Germany is a country that values security and stability. That’s why there are many types of insurance available to cover almost every risk you can think of. However, not all insurances are mandatory or necessary for expats living in Germany. In this article, we will give you an overview of the most important insurances in Germany for expats, and help you decide which ones you need and which ones you can skip.
If you are planning to move to Germany, or if you already live there as an expat, you might be wondering what kind of insurance you need. Insurance is a very important topic in Germany, as there are many risks and liabilities that you might face in your everyday life. In our experience living in Germany from 2015, we've came across 8 essential insurances that expats in Germany must consider, from health insurance to personal liability insurance. We will also explain which ones are compulsory and which ones are optional, and how to find the best deals for your situation.
MUST HAVE INSURANCE
Health insurance (Krankenversicherung) is the most essential and compulsory insurance in Germany. You need to have health insurance to get a visa, a residence permit, or a job in Germany.
There are two types of health insurance in Germany: public (gesetzliche) and private (private).
Public health insurance covers most of the medical expenses and treatments in Germany, and it is funded by social security contributions from employers and employees. You are eligible for public health insurance if you work in Germany and earn less than €66,600 per year (as of 2023). You can choose from over 100 public health insurance providers, such as Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), AOK, or Barmer.
Private health insurance offers more flexibility and options for medical services and doctors, but it is also more expensive and selective. You can opt for private health insurance if you earn more than €66,600 per year, or if you are self-employed, a freelancer, a student over 30 years old, or a civil servant. You can compare and choose from various private health insurance companies, such as Ottonova, Allianz, or AXA. If you are not sure which type of health insurance is best for you, you can consult an independent broker like MW Expat Solutions or use an online comparison tool like Tarifcheck to find the best deal.
Personal Liability Insurance
Personal liability insurance (Private Haftpflichtversicherung) is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended for expats living in Germany. This is because in Germany, you are legally liable for any damage or injury you cause to another person or their property, whether intentionally or accidentally. This can result in huge financial claims that can ruin your life.
Personal liability insurance protects you from these claims by covering the legal and compensation costs up to a certain limit (usually between €5 million and €50 million). It also covers your family members, your pets, and your rented apartment. Personal liability insurance is very affordable, starting from €3 per month. You can find many English-speaking and digital providers online, such as Getsafe, or Feather.
MUST HAVE INSURANCE
Car insurance (KFZ-Versicherung) is mandatory if you own or drive a car in Germany. There are three types of car insurance in Germany: third-party liability (Haftpflicht), partial coverage (Teilkasko), and comprehensive coverage (Vollkasko).
Third-party liability insurance covers the damage or injury you cause to other people or their property with your car. It is the minimum legal requirement for car owners in Germany. The cost of third-party liability insurance depends on various factors, such as your car model, your age, your driving experience, and your location.
Partial coverage insurance covers the damage to your own car caused by natural disasters, theft, fire, vandalism, or collision with animals. It does not cover the damage caused by collision with other vehicles or objects. Partial coverage insurance is optional, but it is advisable if your car is relatively new or valuable.
Comprehensive coverage insurance covers all the damage to your own car, regardless of the cause. It also includes partial coverage and third-party liability insurance. Comprehensive coverage insurance is optional, but it is recommended if your car is very new or expensive.
You can compare and choose from different car insurance providers online, such as Check24, Verivox, or Tarifcheck.
Other Insurances in Germany
There are many other types of insurances in Germany that are optional for expats, but they might be useful depending on your situation and preferences. Here are some of them:
Dental Insurance (Zahnzusatzversicherung)
Dental insurance in Germany covers the costs of dental treatments that are not fully covered by the public health insurance. In Germany, dental insurance can be useful for expats who want to have access to high-quality dental care and cosmetic dentistry. For example, if you need braces, implants, crowns, or veneers, dental insurance can help you pay for them. Dental insurance is not compulsory in Germany, but it is beneficial for expats who care about their oral health and appearance.
Legal Insurance (Rechtschutzversicherung)
Legal insurance covers the costs of legal disputes, such as lawyer fees, court fees, and compensation claims. Legal insurance can be useful for expats who face legal issues related to their work, housing, family, or traffic in Germany. For example, if you have a conflict with your landlord or employer, or if you are involved in a car accident, legal insurance can help you defend your rights and interests. Legal insurance is not compulsory in Germany, but it is highly recommended for expats who want to avoid high legal expenses and stress.
Bicycle Insurance (Fahrradversicherung)
Bicycle insurance in Germany covers the damage or theft of your bicycle. Bicycle insurance can be useful for expats who use their bikes as a main mode of transportation or as a hobby. For example, if your bike is stolen or damaged by vandalism or an accident in Germany, bicycle insurance can help you repair or replace it. Bicycle insurance is not compulsory in Germany, but it is advisable for expats who own expensive or custom-made bikes.
Income Protection Insurance (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung)
Income protection insurance covers the loss of income due to illness or disability that prevents you from working. In Germany, income protection insurance can be useful for expats who depend only on their salary to maintain their lifestyle and obligations. For example, if you suffer from a chronic disease, a mental disorder, or a physical impairment that makes you unable to work, income protection insurance can help you replace your lost income until you recover or retire. Income protection insurance is not compulsory in Germany, but it is essential for expats who want to protect their livelihood and their family’s stability.
Term Life Insurance (Risiko-Lebensversicherung)
Term life insurance pays out a sum of money to your beneficiaries in case of your death within a specified period of time. In Germany, term life insurance can be useful for expats who have dependents or debts that they want to take care of after they pass away. For example, if you have children, a spouse, or a mortgage that you want to support or pay off in case of your death, term life insurance can help you provide them with financial security and peace of mind. Term life insurance is not compulsory in Germany, but it is recommended for expats who want to leave behind a legacy and a safety net for their loved ones.
Insurance in Germany can be confusing and overwhelming for expats, but it is also important and beneficial. By knowing the types of insurances in Germany and choosing the ones that suit your needs and budget, you can protect yourself and your future in Germany.