I came to Germany more than a decade ago. At the time, I wished I had an overview of the types of insurance in Germany that I would need as an expat.
Back then, I was surprised by the variety of German insurances. And mostly by the fact that almost everyone I knew had a bunch of insurances.
There are the mandatory insurances, such as health or pension insurance. And there are others which I wouldn’t have considered before coming to Germany.
Do I really need insurance for almost everything in Germany?
Ten years ago, I would have said “No, I don’t”. You can definitely survive without most of them.
However, if you want protect yourself and your family, you should consider the 15 types of insurance I listed below.
Topics in this article
1. Health insurance (Krankenversicherung)
If you’re asking yourself “Can I live in Germany without health insurance?”, the answer is “No!”.
In Germany, health insurance is mandatory.
However, you can choose between public health insurance and private health insurance.
Moreover, there is also the possibility to take out supplementary private insurance, if you’re looking for premium services.
The health insurance system is financed on the basis of solidarity. In concrete terms, this means that all insured persons bear the costs for individual cases of illness.
In most cases, individuals choose their health insurance.
For my wife and me, this was a completely arbitrary decision. When we moved to Germany, we went to the nearest office of a public health insurance company.
We filled out some forms and that was all.
With private insurance, there is no family insurance. All family members must be insured individually. That can be advantageous for single people.
For families, however, it can quickly become expensive, depending on their needs.
One way to compensate for this is to not use medical or treatment services.
If you do not use any insurance services for six months, your premiums will be refunded, depending on the insurance company.
Read my comprehensive article on health insurance, to get all the details.
Or go directly to the health insurance calculator* to take out private health insurance now.
2. Liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
The next most important insurance is private liability insurance.
Private liability insurance is widely used in Germany. More than half of the population has such insurance.
I took one out after living in Germany for several years. My work colleagues convinced me to purchase one.
What is private liability insurance? It covers damage caused by you. This can be a mobile phone that you accidentally stepped on. Or you lose the key to the apartment where you live.
Private liability insurance pays if you carelessly break something or cause an accident. Gross negligence is also insured.
In German, they use different names for this type of insurance:
So why should you take out private liability insurance?
This type of insurance usually protects you in all those situations where damage could be caused by:
- your domestic animals
- equipment you own
- damage on your property
Here are some examples of typical situations covered by private liability insurance:
- personal injury due to an accident
- loss of keys at work
- property damage to a borrowed camera
When I took out my liability insurance, I also had the option of covering additional situations. These are: damage caused by loss of keys, damage occurring during a tenancy or during voluntary work.
Private liability insurance also covers the family, spouse, children or your life partner.
Here’s a comprehensive article on this topic. It includes a step-by-step guide on how you can compare prices with the help of the liability insurance calculator.
Here you can take out a liability insurance:
3. Car insurance (Kfz-Versicherung)
Also important, if you have a car, is the car insurance.
In Germany, having car insurance is compulsory. This means that if you own a car, you must have car insurance.
The question I asked myself before I bought my first car in Germany was: what kind of car insurance do I need?
You can take out car insurance by using one of the calculators below:
Check24* car insurance calculator
Another very good alternative is the comparison website Verivox*.
You can choose between 3 types of car insurance:
Motor vehicle liability insurance – Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung
This type of car insurance covers damages caused to third parties as a result of an accident. If you do not have this insurance, please do not move your car.
Partial cover insurance – Teilkaskoversicherung
Partial coverage protects against damage to your car caused by external events such as explosion, theft, wild animals or natural hazards.
Comprehensive insurance – fully comprehensive car insurance
Apart from the motor vehicle liability insurance, you can also take out a fully comprehensive insurance – VOLLKASKO. This fully comprehensive car insurance offers you protection in case of self-inflicted damage to your own car.
As a newcomer to Germany, you may most likely ask your car dealer to help you with your car insurance.
Here you can find a detailed article on car insurance. You can also read my step-by-step instructions on how to buy car insurance using an online calculator.
4. Accident insurance (Unfallversicherung)
Are you very active in your free time? If yes, take a look also at the accident insurance.
In Germany, you have to distinguish between two different forms of accident insurance:
On one hand, there is statutory accident insurance, which covers you in case of accidents at work or at school.
On the other hand, private accident insurance additionally covers leisure time and even vacations.
Statutory accident insurance is part of the social insurance scheme. Its aim is to restore health and fitness after an accident. It compensates the people insured or their surviving dependents.
Private accident insurance is not mandatory.
However, there are many cases in which I would recommend taking out private accident insurance. It protects you from financial difficulties if you have an accident and provides financial security for surviving dependents in the event of death.
What does private accident insurance cover?
This insurance covers accidents inside and outside of work. German private accident insurance covers all events that affect the body from the outside.
Typical examples are falling objects or injuries in road traffic.
To be insured, the accident must have been involuntary. Grossly negligent behavior is also covered by this kind of insurance.
Here is one of the most comprehensive articles on this topic one can find:
Or take out one now by using an online calculator:
5. Legal insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung)
Another type of insurance I would recommend is legal insurance.
Legal protection insurance can give you that extra peace of mind. As an example, I took out my legal protection insurance just before I bought a property in Germany.
The German legal insurance helps in the event of legal disputes.
The insurance company enforces the interests of the insured person. In this process, court costs, attorney’s fees and penalty bonds are covered.
In Germany, legal insurance is typically for traffic matters and personal and/or professional cases.
Follow these links to one of the online calculators:
What covers the German legal insurance?
Legal protection insurance for private parties helps to enforce claims arising from contracts. Legal expenses insurance from the area of traffic protects you as a participant in traffic.
For tenants and landlords, there are also insurances for special issues of tenancy and condominium law.
What doesn’t cover the legal insurance?
- Fines or financial penalties, e.g. in road traffic
- Intentional acts
- Construction disputes or divorce disputes
- Disputes before the constitutional court or an international court of justice
A 3-month period applies to certain insurance benefits. This means that at least three months must have passed since the start of the insurance.
If you want to find out what type of legal protection you need and how much it costs, read my article Legal insurance in Germany.
6. Household insurance (Hausratversicherung)
No matter if you live in your own house or you are a tenant, the next type of insurance you should look at is household insurance.
Household insurance is a widely used type of insurance.
Actually, it’s the third most used insurance (by 78,6% in 2020 according to Statista) in Germany.
In the first position there is statutory health insurance followed by private liability insurance before household insurance.
In Germany, partial car insurance is the fourth widely used insurance, with more than 50%.
In German, this specific type of insurance is called Hausratsversicherung*, and almost everyone seems to have it.
German household insurance is not expensive if you compare it with what you get out of it in case of emergency. It usually starts at 20 Euros per year, depending on the insurance company.
I took out that insurance years ago, soon after moving to Germany but haven’t used it so far and hopefully never will.
By then I used the household insurance calculator on Verivox*.
What does household insurance cover?
According to the official Consumer Center (Verbraucherzentrale) household insurance covers the following:
- Water damage due to tap water
- Heist (but no theft)
- Hail, Storm (only some insurances cover heavy rain as well as flooding)
In the case of an insured event, the household insurance takes over 100% of the damage and replaces all damaged or missing things with brand new ones.
This kind of insurance is one you hopefully never need, but if you have it in case of emergency, you will be happy to have a smooth start after damage occurs.
Go to the insurance calculator TarifCheck / Check24* to compare prices and eventually take out this type of insurance.
7. Life insurance (Risikolebensversicherung)
Do you live in Germany and you have taken a loan recently? Or are you main earner for your family?
If yes, you should consider taking out life insurance
Term life insurance is a form of provision for surviving dependents. It provides protection for your family in the best and most individual way.
You can also use it to secure real estate financing or other loans in the event of your death.
You can take out life insurance right here:
Who needs life insurance?
Life insurance is particularly useful for young families, their main earners, the self-employed and borrowers. It can also be used to cover business costs if you’re operating a business together with a partner.
Germans recommend it for:
- borrowers that have financing or loan because if they die, the surviving dependents can use the death benefit to pay off the loan.
- unmarried people in a relationship. In this case, can help cover expenses for funerals and more
- older adults, if they have little or no savings at all, in order to cover funeral costs
When you normally don’t need a life insurance:
- you are student or trainee
- or you don’t have a partner or surviving dependents
- partners are able to cover their living costs
Types of life insurance:
- endowment life insurance (Kapitallebensversicherung)
- term life insurance (Risikolebensversicherung)
- fund-linked life insurance (Fondsgebundene Lebensversicherung)
- english/British life insurance (Englische / Britische Lebensversicherung)
- death benefit insurance without health check (Sterbegeldversicherung ohne Gesundheitsprüfung)
- pension insurance (Rentenversicherung)
Find out more about life insurance and what you should do or not do when taking out this type of insurance hier: Life insurance explained.
8. Pet / dog liability insurance Germany (Tierhaftpflichtversicherung)
Many people, and expats are no exception, have or intend to have a pet.
In case you are one of them, the next type of insurance you should look at is pet insurance.
Important: According to Check24*, there is a difference between pet (liability) insurance and pet health care insurance.
According to the Consumer Center, pet health care insurance is redundant.
Pet health care insurances usually accept only healthy pets, and in addition to that, they can be pretty expensive the older your animal becomes.
Need an insurance for your pet in Germany? Check out here:
What does pet health insurance cost in Germany?
For a dog, you can pay between 120 – 1,300 Euros per year. For a cat, 160 – 560 Euro per year.
Follow the link below to compare prices for dog health insurance:
Special surgical cost insurances for pets are more affordable, with tariffs starting at 110 Euro per year for dogs and 70 Euro for cats.
Contrary to health insurance, pet liability insurance makes sense to have, especially if you own a dog or a horse.
In Germany, cats are covered by private liability insurance.
What is covered by pet insurance?
Pet insurance covers all cases of third parties claiming damages caused by your animal. It can be as simple as your dog running onto a street and causing a car driver to step on the brakes, crashing into another car suddenly.
Or as dangerous as your horse hurting pedestrians because it has gone wild.
If someone files third-party claims against you because you violated your duty of supervision, you must pay for all damages.
We do have pet insurance for our dog that we already needed. It, unfortunately, bit a French friend of ours and damaged his costly jacket. We claimed our insurance at that time, and our friend has got his money back.
What does pet liability insurance cost in Germany?
You can find out more about both variants of pet insurance here on Tarifcheck*
The law does not require liability insurance for dogs or horses, but it is not too expensive, because it starts at about 30 euros per year for a dog and 60 euros per year for a horse.
9. Disability insurance (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung)
Following the motto “better safe than sorry” I recently talked to an insurance broker about disability insurance, and I am still not sure whether I need it or not.
The “Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung” in German is not mandatory, but my broker says it can come in handy.
It ensures you from losing your work due to an accident, allergies, or other serious illnesses.
According to Check24* if you are born after the 1st of January 1961, you no longer have disability insurance that’s covered by the state.
If you can no longer work for the rest of your life, this insurance will cover your expenses with monthly rent. The amount you will get per month depends on the tariff that you choose.
According to a study from 2011, about 25% percent of all Germans will not be able to work for a more extended period of time. Most of them are between 56 – 60 years old.
What does the German disability insurance cover?
Disability insurance covers not only physical impairments but also psychological damage.
As strain and stress in working life continue to increase, occupational disability insurance is becoming more and more critical, even for young people.
Disability insurance pays a special disability pension (Berufsunfähigkeitsrente) that covers you in cases where the reduced earning capacity pension (Erwerbsminderungsrente) is not enough.
If you can work in a different profession, you sometimes only get half of the reduced earning capacity pension financed by the state for all born past 1.1.1961.
If you need a disability insurance, compare prices here:
10. Travel cancellation insurance (Reiserücktrittsversicherung)
Travel cancellation insurance is another insurance I hope you will never need.
I do have one from ADAC, but so far, I have never needed it.
This insurance covers you and your family’s travel expenses when you have to cancel a vacation or trip for a good reason.
What covers the German travel cancellation insurance?
The “Reiserücktrittsversicherung “usually covers all cases where you get seriously sick before traveling or, for example, you did have an accident.
In addition to those cases, many travel insurance companies cover you even if you are recently fired from your job or have to start a new career after a more extended period of unemployment.
So you would be safe if you either can’t afford the trip any longer due to unemployment or a trip would hinder you from starting a new position after an extended period of unemployment.
Even students are covered in case they do not pass an exam at school or university. If they have to repeat the exam and it happens to be during your vacation time, most travel insurances will cover your expenses.
How much does travel cancellation insurance Germany cost?
The height of coverage depends on your chosen tariff:
The costs vary on whether you are single, a couple, a family with kids, or a single person with kids.
Also, your age, coverage time (I suggest getting travel cancellation insurance for one year at least), and the insured amount per travel are considered your yearly costs.
The yearly fees can start as low as 40 Euro per year for a single person and a travel budget coverage of 2.000 Euro.
As you can see, it can be worthwhile to have travel cancellation insurance.
11. Repatriation Insurance (Rückführungsversicherung)
If you decided to permanently live in Germany as a foreigner and don’t have German citizenship, it could make sense to have repatriation insurance (Rückführungsversicherung).
Since I am also a German citizen, I have decided against this specific insurance.
In case of your death, the repatriation insurance will cover all expenses for either a burial in Germany or for bringing your corpse back to your country of origin.
Of course, it also works the other way round. If you are German and permanently living abroad but would like to get buried at home, it covers all repatriation costs.
What are the benefits of the repatriation insurance?
In addition, this insurance gives some money in case of your death to your relatives (usually around 4,000 – 6,000 Euro). The other benefit your relatives have is that one of them receives an airline ticket (usually up to 750 Euro).
This type of insurance can also be found in the travel insurance category on Check24.
My recommendation is, if you are not a German citizen or would like to be buried at home, it’s time for you to get insurance.
Also, if your parents still live abroad but would like to get buried where you live, repatriation insurance can be helpful.
12. Dental insurance (Zahnzusatzversicherung)
Another type of insurance that definitely belongs to your German insurance portfolio is dental insurance.
Having dental insurance is something I recommend.
Receiving proper dental treatment can be very expensive in Germany, and your health insurance will most likely not cover all costs.
Take out one here:
My own experience with German dental insurance
I have used my dental insurance (Zahnzusatzversicherung) that I took out on Check24 this year, and they covered 3,500 euros of my dental treatment.
As you can see, your share can be reduced by many thanks to this insurance.
The replacement of teeth can be expensive, but health insurance has decreased its services massively during the past years. To cover that service gap, it’s mandatory to have proper dental insurance.
In 2019 about 16,4 million people in Germany had dental insurance. Without any additional insurance, you would have to cover at least around 1,200 Euro on your own for the most basic version of teeth replacement. So you can’t say that dental care is free in Germany.
What is the best dental insurance Germany?
One of the best dental insurance currently is either Barmenia or Die Bayerische*.
Both do offer a well-balanced package. Even so, there is a considerable difference in monthly fees.
Barmenia costs around 25 Euro per month while Die Bayerische asks for little more than 40 Euro per month according to Check24.
Before taking out dental insurance, it’s recommended to know what your dental health situation is at the moment and how soon you might need dental treatment.
That way, you can take out the best dental insurance for your needs.
13. Bicycle insurance (Fahrradversicherung)
In my opinion, it’s not essential for everyone to have bicycle insurance.
I don’t have one, for example, because I do not have a great bike.
On the other hand, I do have friends that had great bikes that were stolen. Unfortunately, some of them did not have bike insurance and had to cover all costs for a new bike.
The theft of bikes is nothing unusual in Germany. In 2019, about 278,000 bikes were stolen throughout the year.
According to Statista, there are several hotspots for bicycle theft in Germany like Leipzig, Münster, Halle, Osnabrück, and other cities and towns.
Bicycle insurance Germany covers theft of:
- the insured bike, e-bike, or pedelec
- individual parts that are firmly attached, for example, a saddle
- the battery in case of an e-bike or pedelec
Similar to car insurance, there are also full comprehensive bicycle insurance tariffs
Those, obviously more expensive tariffs, cover a few more things like:
- Damages that occurred after an accident or fall
- Damages due to the false operation or improper handling
- Material-, construction- or production issues
- Damages to the electric systems
- Wear specific parts on your bike (chain or other things)
- Wear and tear of the battery
The costs for full coverage for an e-bike or pedelec depend on where you lived when you bought the bike (used or new) and how expensive it was.
What does bicycle insurance Germany cost?
Insurance tariffs can start at around 4,50 Euro per month for an e-bike and the same amount for a regular bicycle. The tariffs vary based on the previously mentioned factors.
Be aware that insurance will only pay in case you lock your bike correctly in case of theft.
Household insurance covers only bike theft on your property. Taking additional bicycle insurance makes sense when you own a more expensive bike.
The company I recommend for is:
14. Mobile Phone insurance (Handyversicherung)
Mobile phone insurance, a so-called “Handyversicherung,” protects you against several different things.
The standard tariffs usually cover:
- Display damages
- Liquid damages
- Short circuit or electronic damages
- Errors during operation
- Vandalism as well as sabotage
Suppose you are taking out mobile phone insurance, including a premium tariff. In that case, you are also covered when your mobile phone gets stolen, against robbery and plunder, burglary from a locked house or apartment, burglary from a vehicle.
I haven’t taken out mobile phone insurance on my own, and a mobile phone my wife gave to me as a present, had mobile phone insurance already included.
It’s a waste of money because one tends to take care of your cell phone anyway.
Mobile phone insurance can be pretty expensive (around 100 Euros per year). Those tariffs highly depend on the brand, value, and features of your cell phone.
Considering that used mobile phones are no longer that expensive, and cellphone contracts offer you a new cell phone every two years, such insurance might not be worth having.
15. Care Insurance (Pflegeversicherung)
The care insurance or “Pflegeversicherung” is separated into two types:
- insurances for people with either private
- or statutory health insurance tariffs
Statutory health insurance, paid with your paycheck every month, usually covers only parts of your monthly income.
If you get seriously ill or get old and become a nursing case, the statutory health insurance might not cover everything you would need, and the private care insurance covers the rest of the expenses.
Here is where you take out care insurance:
Since it’s more affordable to take out a contract with care insurance when you are young, you might want to consider taking out this insurance early.
What does private care insurance cover?
- Expenses depend on your care level
- Retirement or nursing home costs
- Costs for home care
Statutory care insurance covers many things. You will receive better care if needed with additional private care insurance. The federal health ministry Bundesgesundheitsministerium in Germany recently released new numbers regarding statutory care insurance.
In recent years, you can see that the number of stationary or ambulant people in need of care rose within the last five years from 2.7 Million in 2016 to 4.3 Million in 2020.
It’s just a matter of time until care services are reduced again.
Therefore I recommend getting private care insurance to ensure that everything you might need later is fully covered.
Germany is one of the countries where the most insurance companies and various types of tariffs exist.
Some might say you can ensure everything in Germany if you like.
Above you could find an overview of different insurances offered in Germany alongside my own experience with some of them.
In case of any of these German types of insurance I strongly recommend to compare prices with an online insurance calculator.
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