in settling the claim because you don't want to have a fight with your neighbour, we will take care of it. You can read more about this in the section "When are parents liable for their children?"
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Passive legal expenses insurance for unjustified claims.

The private liability insurance fends off unjustified claims for damages. Thus, you secure your family by a passive legal protection. If it is necessary to take legal action to defend an unjustified claim for damages, the private family liability insurance bears the costs for your legal counsel, experts and the court proceedings.

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What damages are covered by my liability insurance / family liability insurance?

property damage, personal injury or financial loss.

  • If a member of your family damages someone else's property, a German private liability policy will settle your claim.
  • Personal injury: If a stranger is injured or dies as a result of an accident or mishap for which you (or a member of your family) are responsible, the family liability insurance will cover all claims for damages up to the agreed coverage. This includes rescue costs, treatment costs, compensation for pain and suffering, claims for loss of working hours, pension payments and rehabilitation costs.
  • Financial loss: If a third person suffers a financial loss through your fault or the fault of a family member, the family liability insurance will pay compensation.
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Compensation

If a stranger suffers one of the above-mentioned damages through you, you are obliged to make amends. You must compensate for these damages and there is no upper limit set by law. Without a private liability insurance, you are liable with all your present and future assets.

The same can happen to another member of your family.

A family liability insurance covers you and your family with a single policy in the event of damage.

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Which damages are not covered by the family private liability insurance?

Own damage: If a co-insured family member suffers damage themselves, the family private liability insurance does not apply. If your laptop crashes, this mishap is not covered.

Deliberately caused damage: If you (or a family member) intentionally cause damage to another person or deliberately damage other people's property, the insurance does not cover claims for damages.

Mutual damage within the family: If you have a joint insurance contract, the private liability insurance of family members does not pay for damages against each other’s property. Suppose you accidentally damage your daughter's smartphone.  Then your joint family personal liability insurance will not pay for any damages. Insured persons cannot claim damages between themselves with the exception of personal injuries.

Damage caused by dogs or horses: If you keep dogs or horses privately, you need special liability insurance for pet owners. In the event of damage, for example if your dog bites the postwoman or your horse goes through traffic and causes an accident, the private liability insurance does not apply.

Damage within the scope of services of courtesy: Without a supplementary benefit to your liability insurance ("Top of the Topps"), damage that occurs during services of friendship (e.g. help with moving or renovating) is not covered.

Damage as owner, keeper or driver of a motor vehicle: This is covered by the third-party liability insurance for the vehicle.

Damage occurring in connection with your professional activity: For certain professions you need professional liability insurance. Doctors, lawyers, midwives or architects, for example, need it.

This list is not exhaustive. For more information, please refer to our Terms and Conditions for Coya Private Liability under section 3.

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In what cases are mutual claims among the insured persons insured?

Insurance cover is also provided for claims arising from damage between the insured persons in the following cases:

  • Claims raised by third parties (e.g. statutory rights of recourse of insurers or employers),
  • Direct claims arising from personal injury,
  • Direct claims, if you, your husband/wife, partner or children are claimed against by a person integrated in your household (e.g. au pair, exchange student) or persons working for you.

There is no insurance cover for all other claims arising from damage among the insured persons.

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When are parents liable for their children?

Children under the age of seven are deemed to be unfit for tort. Children are not liable for damages caused. As a parent, you can only be held liable if you have violated your duty of supervision.

If your daughter or son has caused damage, you may still feel morally obliged to pay compensation. Of course, you want to clarify the incident and maintain friendly and neighbourly relations.

If you extend your liability insurance from Coya with the appropriate add-ons, damages caused by your children who are incapable of tort are also covered. Even with children over seven years of age, the situation and the insight of the child is important. It is possible that they are also classified as unfit for tort.

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How much supervision is considered necessary?

The age of the child is decisive in determining whether the duty of supervision has been violated. The younger they are, the more parents must supervise them.

The following principles apply:

Infants up to the age of four

Parents don't have to watch toddlers all the time. They can go to the toilet by themselves. For three-year-olds, parents should be within earshot.

Children aged four to seven years

From the age of four, a child may play outside without constant parental supervision. A playground, a sports ground or the pavement on a street with very light traffic are suitable. Occasional observation every 15 to 30 minutes is considered sufficient.

Children aged seven to eight years

Children at this age are allowed to play outside without parental supervision. It is sufficient for parents to have a rough overview of their activities.

Source: Judgment of the Federal Court of Justice of 24 March 2009, ref. VI ZR 51/08

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How long are children covered?

Your unmarried children are covered by your family liability insurance, provided at least one of the following conditions applies:

  • Your children are under 18 years of age,
  • Your children are still in school or in subsequent vocational training (see here),
  • Your children are doing volunteer work,
  • Your children are certified as needing care.

If your children live with you in your household and you are registered with the authorities at the same address, insurance cover also exists if none of the above conditions are met. There is also no age limit in this case.

If your child moves out, they will need their own liability insurance if they:

  • Are married,
  • Are of legal age,
  • or are no longer in training or voluntary service.

After the end of the co-insurance of family members, we offer follow-up insurance cover for 6 months. During this time, your son or daughter can reorient themselves and take out their own policy with us, otherwise the insurance cover will be cancelled retroactively.

For how long can a child be insured during their schooling and subsequent voluntary service?

If your child is not married, insurance cover is provided until the completion of school education.

During waiting periods between the completion of school education and the start of education/studies/voluntary service, insurance cover also exists for up to 12 months.

During the bridging period, your child can also work as a temporary worker.

During the subsequent voluntary service and the subsequent further vocational training, insurance cover continues to exist (see here).

However, the insurance cover ends if your child who is of age takes up gainful employment after the training or voluntary service and is not officially registered with you.  

For how long can a child insured during the period of education or vocational training?

If your child is not married, insurance cover is provided until the completion of vocational training.

Vocational training can be in-company training, school-based training (technical schools, vocational schools or vocational colleges), training in the dual system (apprenticeship in conjunction with vocational school and inter-company courses) or a course of study.

It is possible to complete several training phases in succession. If your child decides first on a company-based training and then on a course of study, insurance cover is provided until the end of the course of study. There are many possible combinations. It is also possible to combine the bachelor's and master's degree courses with vocational training.

The insurance cover ends as soon as your child of legal age has started working between the training periods (secondary employment during vocational training is not a problem).

Upon completion of the vocational training, the co-insurance of your adult child ends, unless you have registered them with the authorities.

What happens if my child becomes unemployed after completing vocational training, studies or voluntary service?

After completion of the voluntary service or vocational training, it may not always be possible to find a suitable job immediately. Therefore, your child may be unemployed for a short time.

Although the insurance cover actually ends when your child of legal age finishes their voluntary service / vocational training, there is insurance cover for up to 12 months during the subsequent unemployment period.

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Which additional benefits does Coya offer at family rates?

Coya offers additional modules, so-called "add-ons". Depending on what suits you and your family, you can easily supplement your liability insurance with these additional benefits. This way, you will receive insurance coverage that is tailor-made for you and your family.

The add-on "Top of the Topps" extends your insurance cover by:

  • Damage caused by unpaid assistance. These include "courtesy damages" that occur during friendly services such as moving or renovation assistance.
  • Damage caused by persons who are incapable of committing a crime, such as children under the age of seven or adults who are classified as being incapable of committing a crime due to a mental, physical or psychological illness.
  • Compensation for replacement value for items that are no more than one year old up to a maximum of €5,000.
  • The loss of keys not culpably caused, for example in the event of robbery.
  • Assistance for victims of violence up to an amount of 50,000 €.
  • Exemption from contributions in case of unemployment up to 1 year.
  • The Best Benefits Guarantee: If you can show that another insurance company pays in a case that Coya does not cover so far, the benefits of the other insurance company will also apply to your contract with Coya.

Further additional modules that you can book in the family tariff of the Coya private liability insurance are the module "Drones" and the module "Rental and hire vehicles". The latter is especially suitable if you rent a car during a family vacation in another European country. (see "Mallorca coverage").

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How much should my insurance sum be?

We recommend an insurance sum of at least €5 Million. The sum insured is the maximum amount of money you will be reimbursed in case of a claim. So, the higher the sum insured, the better. If the damage caused by you is higher than your insured sum, you will have to pay the difference. The sum insured with the private liability insurance at the family rate of Coya is a maximum of €30 Million, offering you a high degree of security.

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