Which insurance covers damage caused by your own child?

Because with kids, an accident lurks in a small corner

Do you have a little monster walking around at home? Or maybe more than 1? Then there is a good chance that they sometimes break something (at home or outside the door). A teacup here and there isn’t such a disaster, but what do you do when they do a good amount of damage? The short answer is: to take out liability insurance. But when exactly does this att insurance offer coverage, and what are the exceptions? Read on to find out.

When are you insured?

If you want to be insured for damage caused by your own children, you must take out liability insurance for private individuals (AVP). Liability insurance covers damage caused by accidents to others. This applies to both material damage and personal injury. So if your son misses the goal while playing football and accidentally “scores” through the neighbor’s window, you are covered. And if your daughter is startled by something while cycling and accidentally drops her friend from her bicycle, causing her to break her arm, you can also turn to your AVP for compensation.

In contrast to third-party liability insurance that insures your car, you are not obliged to take out liability insurance for private individuals in the Netherlands. Yet more than 95% of the Dutch have this insurance because it can help you out if an accident happens (and because the AVP usually only costs a few tens a year).

The exceptions

Damage indoors

The following rule applies to almost all insurers in the Netherlands: damage caused by a family member to someone from the same family is not reimbursed by your liability insurer. Did your daughter knock over the antique vase you inherited from your great-grandmother? Not covered. Or did your little toddler throw your phone off the table? This is unfortunately not covered either.

The AVP, therefore, only offers cover when it comes to damage to property or people who are not insured on the same policy. 

You can take out household contents insurance to ensure your belongings in the house are against accidents. If your child throws your espresso over the couch (which you really could use now!) or throws a toy on your glass side table that then breaks into a million pieces, the home contents insurance is ready for you.

Common sense

Your insurer assumes that adults and parents pay close attention to ensure that their children do not break things. You can’t expect a baby to understand that things can break, and that’s why you should keep an eye out for yourself. 

For example, is your babysitting on your girlfriend’s lap, and do you let the baby play with her expensive Gucci sunglasses? Then the insurer will not reimburse if the baby pulls the arms of the glasses. This situation could have easily been avoided.

Too low coverage

This is not really an exception, but still good to think about. With most insurers, you can choose how high the insured amount is. This is often €1.25 or €2.5 million. So if something happens, for example, someone breaks his leg, and you are liable, the medical costs will be reimbursed up to the amount of cover you have chosen. If you have chosen a cover of €1.25 million and the damage is greater than that amount, the rest will have to come out of your own pocket (luckily, this almost never happens!).

Until what age is your child covered by your liability insurance? 

Young children cannot be held liable for the damage they cause because they are not (yet) aware of the consequences of their actions. Therefore, parents are liable for their children through their liability insurance. But if children over the age of 14 intentionally cause damage, there is usually no cover. 

And did you know that with many liability insurance policies, ‘children’ are still co-insured under their parents’ policy until they are 27? This applies to children who still live at home or elsewhere during their studies. The moment young people leave home (and are not students!) or get married; they have to take out their own liability insurance.  

To enumerate

The short answer to the question of whether the damage caused by your children is covered by your liability insurance is: yes. But there are a few exceptions. For example, when we are talking about damage to property or family members who are insured on the same policy, if the damage could have been easily prevented or if the damage was caused intentionally by a child older than 14 years.

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