Auto insurance for Americans - Germany

With a German driver's license

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My husband and I both just acquired our German drivers licenses, so we have had them for less than six months. I've had my USA Drivers License for 15 years, and my husband has had his for 17 years. I asked DA-Direkt if we could provide driving records from the USA to get the lower rates equivalent to our experience, but they said that we couldn't. Basically we are considered in class 0, the highest risk class and most expensive rates. After four years of paying car insurance, we would be paying the equivalent value of the car. They said if we had drivers licenses from another EU country, it would be a different story. Has any other non-EU citizen come up against this? Is this the case with all Autoversicherung here? Has anyone had a different experience with a different auto insurance?
It's not the case and it's a point for negotiation. Unfortunately, direct insurers such as DA-Direkt are very careful in their assessment of risk, and quickly reject any applicant who might imply additional or unnecessary risk even if (as you and I realise) that your driving record abroad is equally relevant to the risk profile. They can't discriminate against your record from another EU country, but outside the EU they can. Remember it's not how long you have had your license that counts, but how many continuous years of claims-free driving you have had on a previous insurance policy of your own.

Consider going to a (preferably independent) broker in the first place to explain your situation and have him do the donkey work to find a company or cover that will take your US driving record into account. This almost certainly will not be the cheapest insurance you will find but you only need to keep it until the end of the year when you can change to a cheaper one. As you then have evidence from a German company of your reduced risk due to experience this will now be transferable to another company
How do I find an Independent Insurance Broker? Thank you!
Yellow Pages?
Recommendation from a friend?
OK, admittedly, it was a stupid question. What I should have asked was if someone could recommend an English speaking broker.
... How do I find an Independent Insurance Broker? ...
Google for "Unabhängige Versicherungsmakler" ...
I can recommend: R+V Insurance Agency - Very helpful, good English, responsive, just helped me out with much cheaper car insurance for 2010.

R + V Insurance Agency
Holger Kretzschmar
Johann-G.-Gutenberg-Str. 20
82140 Olching
Telefon: 08142/2841194
Telefax: 08142/2841195
Mobile: 0171/3320720

I had a bad experience with for car insurance, which may be solely due to a particular employee not paying enough attention to get me the best deal, and unfortunate that their replacement left the company without me being informed.
I can also recommend a friend of mine who advertises on TT. Antonia Kovatchka is a certified financial consultant with Compexx Finanz, an independent broker for insurance and financial services. She speaks fluent English and lived in the USA. She also speaks fluent German and Bulgarian. Compexx offers insurance and financial products from top companies that you'll recognize. Her email is:
Tel: 089 62 74 99 70
Mobile: 0174 205 6501

I know she is currently out of town, so if you have difficulty reaching her let me know.

This is a bit tricky for me, being an advertiser here on Toytown for financial advice myself and all - but the TTners usually know me well enough to understand that I do not try to blacken any competition here, I cooperate quite well with others like Mike Woodiwiss from Spectrum and so on as most know.

But I have to set one thing right here that you, certainly involuntarily, have mistated about COMPEXX: the are - at least according to their licence from the IHK for offering insurances according to §34 C GewO - NOT an independent broker like I am or like Mike Woodiwiss.
According to their impressum on the website their IHK registration number is D-W36O-Q5VNI-07
Anyone can check what I say here by going to the offical IHK Vermittlerregister Website:
If you enter their registration number you will see that they are registered as "tied insurance agent" and not as independent broker. This is important for their clients to know because the advice given must necessarily be different between a tied agent with limited choices from the market and an independent broker who as access to the entire market.

You will probably not have know the difference yourself, so I don't blame you, but the difference between tied agent, multi tied agent and independent broker is huge and should not be muddied by erronous statements like yours, hope you understand my clarification of this.

Anyone who wants to understand the difference better, read here:

another possibility: try AdmiralDirekt and HUK24
they might recognize your claim-free experience, but they might be cheaper for you "high-risk" class and Age combination
you can also try one of the premium comparison sites
Starshollow - if what you are saying is correct does that mean they should not be using phrases such as "Unabhängige Beratung" and "Freie Vermittler" all over their website, or "Independence" and "We are an independent service provider" on their TT advert? Isn't this legally a bit naughty?
YL6: well, yes and no. From reading their website and the info in the advertisement I can see no direct wrong because they seem to be very strongly involved as investment advisors - and it may well be that in the selection and recommendation of their investments they are entirely independent.
At no point do they claim to be independent insurance brokers, so there too nothing is wrong with their statements and it wasn't them who said something different - in dubio pro reo, I would say. I can't say anthing good or bad about the company nor the person recommended. The advice give by Antonia may be very dedicated and good for the clients for all I know or do not know.
But I think it is important to draw the line cleary betwen independent brokers and tied agents for the simple reason that the tied agent has far less selection choices on the market. And since no insurance company I know is really in best in the market in all aspects, some of the selected products have to be inferior than the best on the market by natural logic of this.


P.S.: I am somehow missing my usualy disclaimer line, need to talk to BOB-the-editor to find out why I lost it....
Hi Starshallow,
As I mentioned on the other thread, I would really like to have Antonia address the issue you bring up regarding the “independence” of Compexx. She won’t be able to address it at the moment. Admittedly, I want to help her build up her business because she is a friend whom I respect and admire. I know she has been very diligent to make sure all of her marketing is correct and not misleading in any way. Compexx does advertise that they are independent. As I stated on the other thread, the good news for people is that they have several choices for English assistance with insurance. I wish I had come across you and Antonia back when I moved here!
as just stated in the other thread (if I only knew how to put a link to it here to make this for other readers easier, silly me), no probs with that. I am sure that Antonia is as friendly and dedicated as you say and any additional help to the Expat community is very wellcomed cause there are not many who are experts in catering to Expats (and you have to fully concentrate on that, Expat needs and problems are in no way comparable to Germans, most typical German solutions do not fit to Expats) and the need is great as I experience on a daily base.

It is just that the fact needed correction here that they are not independent insurance brokers according to their own info on the website impressum and the licence regstration they have from the IHK. As an independent broker you have to follow different rules and regulations as an agent - for instance you have always to prove that you followed the best advice principle by picking the best product from the market. A tied agent's role is different. The company (and thus Antonia) are by the way not misleading anyone as far as I can see, because nowhere do they claim to be independent insurance broker, they just do claim to be independent advisor and since they only advertise in the investment/pension section on Toytown I assume that they are free in their selection and choice of investments and insurance just plays too little a role to go for independent broker status there as well.

I guess we just wait for Antonia to come back, she is of course invited to contact me directly as well. I would be glad to increase the network of Expats advisors that already exists so far that we even think about creating an assisociaton in the future (the good guys) in order to have more weight in promoting the interest of Expats against insurances, banks and the governement.


Hi, everyone! Let me first introduce myself: my name is Antonia Kovatchka and I work in cooperation with Compexx Finanz AG. I just got back from my vacation and was surprised to read the discussion about Compexx on this forum.

I would like to address the comments of Starshollow because, hopefully involuntarily, these comments MISrepresent Compexx as “a tied insurance agent”. Before I get into the legal issues – dealing with German laws and paragraphs – I would like to state that I could not agree more with two of Starshollow’s statements:

1. “Personality and ethos play certainly a big role” in being a good advisor. Integrity and professionalism are more important than ever in the financial services industry. Putting clients’ needs and interests first is essential.

2. The independence issue – it is very important and it has a lot to do with putting clients’ interests first. Yes, there are some “German insurance agents who label themselves as being independent when in fact they are not”. AWD is only one example but there are many others. It is very often the case that large insurance companies or banks own considerable part of their capital.

I also like the spirit of cooperation among the “dedicated advisors catering to the expat community in order to strengthen the role and choices of expats”. All of you guys are welcome to contact me at I would be glad to get acquainted with those of you whom I still do not know.

Here we come to the issue of Compexx Finanz AG being MISrepresented as a “tied agent”.

1. §34 C GewO that Starshollow has cited is more relevant for companies and advisors providing financial services in the areas of investments, real estate, financing, etc. It does state that these entities have to apply for a permit with the Landratsamt (not the IHK). I have such a permit myself, because besides insurance through Compexx I also provide all of these services.

2. §34 D GewO is the relevant paragraph in this discussion. This paragraph stipulates (since 22.05.2007) that all independent insurance agents who mediate insurance contracts in Germany (both Versicherungsmakler and Versicherungsvertreter) have to apply for and receive (if they fulfil the respective requirements) a permit from IHK for this activity. To be more specific this is stipulated by §34 D GewO, Abs.1(ONE).

Under §34 D GewO, Abs.4(FOUR) an exemption is granted to the “tied insurance agents”, who get their registration through the company to which they are tied. This company also assumes the legal liability for them. For those of you who can read German go to and on the left hand side go to “Versicherungsvermittler mit Erlaubnis” and “Gebundene Versicherungsvertreter”.

If you look closely at the registration copy, which Starshollow was so kind to provide on the forum, you will notice that Compexx is registered under §34 D GewO, Abs.1(ONE) and NOT under §34 D GewO, Abs.4(FOUR). Nowhere on this registration or on the Compexx website are there any phrases or legal stipulations that can be interpreted as “tied insurance agent”. The numbers 1 and 4 do look a bit alike sometimes and maybe this was how Starshollow got confused. Furthermore I would like to give my own registration number, which can be looked up on the same webpage: D-RGFB-UWKTC-43 – again permit under §34 D GewO, Abs.1(ONE) as independent insurance agent.

3. Compexx is an independent broker both from a legal point of view – registration under §34 D GewO, Abs.1(ONE) and from practical point of view – no insurance company or bank owns any part of Compexx capital. Compexx as a broker does not have any liabilities to distribute a special range of products. Compexx is offering products of more than 40 German insurance companies without taking any control of the product choice. Compexx agents are free to choose from this range of products depending on the needs and particular circumstances of our clients. That is why we take time to analyse these before we make any recommendations. Our philosophy is that satisfied clients are worth more than any advertising.

4. As I already mentioned, we also offer investment advice and real estate financing. We take an integrated approach to best serve our clients: e.g. sometimes with long term investment plans it could be more advantageous from a tax point of view to structure them as insurance products. For more information please go to the Compexx ad where you also have the opportunity to establish a contact with us.
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