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Coming from Germany, I’m used to have a Personal Liability Insurance (Privathaftpflicht). It is not mandatory, but very recommended to have and not expensive (30-50€ per year).

What is the situation in the US: Are such insurances common place in the US? What is the right term to look for? And what else might be surprising for a German?

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    Is this for driving a car? Or, what kind of liability? That is, what kind of liability does it cover? I think the closest might be home owner's or renter's insurance.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 19 '16 at 19:12
  • Most homeowners' and renters' insurance policies include similar coverage, I believe. I'm not sure whether you can buy such coverage separately, but I'm also not sure why you would want to.
    – phoog
    Jun 19 '16 at 19:13
  • This is for general liability. I sneeze out of the window and scare someone who then drops a piano onto the side walk; not related to driving a car. Jun 19 '16 at 21:53
  • Some more googling reveals that I might be looking for a “Personal Liability Insurance” Jun 19 '16 at 22:00
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    This might be related to having "umbrella" insurance. If you're resident in the US, look at getting renter's insurance with a personal liability rider or extension. Otherwise, Americans usually only bother with this type of insurance if they are wealthy/own a business/etc. That is, have assets for which they could be sued.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 21 '16 at 0:57
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In America such coverage is usually not sold separately, but rather it's part of either homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance. (The difference is that renter's insurance doesn't cover the property itself.)

Umbrella insurance mentioned in the comments also provides liability protection (wider coverage than what you appear to be describing) but it's not something you would ever buy by itself and they would be negligent if they sold it to you by itself. The thing is umbrella insurance is meant to go on top of your homeowner's and vehicle insurance. I carry an umbrella policy--and it has a $300k deductible on it. (This matches the $300k limits on my homeowner's and vehicle insurance.)

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The best in my opinion is to get this kind of insurance while still in Germany and keep it in when you are in the US - just check that the insurance you purchase is valid worldwide without temporal limitation, even if you move abroad.

I checked before moving to the states, and there is nothing comparable to a Haftpflichtversicherung in the German sense (the US insurances are more expensive, don't cover some risks and/or cover other thinks that I don't consider to be worthy to insure). I chose the Interrisk XXL Haftplicht (see below), but there are probably other providers that also offer worldwide coverage.

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Update:

I am not a lawyer, but I based my choice on how they define their coverage in foreign countries ("Bedingungen zur Privathaftpflichtversicherung XXL / Verbindliche Erläuterungen zu den B68 / Zu § 1 Versichertes Risiko"):

"Versichert sind sämtliche Risiken des täglichen Lebens als Privatperson, also beispielsweise [...] während Auslandsaufenthalten ohne zeitliche Begrenzung"

Maybe my interpretation of this definition is wrong, so you should consult with the insurance company, or with a lawyer.

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  • Thanks. Unfortunately, my current Haftpflicht is not valid once I don’t have my residence (Wohnsitz) in Germany. Jun 24 '16 at 23:10
  • I checked with interrisk, and they said “Leider können wir Ihnen für die Zeit, in welcher Sie in den USA wohnen, keinen Versicherungsschutz anbieten. Wir bitten um Ihr Verständnis.”. Are you sure that you are insured? Jul 5 '16 at 8:54
  • Anyways, I’ll see if another provider (Haftpflichtkasse Darmstadt) will cover me in the way you describe. Jul 5 '16 at 11:03
  • For me the relevant part was "Bedingungen zur Privathaftpflichtversicherung XXL / Verbindliche Erläuterungen zu den B68 / Zu § 1 Versichertes Risiko", where is says: "Versichert sind sämtliche Risiken des täglichen Lebens als Privatperson, also beispielsweise [...] während Auslandsaufenthalten ohne zeitliche Begrenzung", but I am not a lawyer.
    – benroth
    Jul 7 '16 at 12:52
  • Maybe they meant they don't want to take you on as a new customer, since you already have moved away from Germany?
    – benroth
    Jul 7 '16 at 12:57

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