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Liability insurance for rented damages

This is how rental damage is defined

With the apartment everyone also rents the fixed inventory. This is the property of the landlord, which is only for the duration of the tenancy for use . If the same is damaged by the occupant, the latter must pay for the property damage. Because this is the claim of a third party, this is usually covered by private liability insurance. Anyone who uses a garage, garden shed or outdoor space as a renter should always check whether the policy contains a possible exclusion clause .

Examples of fixed rental items that are usually covered by liability insurance:

  • Doors, windows, walls
  • Floors of different kinds (floorboards, tiles)
  • Sanitary facilities such as sinks, bathtubs, shower cabins and toilets
  • Built-in wardrobes are usually taken into account by the liability policy

Big differences in the sum insured

When concluding an insurance contract, policyholders should pay particular attention to the amount of the insurance. If, for example, an apartment suffers so much damage in a fire that the costs of recovery exceed the sum insured, the policyholder must bear the uncovered costs. There are no legal requirements in Germany that limit the financial burden on the causer.

TIP: If you want to make sure that the sum insured is high enough even if you pay a total, you should choose a high sum insured. The CosmosDirekt liability insurance offers in comfort protection a sum insured of up to 25 million euros for rent damage. In basic protection, the amount of damage is 500,000 euros.

Are gradual damages covered by private liability?

Damage does not have to be immediately visible on walls and floors. Especially when water causes damage, often several weeks or even months pass before the renter discovers that something is wrong. Even if the damage occurs creeping, the amount that needs to be expended to remedy it can be substantial.

Gradual damage can lead to rent damage, but are also conceivable in other constellations. In general, the damage caused by the influence of temperature, smoke, soot, dust and water is considered to be the damage caused by deterioration . Especially in the past, insurers have not included damages of degree of personal liability in the policies of private liability insurance. You should therefore be aware of whether your policy covers these risks.

Damage scenario: The tenant drills a hole in the wall and does not notice that he has damaged a water pipe . It continuously releases water. However, this leads only after weeks to a visibly moist spot on the wall or the floor surface.

Key loss and liability insurance

You can usually insure the loss of keys against an additional amount. Especially if you use a central locking system with a master key professionally or privately, such an additional clause makes sense. Because in case of loss, the landlord or employer has the right to arrange for the change of the entire locking system. The costs can easily reach a 5-digit amount.

TIP: In the case of damage to a leased property, only the conclusion of an insurance policy is required in a household. The insurers offer adapted rates for single persons, partnerships and families with children. Some liability insurance policies also cover damage caused by children who are unable to attend (up to 7 years old).

Wear does not count as rental damage

Often damage to an apartment, without the fault of the tenant is present. Wear is omnipresent and almost always visible on planks, wallpaper or walls after several years of use. If damage such as discoloration, fine cracks or abrasion caused by normal use, a tenant is not obliged to pay for the costs. Because the cost of wear should be covered by the rent.

The drilling and installation of dowels, unless otherwise stipulated in the rental agreement, is also part of the normal use of dwellings. Only if a tenant attaches complex constructions with numerous drill holes, the wall is to be repaired. Anyone who wants to pierce flow, however, is obliged to discuss this with the landlord before.

Note: Tenants and landlords often agree in the rental agreement that the tenant on removal from the apartment renovations such as painting or wallpapering makes. Such a rental agreement is not relevant for the liability insurance.

What to do in the case of rented damages

If a damage has occurred, the tenant is obliged to report the damage to the insurer and also to inform the lessor.

  • The first step is usually to contact the insurance company and report the damage. This can be done by post, online or on the phone.
  • For a policyholder there is a loss mitigation obligation. It is therefore important to take action, if necessary, to minimize the damage. This is especially true for water damage.
  • After contacting us, the insurance company will send you a claim form. The form can be completed by hand or as an online form. Under certain circumstances, an insurer may initiate the examination by an expert. This happens especially often with higher amounts of damage.

Incidentally, the obligation to notify also applies to defects that have arisen outside the apartment – in the stairwell or in the basement. This obligation to register belongs to the custody of a tenant. Landlords have the right to claim rent compensation up to 6 months after the end of the lease. If there is a legal dispute over the claim of a landlord, the tenant profits from the passive legal protection . The insurance occurs in court and also assumes the costs incurred.

Other liability insurance, which may be important for tenants

Not all damages that may arise in a rental property are covered by the private liability. Some risks and causes of damage are only relevant to certain groups of persons and are protected by special liability insurance or clauses. First and foremost, it is important to distinguish between the liability of private households and private liability.

Rented furniture and glass

As mentioned at the beginning, the clause on rent damages in the liability insurance primarily serves to protect the building and fixed parts. If a landlord furnishes furniture or kitchen equipment, these are excluded from the protection of private liability in the vast majority of cases. The cost of a scratch on a rented cabinet , for example, would pay neither the personal liability nor the household contents insurance of the tenant. Such damages are usually charged with the deposit of the tenant. The hot water and heating system is usually excluded from the private liability.

Glass in rented apartments

Glass is not insured in private liability. For windows or conservatory fronts, home contents insurance generally contains clauses for glass breakage insurance. Whether it is worthwhile to take out glass-breakage insurance should primarily depend on whether children live in the flat or house and larger windows are installed.

Detailed information on household insurance can be found in our guide: What is a household insurance?

Pet owners liability

If a pet causes damage to a rental property, it can be regulated by animal liability. For example, if a dog scratches the plank floor or a door, the cost of repair or new purchase will be covered by the pet owner liability. However, not all livestock liability covers rent damages in the basic protection and if necessary, the clause must be additionally included in the contract.

TIP: By the way, tenants do not need a separate contract for cats, because unlike dogs, they are counted among the “tame animals” and are insured by private liability. Other examples of tame pets are small animals, fish and birds. The animal owners liability of CosmosDirekt insured in the comfort protection Mietsachschäden up to € 100,000.

Conclusion: Another striking argument for private liability

No individual should refrain from liability insurance, and tenants in particular insure numerous risks with this policy, which can lead to considerable follow-up costs. Cracked tiles, cracks in sanitary facilities and fire damage on the floor are just three examples of many. Liability insurance is even more important when children live in the household. The insurance of rent damage is always included in good personal liability insurance.

Nevertheless, a comparison and a close look are worthwhile. Because with the amount of the insured loss amounts, the offers have considerable differences, which can lead to serious financial burdens in the event of a claim. The difference between the actual costs and the maximum insured sum has to be settled by the renter. The rule of thumb for determining the coverage amount is € 2,500 per square meter.

When hiring rented furniture, please note that furniture and kitchen appliances are not covered by the policy. Things are different for carpets and fitted wardrobes – these are usually taken into account in the policies. Glass must also be included in a separate policy or a clause in the household contents insurance. Dog owners in a rented apartment should at least think about a pet owner liability insurance, as they have to bear rent damage caused by dogs themselves.