Car insurance: What is civil liability insurance?

Verified 22 January 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Civil liability is the obligation to compensate for damage caused to others. When it comes to car insurance, it's about repairing the damage caused by your car: property damage, injuries, illness, death. Repairing the damage can require significant sums of money. You can protect yourself by taking out civil liability insurance. The insurance will then cover the repair of the damage caused by your car. But there are exceptions.

The civil liability guarantee of your car insurance covers damage caused to third parties by you or by persons living with you (children, cohabiting partner, spouse...).

The warranty also covers damage caused to third parties by your car without the intervention of a person. For example, when the hand brake is not lifted and the car moves on its own.

Some damages are not covered by the insurance's civil liability guarantee. These are mainly the following damage:

  • It's a shame you're causing yourself or your loved ones
  • Damage you intentionally cause
  • Damage related to your professional activities carried out at home (special insurance)

If you find yourself in one of these situations, you will need to personally to make good the damage.

However, some of these exclusions may be the subject of a specific contract. So, for example, with a driver guarantee, you also guarantee the damage that you can personally cause yourself if you are responsible for the accident.


in the event of an accident, your relatives who are passengers in the vehicle will still be compensated by the insurance company for the damage suffered.

This warranty is included in the compulsory guarantees which every owner of a vehicle must subscribe to. These guarantees are provided in the commonly referred to minimum cover contract to one third.

You can take out a specific insurance, called civil liability private life, if you wish to be guaranteed outside the use of your vehicle.

Where to subscribe?

You can take out an insurance contract with an insurer. They can also offer you insurance civil liability private life.

Points to check in the contract

Contracts may differ in terms of collateral.

Before signing the contract, certain points must be checked, in particular:

  • Persons in the household who are guaranteed
  • Presence of deductibles
  • Limits of the guarantees provided for (exclusions, ceilings, etc.)

You can also ask your insurance for warranty extensions.