Top insurance checklist for expats in Germany

Bas

Updated on Nov 03 • 4 minute read

After getting started in Germany, it’s important to do a check-up of what kinds of insurances you need in your new country! 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 soon after your arrival in Germany.

Obligatory insurance plans

There are a number of insurances you’re required to contribute to if you’re working in Deutschland. If you’ve taken a good look at your payslip, it should mention 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 being employed! Even better is that your employer matches your contributions as well. Additionally, you’ll need to have some insurance in order to legally drive your car or motorcycle as well!

In overview, the mandatory insurance coverage in Germany include:

  • Health insurance (usually through your employer)
  • Motor vehicle liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
  • Statutory Pension insurance (Gesetzliche Rentenversicherung)

Recommended insurances

That said, there’s more than just health insurance to think about, as well as the fact that not everyone works on an employment contract basis. So, here are some of the other insurances that we recommend for anyone living in Germany and why you should get them.

  • Liability insurance
  • Occupational disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • For freelancers: basic pension coverage
  • Household insurance
  • Legal expenses insurance
  • Car insurance
  • For dog lovers: dog liability insurance

Liability insurance (haftpflicht)

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

As mentioned earlier, you’re already 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, for example, if you knock a glass of water over onto your friend’s phone. Additionally, 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 are suddenly unable to work due to a disability

If you’re working, then a Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung is a must-have for you. This insurance covers your income if you are suddenly unable to work due to a disability. And yes, a depression, burnout or back injury from sitting in a chair all day will just as quickly see you unable to work as a physical injury stemming from a work-related accident. You already pay a small mandatory disability contribution if you’re employed, but since this is usually not enough to compensate for the loss of your ability to work, supplementary insurance is highly recommended.

Life insurance

With a proper life insurance policy in place, your loved one(s) won’t find a financial hell waiting for them

If you’re the sole breadwinner in the family or when you and your partner have 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 a financial hell waiting for them if something happens to you. This way you can rest assured that your partner won’t have to sell your house and that your surviving dependents will not face a massive drop in income that sees many suddenly single parents descend into poverty.

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 the 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 everyone should have some savings to replace broken appliances, water damage or fire can easily damage or destroy your home, including your furniture, personal belongings and valuables. 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. Additionally, make sure you 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 is an insurance that will insure you if you need to defend yourself against legal action. It covers the cost of a lawyer if you need it, for example, if someone makes a claim for damages against you. 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 supposed to have liability insurance when driving, so any damage to others and their property is covered. But what if your car is damaged in some other situation? If you own a car, it’s probably your most important mode of transportation, so making sure your car is insured against damage is not a bad idea! This way you have access to, for example a replacement vehicle if your car is damaged or breaks down in another way. This kind of insurance is, of course, highly recommended for newer cars. As if the car is older, your premiums will go up and so it’s more unlikely to pay for itself if you’re driving an older car that’s more likely to break down.

For dog lovers: dog liability insurance

This way, you’re covered for any damage your dog causes if it ever mistaking my ankles for a chew toy

Hundehaftpflichtversicherung, another excellent word to play in a German game of Hangman, but also essential if you have one or more four-legged family members living with you in Germany. You see, 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 a mandatory thing to have if you want to own a dog. This way, you’re covered for any damage your dog causes while chasing cats, mistaking my ankles for a chew toy and most other forms of damages you can think of.

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