Liability Insurance for Refugees

Accidents happen. In Germany, there is liability insurance available to help cover resulting costs. This type of insurance will cover all damages you cause to another person’s property. It can get complicated, however, if the person who caused the damages is not insured - such is the case for most refugees in Germany. Here you’ll learn that


  • Without liability insurance, high costs can arise that neither you nor the plaintiff for damages can pay.
  • In Germany, auto liability insurance is compulsory and you will definitely require it should you operate a motor vehicle.
  • In some municipalities collective insurance policies are available that include liability insurance.

What Is Liability Insurance and What Does It Cover?


Liability insurance will cover you so you will not have to pay costs associated with damages caused to another person’s property. There are two main kinds of liability insurance: personal liability insurance and auto liability insurance. Personal liability insurance covers costs arising from accidents that occur in daily life, such as accidently dropping your friend’s smartphone and it breaks. In this case, the costs would be covered by a personal liability insurance policy. This kind of policy covers the following costs:


  • Personal injury: in the case of bodily and psychological harm to others
  • Property damage: in the case of the defect or loss of value of property
  • Financial losses: to cover income losses


Auto liability insurance covers damages caused to motor vehicles. In Germany, auto liability insurance is compulsory. This kind of insurance is mandatory for people who own and drive a motor vehicle. Auto liability insurance covers:


  • Repair costs, replacement costs, towing costs, etc.
  • Property damage to buildings, street signs, etc.
  • Compensation for personal suffering, treatment costs, loss of wages for the plaintiff of damages


Note: Liability insurance only covers damages caused to the property of others. Damages caused by yourself to your own property will not be covered.

Who Pays for the Damages When You Don’t Have Liability Insurance?


After their arrival in Germany, many asylum seekers have other problems they have to deal with other than taking out insurance policies. In addition, the German insurance system is often very complicated for refugees. Language barriers and limited funds make the situation more difficult. If, however, an accident does happen and you’re not covered by liability insurance, this could have severe consequences. You might end up incurring costs that you’re unable to pay yourself. Thus, you should definitely have liability insurance. If you’re unable to afford it, there are other alternatives.

Municipal Liability Insurance for Refugees


There are so-called kommunale Versicherungen (municipal insurance policies) that offer a special liability insurance policy for refugees, which is paid for by the municipality. The municipality can then cover all refugees that live in the municipality with liability insurance for a fixed rate.

If such a collective insurance policy is available varies from municipality to municipality. It’s best to check with your own local authorities and to look out for local news covering this topic. If there is a municipal liability insurance policy, your family can also be covered by the policy. The annual premium is about €30 - 40 per family. Are you unable to get coverage from a collective insurance policy and you don’t have money to take out your own policy? Here, normally, your local municipality will still be able to help you.

Important: As soon as you receive residence permit status, you lose the right to be covered under a collective insurance policy. You’ll then definitely require your own liability insurance policy.

What to Do in the Case of an Accident


Whether dealing with personal liability insurance or auto liability insurance: if an accident occurs, you must inform the insurer about it immediately. In order to ensure that the insurance company can easily assess the case, you should keep the following in mind:


  • Document damages: take pictures of damages and the scene of the accident.
  • Exchange contact info: it is essential to exchange addresses with the other party. This is the only way the insurance company can know who should receive compensation.
  • Don’t pay for anything: the insurance company will review the case and decide who is responsible for the damages. You should definitely not pay for the damages yourself.
  • Get in contact with the insurance company: within one week you must report the damages - either in writing, by phone, or online.
  • Report damages: you will receive a form where you must enter detailed information about damages incurred.
  • Wait: now the insurance company will handle the rest and assess the case.

Do you have questions or you don’t understand something?

You can receive assistance and support from your municipality or local social services department.



Liability insurance is one of the most important kinds of insurance in Germany. It’s best to ask ahead of time if there is a collective insurance policy available in your municipality. If not, you can take out your own liability insurance policy. If this turns out to be too expensive, your municipality or local social services department can help you.