Welcome to Germany – the land of insurances. You will meet Germans, who proudly name you their insurances on all ten fingers. Well, I thought I do you one better and introduce you to 12 insurance in Germany you want to consider when living in this beautiful country.
However, since Simple Germany is all about simple and helpful guides, we will, of course, separate the necessary insurance in Germany for expats from the nice-to-have insurances for you to make an educated choice.
The top 5 must-have insurances in Germany
After you arrive in Germany, you should ask yourself which insurance you need in Germany. And with that question, your quest through the German insurance jungle begins.
We save you that time and stress and have differentiated the insurances you absolutely need in Germany from the maybes, depending on your life situation.
Here is our choice of the top 5 insurances you need to have in Germany.
1. Personal Liability Insurance (Private Haftpflichtversicherung)
In Germany, you are 100% liable for damages to others. That pretty much says it all. Whether you accidentally drop someone else’s phone or whether you accidentally cause physical harm to another person, you are responsible for covering the repair and medical costs. Especially medical costs can rise to six or even seven digits.
That is why 83% of all Germans have personal liability insurance, making it the most popular voluntary insurance in Germany. You should sign up for this insurance, Jen and I have it as well. Luckily, there are 100% digital English-speaking providers that start at 2 euros per month. We have written an in-depth comparison guide on the best personal liability insurance.
Related Guide: 5 Best Personal Liability Insurances In Germany
2. Health Insurance (Krankenversicherung)
Health Insurance in Germany is mandatory. It is already compulsory for you to even get your visa. Now it is time to double-check which health insurance you signed up with for your visa and whether you want to stick with it.
When it comes to health insurance in Germany, you have two options. Statutory (public) health insurance or private health insurance. Your work status and salary will determine for which type of health insurance you qualify. There are tons of different public and private health insurers. For expats, the favorites are Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) for public and Ottonova for private health insurance.
To get health insurance in Germany, you can either simply sign-up online with TK or Ottonova or speak to an independent insurance broker such as Feather. They offer their services in English and specialize in the needs of expats. Their services are entirely free for you.
3. Car Insurance (KFZ-Versicherung)
Should you own a car in Germany, having car insurance is mandatory, at least the liability part. Car insurance usually consists of liability insurance and damage insurance.
It is a very complex topic and depending on so many factors, regarding your car, where you live, and your driving history. To have the best market overview, you can use a comparison tool like Tarifcheck to find the best fit for your situation.
Related Guide: Car Insurance In Germany [In-Depth English Guide]
4. Dog Insurance (Hundeversicherung)
Should you be a dog owner in Germany, it is wise also to get dog insurance. You can usually find three different types of dog insurances. Of course, the famous liability insurance, if your dog causes damages to third parties or their properties. And of course also health insurance. Some insurances even cover surgeries separately.
Six of the sixteen German states have made dog liability insurance mandatory. We have written an in-depth guide on all the ins and outs and the best dog insurances in Germany.
Related Guide: 4 Best Dog Insurances In Germany
5. Travel Insurance (Auslandsreiseversicherung)
Germans love to travel, and so do expats living in Germany. We encourage you to get voluntary private travel insurance, especially if you have public health insurance in Germany. Public health insurance only covers you within the EU up to the destination country’s governmental standard, which usually includes less than in Germany. So you should increase your cover with travel insurance. And if you are traveling outside the EU, travel health insurance is a no-brainer.
Most private health insurance policies include worldwide cover, if that is the case for you, there is no need to take out extra travel health insurance.
Additionally, to travel health insurance, you can also book other travel-related add-ons. Look out for repatriation insurance and accident insurance abroad, baggage insurance, and travel cancellation insurance. One of the best global travel insurance providers is Allianz. We also have our travel insurance with them and they offer an English website and English customer service.
You can choose to insure a single trip or to get a package for the year, which makes sense if you travel more than three times a year.
7 insurances in Germany to further consider
Here is our choice of the 7 insurances you can consider to have in Germany.
1. Home Contents Insurance (Hausratversicherung)
After the personal liability insurance, home contents insurance is the second most popular voluntary insurance in Germany. 76% of Germans have home contents insurance to cover their belongings against destruction by nature or theft. Your furniture, clothes, electronics, and even money or other valuables should be covered, depending on your policy.
While Jen and I have home contents insurance, we classify this insurance as nice to have as it really depends on the worth of your belongings and whether you are able to repurchase them. You are not harming a third party by not having this insurance. We have written an in-depth guide on what to look out for with your policy and which providers are best for expats.
Related Guide: 4 Best Home Contents Insurances In Germany
2. Legal Insurance (Rechtschutzversicherung)
Legal insurance covers the cost in case you need to hire a lawyer, whether you want to sue someone or get sued. It is voluntary insurance and covers the legal court costs; however, it does not cover any fines or damages you have to pay, as ordered by a court. Fines you usually have to pay from your own pocket, whereas your liability insurance should cover damages you have caused to others.
46% of Germans have legal insurance (including Jen and I) and a lot of expats opt to have one as well, as they are naturally unfamiliar with rules and regulations. So chances are higher to involuntarily get into legal trouble than in your home country.
Related Guide: Best Legal Insurance in Germany for Expats
3. Bicycle Insurance (Fahrradversicherung)
When you own a relatively new bike worth more than a few hundred euros, you should consider getting voluntary bicycle insurance. Most bicycle insurances cover the theft and vandalism against your bike. To give you a better idea, the damages of reported bicycle thefts in 2019 were 110 million euros.
A lot of home contents insurances also include bicycle insurance or have the option for an add-on, so you should look into that before getting individual bicycle insurance. Jen and I have it included in our home contents. We have written an in-depth guide on all the ins and outs of Germany’s best bicycle insurance.
Related Guide: Best Bicycle Insurance In Germany
4. Dental Insurance (Zahnzusatzversicherung)
Dental care in Germany is excellent but expensive. Your public health insurance does not cover all dental treatments, though. The moment you require treatments such as root canals, inlays or even implants, you will have to cover most of the horrendous costs yourself.
This is why a lot of Germans opt for a voluntary private dental add-on insurance.
It is definitely worthwhile if you have bad teeth genetically speaking. If you never had dental issues and you visit a dentist regularly for check-ups you may not need such insurance.
If you have private health insurance, extra dental care is either already included in your policy or you have the option to include it. So you do not neet to get any extra dental add-on insurance.
For detailed information on this extra cover, please read our guide below.
Related Guide: Best Dental Insurance Germany [Ultimate English Guide]
5. Accident Insurance (Unfallversicherung)
Every employee in Germany has an accident cover provided by their employer while at work, including the way to and from work. For any accident outside of that time frame, you can opt for voluntary private accident insurance. While your health insurance covers medical treatment, some accidents will have a bigger impact and cost on your life than others. In case you have to move to a wheelchair-friendly apartment and get a wheelchair-friendly car, your private accident insurance would cover these costs. The gravity of your injuries will determine how much the insurance will pay you.
This is definitely a nice to have insurance and more popular with Germans than expats. Jen and I have this insurance as well 🙈. None of our favorite digital English insurance providers has accident insurance in their portfolio. However, the German digital provider Adam Riese offers accident insurance with different tariffs.
6. Disability Insurance (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung)
Disability Insurance is mainly known as BU (short for Berufsunfähigkeit) in Germany. When you ask any German insurance broker, this is by far one of the most essential voluntary insurances anyone should have. The BU protects you from the loss of income if you are unable to perform your job. Whether you were in an accident and are physically disabled or suffer from burn-out and need several months or years to recover, these are the types of life events that can tremendously impact your financial stability.
This is a very German insurance and few expats we know actually have it. Jen would never have it if I (the German 😄) wouldn’t insist and get one for her. A German BU only makes sense if you plan on spending most of your working life in Germany.
A great option for expats that does offer worldwide cover is the job insurance from Feather. It is easy to understand, all digital and in English.
7. Life Insurance (Risiko-Lebensversicherung)
Life insurance in Germany protects your family from financial instability in case of your death. In Germany, people get voluntary life insurance after getting a mortgage or having kids, especially if only one parent is the main financial provider. Therefore, life insurance does not protect you from anything but is a precaution not to leave your family in financial trouble.
Life insurance policies are yet again quite individual and complex. They depend on your age, lifestyle and amount you want to get covered. Feather Insurance also has a life insurance policy for expats in their portfolio.
You now have the rundown on what insurance covers what and which one might be necessary for your time in Germany. You need to ask yourself whether you can cover the potential damage or cost out of your pocket. If you can, no insurance is necessary. If the amount is unclear, it can increase unexpectedly and jeopardize your financial stability, consider getting insurance. As an example, we have nine out of the twelve above-mentioned insurances.