After you move to Germany one of the first things you will have to deal with is insurance in Germany. Germany is pretty serious about insurance. Some types of insurance in Germany are mandatory, some are highly recommended and some insurances you don’t really need.
Most Important Insurance In Germany
In this article I will explain the most common types of insurance in Germany that you must know about. I will also mark the most important types of insurance so you know which insurances you should really consider buying. For a quick overview you can also watch the video below.
Table of contents – Insurance in Germany
- Health Insurance (Krankenversicherung)
- Private Liability Insurance (private Haftpflichtversicherung)
- Home Contents Insurance (Hausratversicherung)
- Car Insurance (KFZ-Versicherung)
- Legal Insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung)
- Life Insurance (Risikolebensversicherung)
- Home Owners Insurance (Wohngebäudeversicherung)
- Accident Insurance (Unfallversicherung)
- Bicycle Insurance (Fahrradversicherung)
Health Insurance (Krankenversicherung)
Health insurance in Germany is the most important insurance. It is mandatory by law. Everybody living in Germany needs German health insurance. There are two types of health insurance in Germany:
- Public health insurance
- Private health insurance
Depending on your status, you can choose between the two types of health insurance. Most people in Germany have public health insurance. You can learn more about German health insurance and how to choose in this blog-article. Employees are required by law to choose public health insurance if their income is below 60.750€ per year (2019).
Private Liability Insurance (private Haftpflichtversicherung)
Although private liability insurance is not mandatory in Germany, everybody will tell you to get it. It protects you from financial loss when you damage another person’s property or body. Paying for damages without private liability insurance could cost up to several thousand euros or more. And by German law you are liable for all damages you cause to third parties – unlimited! So it’s really important to get German private liability insurance. Luckily, it’s also pretty cheap. Find the Nr.1 English Guide on how to get German private liability insurance here.
Home Contents Insurance (Hausratversicherung)
After you move in your first apartment (rental apartment or you bought it), you might wonder how your belongings in the apartment can be protected. Imagine a fire happens and all your things burn to the ground. Or a burglar breaks into your apartment and steals your laptop, TV and other valuable items. Unless you have German home contents insurance, you have to pay for the loss out-of-pocket. But German home contents insurance (houshold insurance), will cover the loss and reimburse you. Like private liability insurance, it is also not super expensive and definitely worth the money. The cost of this insurance mainly depends on the size of your apartment and the area it is located in. Learn everything about German home contents insurance and which insurance company you should choose as a non-German-speaker here.
Car Insurance (KFZ-Versicherung)
If you live in Germany and have a car, you are required by law to have German car insurance. Foreign car insurance is not sufficient. In fact, you also need to have proof of German car insurance to register your car in Germany. There are three different types of car insurance in Germany you can choose from: liability car insurance, partial car insurance and comprehensive car insurance.
Liability Car Insurance:
This is the most basic type of car insurance available in Germany. The purpose of liability car insurance is to protect you from the financial costs of damages you are responsible for causing to other people or their cars.
You should know, however, that this form of car insurance does not protect you from the financial costs of any damages you cause to yourself or your car.
Partial Car Insurance:
Partial car insurance includes everything from liability car insurance, plus some additional coverage. It protects you from the financial costs of car theft and damages caused by random acts of nature. For example, with partial car insurance you would receive compensation for damages in the following situations:
- Damages caused by fire or explosion
- Broken glass (e.g. a broken windshield)
- Car theft
- Damages to your car’s wiring because of a short circuit
- Marten (weasel) bites that damage coolant hoses and spark plug wires (While this sounds baffling, Martens caused more than 300 million euros in car damages between 2010 and 2014 in Germany. These animals sneak into cars’ engine bays and can cause a lot of problems for car owners in Germany!)
- Damages caused by storms, hail, lightning or flooding
It is important to note that partial car insurance does not cover acts of vandalism.
Comprehensive Car Insurance:
As the name suggests, comprehensive car insurance offers the most coverage out of the three forms of insurance available. It includes all of the protect you would receive from liability car insurance and partial car insurance, plus more. Comprehensive car insurance coverages damages you cause to your own car when you were the one responsible for the damages. It also covers acts of vandalism.
Comprehensive insurance is usually the most expensive type of car insurance. When you need to repair damages, however, you will pay less out-of-pocket if you have comprehensive car insurance.
You can read more about German car insurance in this article, “CAR Insurance In GERMANY: What You Need To Know.”
Legal Insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung)
Another thing to consider is to get legal insurance in Germany. Legal insurance has two purposes: (1) to provide you advice and support from lawyers and (2) to reimburse you your lawyer and court costs.
Legal disputes are very costly in Germany, even if you win the dispute. In fact, lawyers on average cost between €150-500 per hour. German legal insurance does not only protect you financially from the cost of court and lawyer fees, but a good legal insurance provider also has lawyers available to give you legal advice.
Usually, legal disputes fall into three categories (private, professional & traffic). As a result, many legal insurance providers offer legal insurance policies that cover all three of these categories.
A good legal insurance plan includes coverage for your children and covers legal fees worldwide (how much is covered depends on the policy you purchase).
You can learn more about German legal insurance in this article, “LEGAL Insurance In Germany.”
Life Insurance (Risikolebensversicherung)
As the name already says, life insurance in Germany insures your life. In the case of your death, e.g. by an accident, your loved ones get a specified amount of money from the insurance company. This amount depends on the amount you paid to insure. Especially for families with kids, this insurance is really important. It helps prevent financial problems that could occur after the death of a parent.
Home Owners Insurance (Wohngebäudeversicherung)
Home owners insurance in Germany protects your house or apartment. Do not mix it up with home contents insurance. Home contents insurance covers everything IN your home. Home owners insurance protects the ACTUAL home itself. For example, if a storm takes off part of the roof of your house German home owners insurance would pay for it. In Germany almost everybody that owns a house/apartment has German home owners insurance. But you should know that if you are only renting an apartment or house you don’t need this insurance. Getting home owners insurance is always the job of the property owner.
Accident Insurance (Unfallversicherung)
Accidents happen all the time. Damages you cause to another person are covered by German liability insurance. But what about the damages that happen to you in an accident? Accident insurance in Germany provides you money in case of a permanent disability after an accident. Depending on how serious the disability is, the more money you get. It also covers costs for cosmetic surgeries after accidents.
Bicycle Insurance (Fahrradversicherung)
You should consider getting bicycle insurance if you use your bicycle as a regular means of transportation or if it is worth more than €150. Bicycle theft in Germany has become more and more prevalent. In fact, in 2014 in Berlin, 31,000 bicycles were reported stolen. Unfortunately, police only solved four percent of those crimes. Needless to say, if your bike gets stolen, you probably won’t see it again. That’s why bicycle insurance in Germany is so important. You can usually get bicycle insurance for less than €5 per month. To read more about bicycle insurance in Germany click here.
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