Written by: René Jakl
Photo by: Věroslav Sixt
According to the Civil Code, it matters not whether we flood our neighbors’ apartment by leaving the tap running or whether someone’s poodle gets bitten for irritating our Doberman. We are responsible for our pets and children just as we are responsible for ourselves.
The risks of similar damages can be carried by an insurer. According to Ludvík Bohman, the director of Česká pojišťovna’s legal department, there are many types of damage liability insurance policies. “In principle, we make distinctions between three types of insurance: legal, compulsory contractual, and voluntary contractual,” Bohman says. The first type relates solely to employer’s policies covering liability for damage suffered by employees in occupational accidents or due to occupational illnesses. The second type covers areas such as liability insurance for damages caused by the operation of a motor vehicle – i.e., compulsory insurance.
According to Bohman, the third type, voluntary contractual insurance, is the most significant in the event of insuring against liability for damages in daily life. “‘In daily life’ means during the running of a household, during sports, or concerning domestic animals. In each case unintentional damage is involved,” explains Bohman. In most cases such insurance is arranged along with household insurance, and it accounts for only a small portion of the premium – on the order of a hundred crowns a year. Conversely, health insurance coverage ranges around CZK 2 million, and property insurance around CZK 1 million, while financial damage coverage amounts to about CZK 500,000. The advantage is that this insurance covering damages applies for all household members, including children. How does one decide the degree to which a child’s behavior is intentional? “With minors, it depends on an individual judgment as to their intelligence and intentions. When a ten-year-old boy breaks a window with a stone, the insurance probably doesn’t cover it,” Bohman says.
Civil responsibility insurance also comes into play when we go on vacation abroad and arrange travel insurance. You should find out what the conditions and limits of your debit card are, as it often covers liability for damages caused abroad.
This article was prepared in cooperation with Česká pojišťovna’s legal department.