Liability child? Children who are incapable of offense in liability insurance


You can hear and hear such or similar complaints again and again. Read more about this here Liability child.

From a family tariff one Personal Liability Insurance one expects children to be automatically insured. Usually they are – but different than many think.

Liability insurance always has three tasks:

  • Examination of liability claims
  • Defense against unjustified claims
  • Exemption of the policyholder from justified claims.

It is therefore not the job of liability insurance to always pay.

What is it like when children have caused damage and the damage is reported to the private liability insurance? She checks the claims. It is true that the principle applies that the polluter must pay for the damage incurred (BGB § 823). In the case of children, it also depends on whether they were able to assess the effects of their actions at all. In Germany it is assumed that children under the age of 7 are not responsible for their actions, they are considered offense incapable. In the event of damage in traffic, this limit is even less than 10 years (BGB § 828). Since in our case mentioned above the 5-year-old son is classified as incapable of tort, the liability insurer does not continue to check the child’s fault (because it cannot be his fault). However, the liability insurer checks that the parents are at fault. This could have been the case if they violated their duty to supervise (BGB § 832).

Children liable to tort in liability insurance

Now comes the strange thing, which many affected people do not understand, but is still legally correct: if the parents have done everything correctly and have fulfilled their duty of supervision, the insurer defends itself against an unjustified one claim from (if necessary also in court), therefore pays nothing for the damage. For the child incapable of torture there is no obligation to pay damages and the parents are also not liable in this case for lack of fault. The victim was just ‘unlucky’ – he should have brought the laptop to safety in front of the child in the example above.

However, it turns out that, for example, the supervising father visited his buddy and watched football in the living room with him, while his 5-year-old son, who was less passionate about football, was unattended in the buddy’s study for a while and then took the laptop off the table the situation is different: Here, too, the child is not liable for damages, but the father because he has his supervision obviously hurt, the private liability insurance must cover the damage.

Liability child: Pay attention to the co-insurance of "children who are unable to torture"

Many parents are unable to cope well with this legal situation: they feel morally obliged to pay for the damage to their children. Often it is relatives, friends or neighbors where such damage happens. Since many insurers can understand this (perhaps also so that damage is not reported differently from how it occurred), liability insurance tariffs have also been offered for some years, which, at least on property damage and up to ‘normal’ damage levels, have been raised on the grounds that children are unable to commit tort of, for example, EUR 5,000 is waived. Although legally the parents would not have to pay anything, the insurer pays at the parents’ request so that friendships or the good neighborhood relationship are not burdened. The building block Liability child or better ‘Children incapable of torture’ are already included in some private liability tariffs insured free of charge, in many other tariffs it can be included for a minimal additional contribution. Individual insurers now even offer liability insurance coverage not only for children, but also for adults who are incapable of torture, such as the disabled or the elderly, and for example up to EUR 10,000 in damages.

PS: Also the The question of how long children are insured under private liability insurance is very exciting. I’ll go into that later.


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Christina Cherry
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