Compulsory insurance

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A liability insurance is an insurance whose financial statements are required by law. In many countries this is the case, for example, with motor vehicle liability insurance , professional liability insurance and, above all, with social insurance .


A distinction is made between - as a rule state - insurance systems with statutory compulsory membership , especially with regard to compulsory social insurance, and the obligation to take out private insurance. In Germany, this is primarily chosen for insurance policies that serve to protect third parties , as is the case with motor vehicle liability insurance, professional liability insurance and hunting liability insurance . In the case of statutory insurance against occupational accidents , however, this protection is provided by the legally binding responsibility of a commercial trade association . In all cases, policyholders and insurers are required by law to contract .

Compulsory insurance and freedom of contract

A legal liability insurance is contrary to the principle of freedom of contract , which in Germany due to Art. 2 para. 1 GG a fundamental right is. The restriction of freedom of contract through compulsory insurance therefore requires special justification. Reasons are, for example, the protection of third parties (in the case of liability insurance), health protection or consumer protection . On the liberal side, compulsory insurance is sometimes criticized as paternalism .

In many cases, compulsory insurance is associated with an obligation for insurance companies to contract. Historically, compulsory insurance was often associated with insurance monopolies.


Historically, fire insurance was the first to be compulsory. In the 17th / 18th In the 19th century, legal regulations emerged in many areas that made fire insurance mandatory. The Bismarckian social legislation led from 1883 first-party insurance in the social security a (accident insurance, health insurance, pension insurance). The first liability insurance was standardized in 1923 with the Aviation Act .


social insurance

Liability insurance

A liability insurance is required by law in a number of cases:

Insolvency insurance

In German travel law , since 1994, there has been a special feature that providers of package tours have to provide evidence of compulsory insurance against the consequences of bankruptcy with the travel insurance certificate . According to this, the tour operator may only request or accept payments from the traveler on the travel price before the end of the package tour in accordance with § 651t BGB , in particular if there is an effective customer money protection contract or, in the cases of § 651s BGB, the tour operator provides security according to § 651s BGB.

Fire insurance

In the past, fire insurance was also compulsory. This obligation has been lifted in Germany.

economic aspects

In principle, compulsory insurance must be viewed critically from an economic point of view, since under the conditions of an ideal market they reduce efficiency. The policyholder is forced to take out insurance, although his benefit would be higher from another use of the money raised for it ( opportunity costs ). However, since the conditions of an ideal market do not exist in reality, there are a number of economic arguments in favor of compulsory insurance.

From an economic point of view, compulsory insurance can be established if the insurance in question represents a merit . According to this argumentation, the insured would systematically underestimate the need for retirement provision and would therefore receive a pension that was too low without compulsory pension insurance. Furthermore, compulsory insurance can both prevent and create moral hazard and adverse selection . This applies on the one hand to social insurance for low incomes, but also to liability insurance. In the event of damage, the costs would not be borne by the insured (because they cannot), but by the social welfare office or the injured party.

It should also be taken into account that compulsory insurance does not take into account the risk attitude of a risk taker. It doesn't matter whether he is risk-averse , risk-averse or risk-neutral , he has to take out insurance.


Compulsory insurance is the legal obligation to conclude an insurance contract under private law (such as motor vehicle liability insurance ), while compulsory insurance is the legal obligation to conclude an insurance relationship under public law (such as unemployment insurance ).


  • Hamburg Society for the Promotion of Insurance: Compulsory Insurance - Blessing or Fall of Man: Documentation on a symposium on 28-30. October 2004 in Marbach Castle, Öhningen; Volume 30 of publications of the Hamburg Society for the Promotion of Insurance Ltd , Hamburg, 2005, ISBN 3899522303 , online

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Cf. on this the 40-volume collection of sources on the history of German social policy 1867 to 1914 by Wolfgang Ayaß , Florian Tennstedt u. a.
  2. Katharina Hedderich, compulsory insurance , 2011, p. 2 f.