There are many different types of insurance
on offer in Germany, which range in importance. Some, such as health insurance, will usually be arranged through your employer.
Private and Public Health Insurance
See main article: Health insurance
European Health Insurance Card
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is the replacement of the E111 form and offers European Union citizens emergency treatment in other EU countries. You must apply for the card from your home country, and should carry it with you when you travel abroad. The EHIC is only valid for medical treatment that becomes necessary during short trips abroad from your home country. It is not valid for extended stays in a foreign country. If you have public or private health insurance in Germany, your regular health insurance card usually doubles as your EHIC card, although with private insurance, cover in Europe outside Germany depends on your tariff. Contact your health-care provider in the event of any doubt.
See also: Information from the British Department of Health
Employers sometimes offer dental insurance as part of the company benefits package. Employees must pay part of the dental bill but the amount might be reduced (sometimes by up to 80%) if you can produce proof of 10 years of continuous visits to the dentist! Note the word "continuous". Skip a year and you might lose out on the reduction. The insurance companies can be really quite picky.
See the related chat forum discussion: Dental insurance and the 10 year rule
Personal Liability Insurance
In German this is called "Privathaftpflichtversicherung". It is insurance in case you (for example) hit someone whilst riding your bike or knock someone down the stairs. Having such insurance is not a legal requirement in Germany but most Germans do have it and it is strongly recommended for expats as well, especially as it can cost as little as â‚¬40 per annum.
See the related chat forum discussion: Personal Liability Insurance
Legal insurance will cover your legal fees in many situations, regardless of whether you are a defendant or a plaintiff in a case. Legal situations that such insurance would normally cover the costs for include disputes between landlords and tenants, problems with companies that fail to deliver an expected service, and in the event of an accident in which you or the second party incurred costs.
See the chat forum discussion: Legal Insurance - is it worth the money?
Insurance against fire, flood etc is normally the responsibility of the owner of the property, not the renter. This form of household insurance is called Hausratversicherung and you should generally insure for a value of â‚¬650 per square metre. This insurance will not cover you for any damage you cause to your neighbours' property, so homeowners should have Liability Insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung, see above) as well as Hausratversicherung. Expect to pay â‚¬150-200 per annum for both. Renters can take out Contents Insurance to cover their belongings in the event of fire, theft etc.
See the related chat forum discussion: Homeowner's insurance, Recommended agents and companies
As in any other country, life insurance is particularly important if you have a family. There are two common types - risk life insurance (Risikolebensversicherung
) and capital life insurance (Kapitallebensversicherung
). The former is a simple insurance against the risk, the latter combines this with a capital savings plan, which is paid out to the policy holder at a given date, typically the statutory retirement age.
See search results
for "Life Insurance".
Your health insurance provider will usually cover you for any medical treatment that you may require while abroad, but you should always confirm this with your provider before travelling, especially if you are travelling to North America, where different arrangements often apply. Insurance coverage for delayed flights, lost baggage, theft etc will need to be taken out separately.
See the chat forum discussion: travel insurance recommendations
Car insurance usually insures the car rather than the owner, which means that anyone with a valid drivers license can legally drive the car, providing they meet any other relevant criteria, such as age. As is the case anywhere else, prices will vary substantially depending on the type of car, the age of the driver and the place of residence, among other considerations.
See chat forum search results
for "car insurance".
Bicycles are normally covered by a household insurance (see above), but there may be certain exclusions or a surcharge for particularly expensive bikes. See the related chat forum discussion: Bicycle insurance against theft, etc., General advice and recommended providers
It is also possible to purchase insurance for your pet, to cover medical bills and the like. See the related chat forum discussion: Health insurance for pets
Insurance Obligations for Freelancers
Freelancers are not obliged to pay any kind of insurance - not even health insurance. Freelancers must pay income, solidarity, and value added taxes, but not insurances. Of course, most freelancers do have health insurance cover, as well as other insurances. Depending on the nature of the freelance work, legal insurance may be particularly worthwhile. Update: everyone is required by law to have health insurance. This must be a recognized German one, in other words it can't be travel insurance or (more than likely) a non German one.
German terms relating to "Insurance"
- Krankenversicherung - Health Insurance
- Pflegeversicherung - Nursing Insurance (usually bundled with heath insurance)
- Rentenversicherung - Retirement Insurance/Scheme, see: Pensions in Germany
- Arbeitslosenversicherung - Unemployment Insurance
- Privathaftpflichtversicherung - Personal Liability Insurance
- Rechtschutzversicherung - Legal Insurance
- Vorversicherungsnachweis - a certificate showing that you're insured
- Krankenkasse - a health insurance company
- Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung - legally-required public health insurance
There are lots of insurance companies. The largest companies include:
- AOK - Allgemeine Orts Krankenkasse
- ADAC - Automobile Deutschland, they offer insurance too
- ERV - same as reiseversicherung.de
- SDK - SD Krankenkasse
- Huk Coburg - frequently good value
Advertised insurance agents
Toytown Germany has agreements with three insurance agents in Germany. All of them are able to offer advice on a wide number of different types of insurance from a wide number of different insurance companies. They speak good English and are familiar with the problems often encountered by foreigners in Germany.
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