Getting insurance in Germany (2024)

Which insurance in Germany is necessary?

Health insurance

Health insurance (krankenversicherung) is compulsory in Germany if you live or work there. There is a dual system of public and private health insurance. You will be automatically covered by state health insurance (gesetzliche krankenversicherung – GKV) if youwork in Germanyand earn between €4,950 and €59,400 a year before tax, unless you are self-employed.

GKV also usually includes nursing care insurance (pflegepflichtversicherung). Employers cover half of the health insurance costs (excluding the supplementary charge) with a maximum contribution of€323.03 a month for health care and€56.42 a month for nursing care.

Getting insurance in Germany (1)

Private health insurance (privatekrankenversicherung – PKV) is also there for those not entitled to GKV and those who would prefer to take out a private plan.

Some of the largest German health insurance companies include:

You can compare private health insurance providers in Germany and get free quotes on our special health insurance page. Read our guide tohealth insurance in Germany for more information.

Work-related insurance

If you work in Germany, you automatically pay towards a few additional forms of insurance besides health insurance through social security contributions (sozialversicherungsbeiträge). These consist of:

  • Unemployment insurance (arbeitslosenversicherung) – payments split between employer and employee. This entitles you to unemployment benefits if you are out of work and meet certain criteria.
  • Statutory pension insurance (rentenversicherung) – German state pension. See the guide to pensions in Germany for more information.
  • Statutory accident insurance (gesetzliche unfallversicherung) – this is completely paid by the employer and covers treatment costs after work-related accidents or illnesses.

For more detailed information on these forms of insurance in Germany, see our guide to German social security.

Vehicle insurance

Car insurance (Kfz versicherung or autoversicherung) is mandatory for all drivers in Germany. You’ll need to show proof of up-to-date car insurance to register a car in Germany. As a matter of fact, this is necessary to get a valid license plate. Car insurance in Germany falls under one of three types:

  • Third-party liability (haftpflicht) – the minimum legal requirement, covering all damage to third parties and other vehicles in the event of an accident. It doesn’t cover damage to your own vehicle if the accident was your fault.
  • Partial coverage (teilkasko) – this covers third party liability plus damages to your vehicle caused by things such as theft attempts, fire damage and storm damage.
  • Comprehensive coverage (vollkasko) – this covers everything above plus damage to your own vehicle, even in cases where the accident was your fault.
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Insurance costs increase in line with the amount of coverage you opt for. They depend on several factors including age, driving experience, driving record, and value of your vehicle. Germany, similar to many other countries, operates a no-claims bonus system meaning that insurance costs reduce the longer you go without having an accident. Car insurance providers in Germany include AXA and DA Direkt.

If you travel abroad and rent a car, it’s also a good idea to get additional insurance – companies offering this include Allianz Travel.

To ensure you get the best deal on car insurance, it’s a good idea to use a comparison website, such as Verivox. Here, you’ll be able to compare premiums from the biggest insurers in Germany. This will give you a better idea of what to expect. For more information on this and more, read our guide to car insurance in Germany.

Optional insurance in Germany

Personal liability insurance

Anyone living in Germany should consider taking out personal liability insurance (private haftpflichtversicherung). This covers injury or damage to other persons or their property. You can get single person coverage or choose to cover additional members of your family. This insurance does not cover damages caused by your car, however; you need to take out a separate vehicle insurance for this.

In German law, there is no limit to the amount someone can claim against you. Personal liability insurance helps avoid the risk of a nasty incident causing great financial harm. There are plenty of expat-friendly personal liability insurance options, including:

Generally speaking, costs are not too expensive for this type of insurance. Indeed, you’ll be able to find good comprehensive coverage for well under€100 a year, so shop around for the best coverage for you.

Household contents insurance

Household contents insurance (hausratversicherung) is not compulsory in Germany. However, you may find that it’s a requirement in rental contacts, especially in furnished properties. This insurance covers damage to the contents of your home due to things such as fire, mains water, storms, theft, and vandalism.

Costs vary depending on the value of your contents and how much you decide to cover. Basic policies are available for less than€50 a year. In Germany, the average cost of replacing all household goods is around€650/m2; it’s advisable to insure to at least this if you have valuable goods. Try to keep a list of all insured items (and receipts if possible) along with photos of more valuable items. In big cities, bicycle theft can be a problem. If you own an expensive bicycle, check whether this can be included or whether you need to take out an additional policy.

Expat-friendly insurance companies that also provide personal property and contents insurance in Germany include:

Property insurance

If you own or are buying a home in Germany, building insurance (wohngebaudeversicherung) is advisable to protect the property against damage from occurrences such as fire, water, storms, or vandalism. On the other hand, if you are renting property, this insurance should be taken out by the landlord.

Getting insurance in Germany (3)

Property insurance normally covers the building walls, floors, roof, basem*nt, and windows (check this as windows are not always covered). You can also include garages, sheds, built-in kitchens, or mailboxes for an additional cost.

Taking out building insurance involves providing the insurer with a lot of information on things such as building measurements, the date your home was built, and what building materials were used. Therefore it’s advisable to arrange an appointment with your insurance provider so that they can gather the correct information.

Personal accident insurance

Compulsory accident insurance is paid by the state to workers in Germany. However, the coverage is limited to accidents that occur at (or on the way to/from) work. To insure against injuries that occur out of work, many people take out private accident insurance (unfallversicherung).

This ensures that, in the event of a personal accident that limits your abilities long-term, all costs caused by the accident are covered. These costs can include, for example, care costs or alterations to your home or vehicle. It doesn’t include loss of earnings, which falls under the Occupational Disability Insurance.

When working out how much coverage to have with personal accident insurance, there are different insurance models that pay out different amounts depending on the extent of your disability in the event of an accident.

Different body parts have different values when calculating any pay-out, from loss of a finger (10%) to loss of sight in both eyes (100%). Your insurer will be able to explain the different options in full. Insurance payments are made either as a lump sum, in monthly installments or a combination of both depending on your tariff.

Occupational disability insurance

Occupational disability insurance (berufsunfähigkeit) covers income loss if you are no longer able to earn a living due to accident or injury. If you have been living in Germany for a while and paying into a pension, you will be able to claim a statutory reduced earnings capacity pension (erwerbsminderungsrente) but this only covers a small part of your income loss.

Private occupational disability insurance offers more comprehensive coverage, although the costs are high due to large numbers of people becoming unable to work. Premiums are based on age and risks associated with employment (e.g., roofers and aircraft pilots pay higher rates). Insurers also consider high-risk hobbies.

For an affordable disability insurance policy, check out Feather.

Life insurance

Life insurance (risikolebensversicherung) covers those left behind in the event of your death. Typically, this is your immediate family but it doesn’t have to be; you can choose who you want to be the beneficiary of the policy. The money is usually paid out in a lump sum and will take care of those financially dependent on you as well as cover outstanding payments such as mortgages and bank loans.

Costs are calculated based on age, medical status, and history, the insurance term (you can choose for payments to cover set periods) and the insurance sum itself. It’s a fairly inexpensive form of insurance and will pay out on most causes of death (unless self-inflicted). It’s one that should only really be considered by those with dependents and/or a mortgage, however.

Insurance companies offering this type of coverage include Feather.

Legal insurance

Legal insurance (rechtsschutzversicherung) covers legal costs such as solicitor and court fees should you end up being taken to, or taking someone else to, court. These costs can be very high; this is an insurance to consider if you don’t want to risk facing huge legal bills somewhere down the line. There are different areas that you can insure (e.g., private, traffic, work, and home). Premiums range from €170 a year to cover one area, to around€340 a year for comprehensive coverage.

If you’re looking for legal insurance in Germany, check out policies from Feather.

Nursing care insurance

If you have state health insurance in Germany, nursing care insurance (pflegepflichtversicherung) will normally be provided along with this. However, the maximum you can currently receive is €2,005 a month. Average nursing home costs in Germany are around €3,000 a month. This means that those with only statutory coverage could need to pay nearly €12,000 a year themselves. Fortunately, private nursing care insurance covers this difference. As it’s more of a supplementary top-up insurance, the premiums are not too expensive. They could end up saving you a lot of money in your later years.

Dental insurance

Residents who qualify to access public health services can use state dentistry in Germany. Otherwise, they can top up their public coverage with supplementary insurance. However, some practitioners only accept patients with private dental insurance. This covers the cost of almost all dental procedures. German companies offering dental insurance include:

Travel Insurance

If you’re planning on taking a trip outside Germany, getting travel insurance is always a good idea. Policies can cover the costs of repatriation, healthcare abroad, problems with rental cars, and cancellations. Many German insurers offer this type of coverage, including:

Getting insurance in Germany (2024)


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