Legal conflicts are all around us. You just don’t know when you may have to deal with them. With legal insurance, you can contact a lawyer, get his legal advice, and claim the legal expenses back from your insurance. This gives you peace of mind. In this article, you will learn everything about legal insurance including the different types, the cost, the coverage, and a comparison of the best legal insurance offers in Germany.
Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!
Some highlights for the busy people
If you don’t have much time, here are the highlights of the 3 best legal insurance in Germany:
Feather: English support, easy sign-up process, no paperwork.
Adam Riese: Backed by the big W&W Group in Germany. 100% online with no paperwork.
Keep on reading for more details about legal insurance in Germany and scroll down for a detailed comparison table.
Legal Insurance in Germany – What is it?
I have never heard of legal insurance before moving to Germany. When I first heard of it, I was wondering: why should I get one? I have never sued someone, and have never been sued. I am a good citizen and I always comply with the law. I have never needed a lawyer in the past.
Germany is a country of insurances. You can almost insure anything you can think of. However, in my opinion, some insurances are simply not necessary. But legal insurance is not one of them. I ended up buying my legal insurance in Germany and I think you should, too.
What is legal insurance?
Legal insurance is called Rechtsschutzversicherung in German. It protects you from the expensive legal costs in Germany if you sue someone, or if you are being sued. With legal insurance, you can consult with a lawyer on your case. Knowing your right is the first step before trying to sue someone in court.
With legal insurance, you can have free access to lawyers. Your lawyer can write letters for you or represent you in court. It is recommended to have legal insurance if you stay in Germany for more than 6 months, or if you move to Germany for your work.
Why should you have legal insurance in Germany?
As an expat in Germany, it is sometimes hard to be aware of all the local rules. Misunderstandings can happen easily. Having legal insurance in Germany gives you peace of mind as you know your insurance company will offer you the legal help in case you need it.
It is unavoidable that disagreements happen sometimes with your employer, landlord, the tax office, or even your neighbors. Having legal insurance in Germany protects your right and you can seek the justice you deserve without worrying about money.
According to a survey by statista in 2020, 41% of the German people have legal insurance. This is a large percentage. What does it mean for us expats?
Well, if you have lived in Germany for a while, you may notice that many German people like to exercise their rights. They are direct. And they like to make things correct. Germany is a country that focuses on order and correct procedures. You can see this from the amount of paperwork you need for getting anything done.
Having legal insurance means that the German people can afford to fight for their rights in court if that is needed. It also means that being an expat and unfamiliar with the local rule, you have a higher risk of being sued if there is a conflict.
Legal costs are expensive
You may be a good citizen. But that does not mean that everyone else is as nice as you. This is where conflicts are coming from. The cost of legal insurance may sound like a lot. But considering how expensive the legal expenses are in Germany, the cost you pay will be worth it when you need any legal support.
Lawyers and court costs are expensive in Germany. In fact, a lawyer can cost anywhere between 80 Euro to 500 Euro per hour. But this shouldn’t be the reason to prevent you from getting justice. Everyone should have the right to get support and advice from their lawyers. That is why legal insurance comes into place.
In some legal cases, you are required to have a lawyer. Even if it is not legally required, it is better to have one. This can easily cost a few thousand Euros and your legal insurance will cover these costs. Even if you lose a legal case, your insurance will still pay for your legal expenses.
What does legal insurance cover?
Legal insurance in Germany covers legal expenses like the court, lawyer, witness, and translation costs. In case you lose the court case, your legal insurance will also cover the legal costs of your opposing side.
Legal insurance in Germany usually covers the following areas:
- Employment law
- 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
What does legal insurance not cover?
Legal insurance normally does not cover the following:
- Any fines, tickets, or compensation for damages
- Any claims during the waiting period
- Any legal issues happened before you purchase your legal insurance
- Legal costs for divorces may not be covered by a basic legal insurance policy
Make sure to read the fine print before signing your contract and understand what is included in your policy. If you are self-employed or a high-level manager, you may want to buy a specialized legal insurance policy that covers the specific risks involved in your profession.
What is a waiting period?
After you buy your legal insurance, it may not come into effect immediately. There is usually a waiting period of a few months. This is to prevent people from buying legal insurance when they are aware of a dispute ahead of them. So, your legal insurance will not cover any disputes that happened before your policy inception date. Disputes that occurred during the waiting period will also not be covered.
The length of the waiting period will depend on the insurance company and the type of legal insurance. For example, traffic legal protection usually has no waiting period. But legal protection for divorce can have a waiting period of up to three years. Other legal protection in areas like private, professional, and home rental usually has a waiting period of about three months.
Different types of legal insurance in Germany (+ Examples)
Here are the four main types of legal insurance in Germany: private, professional, traffic, and home rental legal insurance.
1. Private legal insurance
Private legal insurance includes the followings:
Private purchase contract
For example, if you receive a defected product after buying online. Or if you have a dispute with a handyman.
Disputes with authorities
For example, if you have a legal dispute due to a fine. Or if you don’t agree with the tax assessment from the tax office.
Do you know you can sue the German tax office? You file your tax return in Germany. And you receive your tax assessment from the tax office afterward, telling you how much tax you can get back, or how much you have to pay.
The fact is that the tax office is not always right. If you do not agree with the tax assessment, you should file an objection. I did this a few times now and got back thousands of Euros.
There were different reasons why I filed an objection. Sometimes, it was just a human error (the German tax office is also run by humans). Sometimes, I just did not agree on why I couldn’t claim certain expenses. For example, I sent money to my parents in Hong Kong and supported them financially.
The tax office did not recognize these costs as deductible expenses. After I filed an objection and justified my reason, I could claim tax on these costs successfully. Check out this article to see how I did it: Maintenance payments (Unterhaltszahlungen) – How to deduct in your German tax return?
But if the tax office did not agree with my argument and if I was confident that these expenses should be deductible, I could have sued the tax office. It was more than a 1000 Euro tax refund on these expenses.
Criminal law protection
For example, if you are accused of a negligent offense.
For example, if someone steals your credit card details and makes purchases. Or if someone publishes your photo on the internet without your consent.
Other legal support
For example, if you become a victim of a crime. Or if a flowerpot falls down and hits you, and you lose your earnings due to this injury. Your private legal insurance can help to enforce your claims for the damage and compensation.
2. Professional legal insurance
Conflict with the employer is actually one of the most common reasons for needing a lawyer. I used to think that I loved my employer and I couldn’t imagine having an issue with my company. Yes, I am lucky in this case. But sometimes, shit can happen unexpectedly.
My friends were fired during a mass layoff in a company. They were offered a severance package and were asked to leave. This is an example situation when you definitely need a lawyer! Do not just sign and agree with the severance package, no matter how attractive the HR says it is. Consult a lawyer and he can check your package. With the help of a lawyer, my friend got a year of salary, instead of the 6-month salary stated in the package.
I can imagine that someone without legal insurance may just sign the severance package available. That is why it is important to have legal insurance before any bad surprise happens. You deserve to have the right to seek justice.
If you have professional legal insurance, you can receive coverage for legal issues in the workplace. Some examples below:
- If you are paid significantly less than someone else who is doing the same job
- If you are fired without a valid reason
- Fighting for a better severance package
- Claims for your outstanding salary and vacation days
- If your employer refuses to send you your reference letter, or gives you a bad reference letter
3. Traffic legal insurance
Even if you are a good driver, you cannot control how other road users behave. Being a good driver does not mean that no accident will happen to you. What if someone crashed into your car and says that you reversed into his car instead? What if you have a car accident and the other person’s liability insurance refuses to pay you?
If you have traffic legal insurance, you know that you can afford to consult a lawyer and get the justice you need. Even if you are proved guilty, having a lawyer on your side will likely help you to reduce your penalty.
Traffic legal insurance focuses on disputes relating to traffic, such as disputes as a driver, buyer, or owner of vehicles. Some example situations below:
- In case of an accident, e.g. disputes about who is at fault in a car accident. Claims for damages and compensation for the pain and suffering involved.
- Buying a car, e.g. disputes with car dealers, warranty claims, or repairs
- Disputes with the authorities, e.g. withdrawal of your driving license, or administrative fines
4. Home rental legal insurance
Home rental legal insurance covers the below areas:
Disputes with your neighbors
Home rental legal insurance protects you when you have disputes with your neighbors. Neighbors can be nasty. I am lucky that I have very good neighbors. But not everyone is so lucky. I always see on Facebook groups that people have different issues with their neighbors, mostly relating to noise, smoke, or the use of the common area.
These may sound like small issues. But small issues add up. In Germany, there are rules that you may not have in your home country. For example, the quiet time (Ruhezeit).
Do you know that German people go to court for things like trimming your neighbor’s tree? The tree owner was upset that his neighbor trimmed his tree. The neighbor was upset that this tree was encroaching into his own garden. Yes, they sued and they went to court.
Disputes with your landlord
What if your landlord wants to kick you out of the flat without a valid reason or he does not observe the notice period? What if your landlord takes your deposit and refuses to pay you back? How do you know if your landlord is allowed to increase your rent that much? What if you have a dispute with your landlord over the amount of the utility costs?
Home rental legal insurance can help you in such cases. As a tenant in Germany, you do have a lot of housing rights. But this doesn’t help you if you don’t have a proper understanding of your rights. With legal insurance, you can make sure you can protect your own rights by having access to your lawyer easily.
If you are a landlord and live in your own property, home rental legal insurance can also help you if you have legal disputes with your property management company.
Purchase of real estate
If you are buying a house in Germany, your legal insurance can pay for a lawyer to review the purchase contract. You will also have legal protection in case the seller wants to increase the price after signing the contract. Or if you want to reverse your purchase contract due to hidden defects in the property.
If you have an investment property in Germany, it is highly recommended to get legal insurance covering your rental property specifically. This coverage is usually separated from your private legal insurance. Some insurance companies like Adam Riese let you purchase this special coverage as an add-on.
Check out also: Real Estate Investment Germany – How I became a landlord
How to choose your legal insurance?
You should choose the types of legal insurance based on your need. Many legal insurance companies offer private, professional, and traffic legal insurance as one package. But you usually will have the option to add home rental legal insurance as an add-on to your policy.
Legal insurance companies usually do not offer one-size-fits-all coverage. When choosing your legal insurance policy, you should think carefully about what areas do you need the coverage in. For example, are you self-employed? Do you own a car? Do you have a self-living property or investment property? Choose the types of legal insurance that suit your individual situation.
If certain areas are important to you, make sure to read the fine print to see if they are covered with the policy. Certain areas like divorce law may not be included in the basic policy and you may need to purchase it as an add-on.
How much does legal insurance cost in Germany?
The price of a legal insurance policy depends on the insurance company and also the coverage level. The more add-on you purchase, the more expensive it gets. The basic policy can be even cheaper than 20 Euros a month. However, in case of a claim, you may have to pay a deductible of a few hundred Euros (usually from 150 – 300 Euros), depending on your policy.
Remember that your legal costs in Germany depend on the amount in dispute. The higher the amount in dispute, the more expensive the legal fees. Considering how expensive legal costs are in Germany (can easily cost thousands of Euros), the price of legal insurance is quite affordable and can give you peace of mind. For example, your annual fees for legal insurance already pay off if you need to have your first consultation with a lawyer.
3 Best legal insurance providers in Germany
We recommend Getsafe or Feather legal insurance for expats in Germany because of the following reasons:
- Services are in English
- 100% digital
- Choose your lawyer freely (meaning that you can choose an English-speaking lawyer)
Note that for both Getsafe or Feather, you will have 300 Euros deductible in the first year. The deductible reduces 100 Euros each year if you don’t claim. If you make a claim, the deductible will be increased to 500 Euros in the following year (and reduced by 100 Euros again every year without claims).
|Coverage in Euros||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Waiting period||0 – 6 months||0 – 6 months|
|Sign up online in a few minutes||✔||✔|
|Free choice of lawyers||✔||✔|
|Free initial consultation with a lawyer||✔||✔|
|Deductible||300 Euros first year, deductible goes down with no claims||300 Euros first year, deductible goes down with no claims|
|Coverage for your partner||Optional||Optional|
|Coverage for your children (unmarried and not employed)||✔||✔|
|Monthly price||From 15.12 Euros||From 17.06 Euros|
|More Info||More Info|
Getsafe was founded in 2015. It started originally as an insurance broker and changed to building its own digital insurance products. You can manage everything directly from your phone, with no paperwork! You can get a 15 Euros discount by using the below link for sign up.
- 24/7 free legal hotline
- Easily file claims in the app
- Include private, professional, and traffic legal protection
- Home and criminal legal protection can be purchased as an add-on
Feather was found in 2018. It offers different types of insurance with customer support in English.
- Include private, professional, traffic, and home legal protection
- If you choose the advanced cover, there is a reduced waiting period
Besides Getsafe and Feather, Adam Riese legal insurance can be a good choice for you if you are comfortable with the German language.
Adam Riese is a German company founded in 2017. It is backed by a big and established financial service company called W&W Group in Germany. The goal of Adam Riese is to make insurance simple, digital, and fitting for its customers.
- Monthly price from 14.51 Euros
- Unlimited coverage
- Worldwide coverage
- Deductible from 150 Euros
- Free choice of lawyers
- Waiting period: 3 months
- Cancellable any time
Alternatively, you can also use Tarifcheck to compare the offers from different legal insurance providers. The website is in German but you can use Google to translate the web page.
A financial adviser can help you
If you prefer to get professional advice before buying your insurances, I can highly recommend our financial adviser to you. 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 write or call him and mention my blog “My Life In Germany” to get a free consultation.
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Please be aware that this article is for information only. We are not an insurance broker platform and this article does not represent professional advice. Before purchasing, you should read the fine print of the insurance policy to make sure you understand the details. We will try to keep the insurance offers in this article updated regularly. In case you see any outdated information, please let us know and we will update it accordingly. Our blog accepts no liability in any case. If you need any more details or the latest information, please refer to the insurance companies’ websites directly.
Do you have legal insurance in Germany? Have you ever made any claims? 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!