What Is a Hold Harmless Agreement?

Hold harmless agreements seek to limit legal liability among two or more parties. These agreements may be limited to a particular matter or may cover a broad scope of issues.

The Agreement

A hold harmless agreement is a legal, written agreement between two parties in which one of the parties agrees to assume all legal liability and responsibility for an action, activity or event and relieve the other party of any liability with respect to that action, activity or event.

When Required

Hold harmless agreements arise in situations where a party seeks to use another entity's property. For instance, if a person wants to use a city-owned park to film a movie, he will, most likely, be required to execute a hold harmless wherein he accepts any and all liability for any legal matters that arise in the course of filming.


Many hold harmless agreements contain language that indicates that one will agree to indemnify and hold the party, the party's agents, and/or employees from and against any and all claims, suits, cases, damages, losses, expenses arising out of or in the course of the agreement.

Drafting the Agreement

While it is always a good idea to utilize an attorney, it may be possible to draft your own hold harmless agreement. There are sample forms both online and at legal stationary stores. Be certain to check the legal requirements of your jurisdiction as failure to do so may result in making the agreement null and void.


When signing a hold harmless agreement, it is frequently necessary to check how such an agreement affects other obligations. For instance, if you have an insurance policy applicable to the matter which is covered by the hold harmless agreement, the execution of a hold harmless may automatically cancel the insurance policy.

Importance of an Attorney

Hold harmless agreements may have serious implications to both parties involved in the document. Consequently, it is important to consult with an attorney before entering into a hold harmless agreement.

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