German people have insurance for everything. You can find different types of insurance in Germany, covering almost every risk you can imagine. In this post, we will describe some most common types of insurance in Germany and why you may need them.
Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!
A short summary for the busy people
Who needs it
|1. Health insurance||
– Public health insurance (e.g. TK)
– Private health insurance (e.g. Ottonova)
– Supplemental health insurance
– Compulsory for everyone who lives in Germany.
– If you have public health insurance, it is highly recommended to take out supplemental dental insurance as well.
– More info: Best Dental insurance Germany – Top 3 Comparison
|2. Liability insurance||This insurance covers the damage you cause to other people or properties.||A must-have insurance policy, even though it is not legally required.||
– Getsafe personal liability insurance (get 3 months for free with this link)
– More info: Liability Insurance Germany – English Guide
|3. Legal insurance||Useful if you need legal help (Disagreements with landlords, employers, neighbors, the tax office, etc.)||Not a must-have policy, but good-to-have if you live in Germany for longer.||
– Getsafe legal insurance (15 EUR discount with this link)
|4. Life insurance||This insurance pays a lump sum amount if you die due to almost any cause.||People who have kids or other dependents (e.g. spouse, parents, etc.)||
– More info: Best Life insurance Germany – Top 4 Comparison
|5. Accident insurance||This insurance covers death or injuries caused by accidents (illness is excluded).||
– Self-employed people
– People who do not work
– People with a high risk of accidents
– People who do not have disability insurance
– Not a must-have, but good-to-have, especially if you do not plan to have disability insurance
|Compare different accident insurance offers here.|
|6. Disability insurance||
– This insurance pays you an “income” in case you are not able to do your job anymore due to disability.
– It also covers disability due to illness.
|A very important insurance policy for people who are working||Compare different disability insurance offers here.|
|7. Home insurance||
– This insurance covers your household content in case they are damaged (e.g. by water, fire, storms, theft, etc.)
– You can also insure your bicycle with this insurance.
|For people who have so many valuables at home that they cannot afford to buy them again all new in case they are lost or damaged||
Getsafe home insurance (get 3 months for free with this link)
– More info: Home Contents Insurance Germany – Top 5 Comparison
|8. Building insurance||This insurance covers all the walls, roof, basement, etc. for your own property against damage caused by fire, storms, water, etc.||For homeowners||Compare different building insurance offers here.|
|9. Travel insurance||
– This insurance usually has global coverage and covers you no matter how often you travel.
– It is possible to get a credit card with travel insurance included.
– For people who need to travel
– For expats who want to travel home regularly
|10. Car insurance||
– Car liability insurance (compulsory for all drivers) covers damage you cause to third parties
– Partial car insurance (cover damages to third parties, plus damages to your own car from external factors like flooding, hail, storm, fire, theft, game animals, etc.)
– Comprehensive car insurance (cover all of the above plus damages of your own car and injury to yourself even if a car accident is caused by you. )
|For people who drive in Germany||
– Getsafe car insurance (15 EUR discount with this link), if you want to change your car insurance.
– If you have no car insurance yet, compare different insurance offers here.
|11. Pet insurance||
– Dog liability insurance: covers damages caused by your dog
– Pet health insurance: covers the veterinary bills (including expensive operations)
|For people who have pets||
– Getsafe dog liability insurance (15 EUR discount with this link)
Insurance in Germany: Are German people paranoid?
Germans are very organized people. They plan for the unexpected and like to have everything covered and feel safe. This is something I struggled to understand when I first moved to Germany.
I thought that the German people were a bit overreacting. In our Chinese culture, we don’t think about these things too much. If something happens, we will deal with it by then. We think that the chance is anyways very low if something really bad happens. So, I found it sometimes very inflexible in Germany that people are so strict with the rules.
After living in Germany for some time, I can gradually understand why people are so panic about what can happen. You can really get into some very shitty situations if things go wrong. Therefore, most people have their insurance in Germany to feel more secure. After all, it is better safe than sorry.
What types of insurance do you need in Germany?
If you plan to live in Germany for a longer time, you should have some understanding of the important types of insurance insurances. I have to admit that I only started to think about this after living in Germany for 7 years. And once I finalized the insurance contracts I needed in Germany, I felt so relieved because I finally didn’t have to worry too much about WHAT IF something happens to me and my family.
You may not need all different types of insurance in Germany, but you should know what they are and assess if you need them or not. To avoid under-insured or over-insured, it is best to get professional advice before buying your insurances.
Get professional help
I can highly recommend our financial adviser to you. He will help to find the solution that is right for your personal situation. We bought all our insurances from him and he explained everything thoroughly to us. He does not work for a specific insurance company, so you can be sure that he can give you independent advice. Besides, he speaks excellent English, which is perfect for expats like me. Just contact him and mention my blog “My Life In Germany” to get a free consultation.
It is good to know that in many cases, you can claim tax on the amount you pay for your insurance in Germany. So, the cost is actually less than what you think.
Read also: Tax Return in Germany – Guide for Expats
The most common types of insurance in Germany
1. Health insurance
Health insurance is compulsory in Germany. I think this is really good. In my hometown Hong Kong, health insurance is not mandatory and we have to pay for each doctor’s appointment if we do not have insurance. I know many people in Hong Kong avoid going to doctors just because it is costly to go. This is not good because a potential health problem may not be discovered when people delay going to the doctors. In Germany, health insurance covers the medical bills and hospital visits for any sickness you may have.
Public vs private health insurance in Germany
There are two types of health insurance in Germany:
- Public health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung/ GKV)
- Private health insurance (private Krankenversicherung/ PKV)
Most people have public insurance in Germany. However, if your salary exceeds a certain threshold, you can choose to switch to private insurance. In general, if you are young and healthy, you may save money by having private insurance instead of public one. There are also better benefits with private insurance. For example, you may be able to get a doctor’s appointment much faster.
For private health insurance, we recommend using Ottonova because of its English service.
For more details, check this out: Private vs Public Health Insurance: What is Better for Expats in Germany?
Supplemental health insurance in Germany
If you have public health insurance in Germany, your insurance coverage will probably not be as good as that of private health insurance. That’s why it is good to consider getting supplemental health insurance.
In my opinion, one of the must-get supplemental health insurance is dental insurance (Zahnversicherung). The dental coverage from public health insurance is really limited and you have to pay for many dental services out of your own pocket. On the other hand, the cost of dental insurance is very affordable. For example, if you go for professional dental cleaning one or two times a year, your money paid for the insurance is already worth it.
I regret that I bought my dental insurance in Germany too late (after discovering I have teeth issues). So now, any costs associated with my bad teeth are not insured. You should think of getting insurance in Germany when you are still healthy. I recommend getting supplementary dental insurance from Ottonova due to its English support, fast reimbursement, and cheap price.
For more details, check this out: Best Dental insurance Germany – Top 3 Comparison
2. Liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
Liability insurance in Germany covers the damage you cause to other people or properties. Here are some examples:
- You break something in a shop
- You damage the floor in your rental property
- You accidentally spill some coffee on your friend’s computer
- You did not remove the snow in front of your house and someone slips
- You injure someone else when you go skiing
- You cause an accident as a pedestrian because you did not use the zebra crossing
- If someone wrongly accused you, your liability insurance will pay the legal costs for your defense.
Note that liability insurance does not cover damage caused by driving a car. You would need car insurance for that. It also does not cover work-related activities. You would need professional liability insurance if you work as a freelancer. Besides, you also need separate pet insurance if the damage is caused by your pets like your dog or horse.
Liability insurance is one of the most important insurances that you should have when you live in Germany for longer. Actually, most German people have liability insurance. It is very inexpensive and usually costs only a few Euros per month. Some landlords in Germany even require you to have liability insurance if you want to rent their flats. In Germany, there is no upper limit of what you have to pay due to the damage you cause, even though if you do not intend to cause the damage. You may go bankrupt by a small accident and have to pay compensation for the rest of your life. So, it is better to be safe than sorry.
We recommend using Getsafe for personal liability insurance as it is in English, paperless, and daily cancellable. You can get 3 months for free now by using this special link.
Alternatively, you can also use Tarifcheck to search for a liability insurance policy that best suits your individual needs.
For more about liability insurance, check out this post: Liability Insurance Germany – Expat Guide
3. Legal insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung)
Legal insurance is useful when you need legal help in Germany. You probably think that you are a good citizen and will never need this. You are wrong. Shit happens in life more than you think. Disagreements can happen often with landlords, employers, neighbors, and even the tax office. Many of my friends in Germany do have experience dealing with lawyers. You do not need to have wrongdoing to get into this.
Legal insurance in Germany usually covers the following areas:
- Employment law (if you are fired without a valid reason)
- Advice on inheritance issues (excluding disputes between beneficiaries)
- Disputes with neighbors or landlords
- Disputes with the tax authorities
- Consumer protection and other private contracts
- Claims for compensation (if you are injured or your properties are damaged)
- Family law (divorce is included only under certain insurance policies)
- Traffic violations, accidents, or loss of driver’s license
Money should not be a barrier for you to seek justice. Legal expenses in Germany can be very expensive. With legal insurance, you can have free access to lawyers, without worrying about the costs. You can ask them legal questions and they can also go to court with you if needed. Besides the cost of the lawyers, legal insurance also covers the cost of witnesses, court fees, and even the costs for your opposing party in case you lose the lawsuit.
We recommend using Getsafe legal insurance because it offers English support and requires no paperwork. You can get a 15 Euro discount now by using this special link.
For more details about legal insurance in Germany, make sure to check out this guide: Legal Insurance Germany – English Guide (+ 3 Best Offers)
4. Life insurance (Lebensversicherung)
This insurance pays a lump sum amount if you die due to almost any cause. This is intended to take care of those financially dependent on you. The money also helps to cover in case you have mortgages or bank loans. You can choose the beneficiary of the policy. The amount of the benefit depends on the level of premium you pay.
The price of life insurance depends on factors like your age, your medical history, the insurance sum, and the insurance term. It is generally quite inexpensive, especially if you are still young.
Life insurance in Germany is important if you have dependents
You may need this insurance if you have a partner, and especially if you have kids in Germany. In my case, I bought a house together with my husband with a 30 years mortgage. With both of our incomes, there is no issue paying off the house. But what if my husband is not here anymore? I will be completely screwed. With life insurance, I can have more comfort in this aspect.
Besides, it is the same situation if you have kids. It will be a hard time for you to raise your kids alone if your partner is gone. The money from life insurance in Germany can help at least in the short term. Of course, you may not need life insurance if you have no dependents at all. You may still need this if, for example, you are supporting your parents financially.
If you want to get a life insurance policy, here are some best life insurance providers: Die Bayerische, Cosmosdirekt, Allianz, or Feather. For more details, check this out: Best Life insurance Germany – Top 4 Comparison
5. Accident insurance (Unfallversicherung)
In Germany, all employees are covered by accident insurance at work. The insurance cost is shared between you and your employer. However, this insurance only covers accidents that happen at work, or on the shortest way to or from your work. For personal accidents, you will need to buy accident insurance separately.
Private accident insurance in Germany covers death or injuries caused by accidents. You can get a lump sum payment if something happens to your body. The amount you get depends on the damage to your body parts.
For example, if both your eyes are blind, you can get 100% of your insured sum. If you lose a finger, the percentage is 5-10%. You can use this sum to pay for the long-term medical expenses that are not covered by your health insurance. Or use this money to alter your home or vehicle after your disability.
Do you really need accident insurance in Germany?
It depends on your personal situation. Do you have a higher risk to have accidents (e.g. due to your hobbies)? If you are an employee, you will already have accident insurance at work. For children or teenagers, they are also covered when they are in kindergarten, in school, or in the university. So, accident insurance makes more sense for self-employed people, or people who do not work, such as housewives.
In our case, even though both my husband and I are employees, we still get accident insurance for our whole family. This gives me peace of mind.
My father-in-law had a bad car accident when he was in his 50s. Due to that his back hurt and he was not able to sit for a longer time. He had to quit his office job because of that and was forced to be in early retirement. Fortunately, he had accident insurance in Germany where he got some help quickly.
You can compare different accident insurance offers here.
Note that accident insurance is different from disability insurance. Accident insurance will not pay you if your disability is due to sickness. That is why it is more important to get disability insurance if you can only buy one. Keep reading to learn more details about disability insurance in Germany.
6. Disability insurance (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung)
With disability insurance, you can receive an income in case you are not able to do your job anymore due to disability. Unlike accident insurance, you will get paid also if your disability is due to sickness. Disability insurance is useful if you have dependents. In our case, both my husband and I have disability insurance so that we can still receive two incomes in case one of us is not able to work anymore. This is important as we need to make sure that we can repay our mortgages even if we are disabled.
Disability insurance can also be useful for someone who works in an office. It is common that many office workers suffer from burnout and are not able to work anymore. Yes. Not being able to work due to burnout also counts as disability and you can receive income from your disability insurance.
The price of disability insurance is based on your age and risks related to your job. You will pay a higher premium if you are older or if you have a risky job. You may also pay more if you have risky hobbies.
We have both accident insurance and disability insurance in Germany
This is because accident insurance will not cover us if the disability is due to an accident. For example, if we are blind because of sickness, our accident insurance will not pay.
Besides, we want to have both accident and disability insurance in Germany because normally the accident insurance pays out faster. For disability insurance, it may take a bit longer until one can prove that he is really disabled and is forced to leave his job.
Moreover, our accident insurance covers our whole family, including our kids. Imagine if something happens to our kid, one of us may have to quit our job to take care of the kid. The money paid out from the accident insurance will then help in this situation.
You can compare different disability insurance offers here.
7. Home insurance (Hausratversicherung)
This insurance in Germany covers your household content in case they are damaged (e.g. by water, fire, storms, theft, etc.). It covers all movable things in your home, including valuable items like your furniture, household appliances, and other valuables. Some home insurance policies also cover your belongings outside of your home. For example, if someone steals your valuables in the hotel during your vacation.
Some home insurance in Germany also covers bicycles. You will need to read the contract carefully to know what is included or not. Bicycle theft is very common in Germany. If you have an expensive bicycle, it makes sense to get an insurance policy for it.
In our case, we bought home insurance mainly because we have expensive items like our bicycles, robotic lawnmower, and stroller. It is important to keep a list of all insured items and their receipts if possible. We also took pictures all around our home and at our valuables to prove that they exist if we need to make a claim in the future.
Besides, some home insurance policies in Germany may include glass. If not, you may need to buy separate insurance for glass (Glasversicherung). This will cover glass damage at your home, e.g. windows, mirrors, oven door, etc.
Home insurance in Germany – What is not covered?
Note also that home insurance in Germany does not cover fixtures such as the wall, door, roof, etc. They will be covered under the building insurance (Wohngebäudeversicherung). Home insurance also excludes anything that is not owned by you, like rental furniture. If you are self-employed and work from home, your office equipment will need to be insured separately.
How much does it cost?
The price of the home insurance depends on your home size and the city. It is usually quite inexpensive (around a few Euros per month). Most German people have this insurance because they can protect their belongings at home at an affordable price.
We recommend using Getsafe for home insurance as it is paperless, cancelable anytime, and in English. You can get 3 months for free now by using this special link.
For more info about home insurance, check this out: Home Contents Insurance Germany – Top 5 Comparison
8. Building insurance (Wohngebäudeversicherung)
The building insurance makes sense if you have your own property in Germany. It covers all the walls, roof, basement, etc. Either you live in the house yourself or you sublet it to your tenants. This insurance is necessary to cover the damage caused by fire, storms, water, etc.
If you are renting a property in Germany, you won’t need this insurance as this should be taken out by your landlord.
You can compare different building insurance offers here.
9. Travel insurance (Reiseversicherung)
Instead of buying a travel insurance policy for each trip, you can also take out an annual travel insurance policy. An annual travel insurance policy usually has global coverage and covers you no matter how often you travel. It is recommended for people who need to travel, or for expats who want to travel home regularly.
Below are some examples of why you may need travel insurance:
- If you are not able to go on your planned travel due to serious sickness or an accident, your insurance may reimburse you the travel costs.
- If you cannot finish your trip as planned, your insurance may pay for any additional costs because of your unplanned return journey. Some insurance companies may even reimburse the value of the unused portion of your curtailed holiday.
- If you are sick during your vacation, your insurance may reimburse the cost of necessary medical treatment overseas such as an emergency hospital or doctor treatment, and even the cost of repatriation.
- Travel insurance reimburses you in case of lost luggage or flight cancellations.
Credit card with travel insurance
If you have a credit card in Germany, you should have a look at the contract because some credit cards do include travel insurance. In our case, we had a credit card for years but never knew about that until our friend told us. When we checked the details, we found out that if we booked our flight ticket/ hotel with that credit card, we were actually insured.
For example, we flew to Hong Kong with our baby 4 years ago. Our baby got sick in Hong Kong and we had to visit a doctor in Hong Kong. After we came back to Germany, we claimed back our medical expenses because we bought the Hong Kong flight tickets with our credit card.
I would highly encourage you to have this insurance, especially if you have small kids in Germany. So many things can happen out of your control. My friend booked the flight tickets for her whole family to the USA. One day before the flight, her baby got so sick that she had to cancel the flight. And guess what, she got all her money back as she booked the ticket with her credit card.
Even free credit cards can sometimes include travel insurance! For example, TF Master Gold and Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold are two credit cards that have zero fees but give you travel insurance for free.
Check out this article for more about free credit cards with travel insurance: Free Credit Card in Germany – Top 6 For Travel and Cashback
10. Car insurance
There are 3 types of car insurance in Germany:
- Car liability insurance (Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung)
- Partial car insurance (Teilkasko)
- Comprehensive car insurance (Vollkasko)
Car liability insurance (Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung)
To drive in Germany, you must have car liability insurance. You will need this insurance to register your car in Germany. It covers all damages or injuries you cause to other people or properties, including medical expenses. However, it does not cover damages to your own car.
Partial car insurance (Teilkasko)
This insurance includes the coverage of car liability insurance but with some more extra protection. It covers also damages to your car from external factors like flooding, hail, storm, fire, theft, game animals, etc.
Comprehensive car insurance (Vollkasko)
This insurance includes the coverage of car liability insurance and partial car insurance, but with some more extra protection. It also covers the damage of your own car and injury to yourself even if a car accident is caused by you. This is the most expensive form of car insurance in Germany.
The price of car insurance in Germany depends on your age, driving record, driving experience, etc. Your premium usually will go down if you do not have any car accidents for a longer period.
We recommend using Getsafe car insurance in Germany because of its flexible plan and English support. You can get a 15 Euros discount for signing up here.
Note that you can only use Getsafe if you change from another car insurance in Germany. Getsafe will help to cancel your old insurance for you. If it is the first time you insure your car in Germany, we recommend using platforms like Check24, Verivox, Preisvergleich, or Tarifcheck. You can compare different car insurance in Germany with these platforms. Note that these platforms are in German only.
For more details about car insurance in Germany, check this out: Car Insurance in Germany – 13 Ways to Save Money
11. Insurance for your pets
Dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung)
In some states in Germany, you are legally required to have dog liability insurance. This is because the dog owner is responsible for any damages caused by his dog. For example, if the dog bites another person, or destroys other people’s properties. In case the dog injured someone, it can get very expensive for the dog owner. The dog liability insurance will cover the lost income of the injured person.
We recommend using Getsafe dog liability insurance because it offers English support and requires no paperwork. You can get a 15 Euro discount now by using this special link.
Pet health insurance
Besides liability insurance, there is also health insurance for pets. A vet visit can be really expensive in Germany. Pet health insurance covers the veterinary bills (including expensive operations) if your pet gets sick. The price of pet health insurance depends a lot on the age and race of your pet.
Below are some popular insurance companies that offer pet health insurance.
For more about pet insurance, check this out: Pets In Germany – Moving With Your Pets Or Adopting One Locally
I know that insurance is a complicated topic in Germany. But it is important. Trust me, once you go through all the paperwork and have everything settled, you will feel so much more relieved in your life.
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Please be aware that this article is for information only. This website is not an insurance broker platform and this article does not represent professional advice. Before purchasing any insurance policies, you should read the fine print to make sure you understand the details. Our blog accepts no liability in any case. If you need any personal advice, please contact a financial adviser.
What types of insurance do you have in Germany? Leave a comment below and share your experience!
Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!