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German Insurances

public liability insurances are recommendedGermany has a variety of different insurances for all kinds of unlucky situations. Not all of them might be necessary or useful for everyone, but there are certain policies, which are highly recommended by independent institutions, such as the Union of Insurance Customers.

Which insurances are required by German law?

Some insurances are actually required by law, such as the car liability insurance (Kfz-Haftpflicht) or health insurance (Krankenversicherung). Others might be necessary in certain situations: For example, the general private liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) is always recommended, because it protects you from your possible financial ruin in case of a misfortune with the most serious consequences, as you are liable to unlimited amounts for all damages you cause anyone in Germany. When taking a loan for a house, banks usually require a life insurance (Lebensversicherung) in order for the loan to be secured.

Health insurance supplement insurances

Especially for your health insurance, there are multiple optional supplement insurances, which provide you with better treatment quality (e.g. better dental implants / inlays) or more comfortable treatments in hospitals (e.g. your private hospital room and treatment by a chief physician/surgeon).

We prepared informative explanations for all kinds of insurances below, just click on the name to expand the description.

Liability Insurances

Private Liability Insurance (Privathaftpflicht)

As you are liable in an unlimited amount for any damages you cause, it is recommended to buy a public liability insurance (Privathaftpflicht). Although the German word “-pflicht” means obligatory, it is actually not legally required to have a private liability insurance. The name originates from your legal obligation to replace any damage caused. You are liable with your whole fortune.

The German Privathaftpflichtversicherung protects you from the financial consequences of inadvertences, but also protects you against the legal expenses if someone wrongfully accuses you of damaging their property. It is not necessary to buy a policy for everyone in your family, your spouse is also insured, as well as your children until the completion of their first professional education. Read more about what personal liability insurances should cover.

Car Liability (Kfz-Haftpflicht)

German car insurances can be divided into two categories: Vehicle Public Liability Insurance (Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung) and Comprehensive Insurance (Kaskoversicherung). Only the Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung is required by law and you need proof of insurance in order to register your car.

By law, the Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung has to cover at least €7.5 million in bodily injury, €1.12 million in property damages and €50,000 in financial damages. It is advisable to get a policy that covers a lump-sum of 100 million.

The Kaskoversicherung is not legally required, and covers damages that can not be attributed to a third party, e.g. theft of your car, or damages on your car that you caused yourself or were caused by an unknown individual (in Vollkasko). This insurance makes sense if you drive a rather expensive car. There is two different types: Teilkaskoversicherung (covers the replacement cost of your car) and Vollkaskoversicherung (covers the replacement cost of your car, plus some special damage cases). The more deductible you accept, the lower the monthly fee of the insurance will be. Deductibles between €300 and €500 in a Vollkaskoversicherung and a deductible of €150 in a Teilkaskoversicherung are recommended. Read more about German car insurances here.

Animal Liability Insurance (Tierhalterhaftpflicht)

When you own an animal in Germany, such as a dog or a horse, it is important to have an insurance for possible damages that these animals could cause (especially to third parties). Smaller pets, like cats or birds, are already included in the Private Liability Insurance (Privathaftpflichtversicherung), but bigger ones are not, because they could cause much higher damages. If dogs or horses are not used for commercial purposes, the animal owner is always fully liable for any damages caused b y the animals, even when the owners were acting responsibly and tried everything to prevent it.

Just like the Privathaftpflicht, the Tierhalterhaftpflichtversicherung (Animal Owner Public Liability Insurance) also protects you from wrongful claims by third parties, comparable to a legal expenses insurance.

A good animal liability insurance should cover at least €5 million in material, person, and property damages. You should choose a deductible / excess of 100 to 500 Euro.

Home Contents Insurance

WHO SHOULD GET A HOME CONTENTS INSURANCE AND WHAT IS COVERED?

Everybody should have a home contents insurance to insure the risk of high costs in case of loss of your valuable belongings or substantial damage of your home.

Many people are not aware of the costs they could face in case of damage or loss. The following examples might illustrate this:

  1. An electrical appliance causes fire during your absence. Parts of you flat catch fire, the fire brigade has to fight the flames, your inventory is destroyed, walls, ceiling, floor, carpets are seriously damaged by water, smoke, soot.
  2. A leaking or broken water pipe causes water damage.
  3. A burglar causes damage at your windows, doors or vandalises your place

In those cases your home contents insurance pays for replacement of stolen goods, replacement of destroyed household appliances and the renovation of damages in your flat or house.

Police as well as experts for consumer protection recommend a home contents insurance. Especially holiday periods and the winter months are times with increasing cases of burglaries. The home contents insurance is the most common insurance in Germany. Check out the overview of German home contents insurances here

Health Insurance

TWO SYSTEMS – STATUTORY OR PRIVATE?

There are two systems – the statutory (public) health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and private health insurance (private Krankenversicherung).

In most cases you cannot choose, because there is an income threshold for statutory health insurance. Employees who don’t earn more than an annual salary of 54,450 € must be members of the statutory health insurance. On average the insurance costs approx. 15% of your gross income, of which you have to pay 50%, the second half is paid for by your employer. In this insurance your wife and children are also insured included free of charge.

Example: If you have a monthly gross salary of 5000 € as an employee, your health insurance contribution would be 50% of approx. 750€, that is 375 €.

If you earn more than the income threshold mentioned above you can still be a member of the state system voluntarily. But you can also choose a private health insurance.

Read more about German health insurances on our overview page.

Insurances in Germany