Insurance checklist for expats in Germany


Updated on Nov 03 • 3 minute read

After getting started in Germany, it’s important to do a check-up of what kinds of insurances you need! Items break and accidents happen, so it’s important to make sure you and your belongings are well-covered. Let’s take a look at all the various kinds of insurance you should consider after moving to Germany.

Obligatory insurance plans

There are a number of insurances you’re required to contribute to if you’re working in Deutschland. Taking a good look at your payslip, you should see that you’re paying quite a pretty penny in contribution to social security in Germany. So you’re already covered for health insurance, unemployment and your pension simply by working in Germany! What's even better is that your employer matches your contributions as well. You’ll also need to have some insurance in order to drive your vehicle.

In overview, the mandatory insurance coverage in Germany include:

  • Health insurance (public or private)
  • Motor vehicle liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
  • Statutory Pension insurance (Gesetzliche Rentenversicherung)

Recommended insurances

That said, there’s more than just the mandatory insurances to think about. So, here are some of the other insurances that we recommend for anyone living in Germany and why you should get them.

  • Private liability insurance
  • Occupational disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Basic pension coverage (for freelancers)
  • Household insurance
  • Legal expenses insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Dog liability insurance (for dog owners)

Liability insurance (Haftpflicht)

This insurance will cover damages if someone ever comes to harm as a result of your actions.

You’re legally required to have liability insurance for your car, but it’s a good idea to have one in general. Most importantly, this insurance will cover damages if someone ever comes to harm as a result of your actions. Make sure you check the coverage of this insurance because it could also cover more mundane damages like, if you knock a glass of water over your friend’s phone.

Liability plans often also provide coverage for your partner and/or children, so make sure you know the extent of the plan. All in all, an essential insurance for expats in Germany to have, no matter how short your stay may be.

Occupational disability insurance

This insurance covers your income if you're suddenly unable to work because of a disability.

If you’re working, then a Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung is a must-have for you. This insurance covers your income if you're become unfit to work because of a disability. If you're employed, you already pay a small mandatory disability contribution, but since this is usually not enough to compensate for the loss of your ability to work, supplementary insurance is highly recommended.

Occupational disability insurance covers both physical and mental illnesses. So it doesn't matter if you burnout or your desk job gives you a back injury, you'll be covered with this insurance.

Life insurance

With a life insurance policy in place, your loved one(s) won’t find themselves in a tight spot if the worst happens.

If you’re a one-income family or you're getting a mortgage, it’s a good idea to set up life insurance. With a proper life insurance policy in place, your loved one(s) won’t find themselves in a tough financial situation if something happens to you.

For freelancers: Basic pension coverage

A pension gap of a few years, especially early on can easily cause financial worries.

If you’re a freelancer or you’re otherwise self-employed, you need to make sure you think about your golden years. You can consider joining a government-mandated plan, or opt for a private pension plan with voluntary contributions.

This way you know that you’ll be able to provide for yourself when you‘re older. A pension gap of a few years, especially early on can easily cause financial worries when you’re nearing retirement age in the future.

Household insurance (Hausratversicherung)

While replacing broken appliances won't cause a huge dent into your budget, water damage or fire can easily damage or destroy your home. With a Hausratversicherung you’re covered against non-usage related damage for pretty much anything in your place.

Note that if you’re renting, the landlord usually has insurance for the building and any of his belongings inside, but not necessarily yours! So, make sure you’re insured for any damage to your property.

Always keep receipts and, if possible, pictures of any large purchases you make. This will make your life a lot easier if you need to make a claim at some point.

Legal expenses insurance

Rechtsschutzversichering will insure you if you need to defend yourself against legal action. It covers the cost of a lawyer if you need it. Make sure you check the areas of coverage, and whether you’re not already insured for legal proceedings by other means, such as the way union membership insures you during labour law proceedings.

Car insurance

You’re already have liability insurance when driving, so any damage to caused to others and their property is covered. But what if your car is damaged in some other situation? For example, if there's a really bad hail storm which breaks one of the windows.

Having an additional car insurance which covers such issues will prevent you from spending hundreds of euros on repairs. Additional car insurance is highly recommended for newer models as repairing them is more expensive.

For dog lovers: dog liability insurance

This way, you’re covered for any damage your might dog cause.

Hundehaftpflichtversicherung is essential if you have 1 or more four-legged family members. Your dog isn’t covered by private liability insurance, so it makes sense to set it up separately. In fact, some German states make it mandatory to have if you own a dog. This way, you’re covered for any damage your dog causes.

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