German Insurance System

Social, liability or health insurance? These are the types of insurance you should have

Germany is often called the country of insurance – and rightly so. There is an insurance for almost every area and we would like to briefly introduce the most important ones here.

Social insurance

The German social security system includes unemployment, pension, health care, and accident insurance. Contributions to social insurances are required as soon as you work in. In general, all salaries from 520.01 EUR per month are subject to social insurance. If you earn more than this amount, you will find contributions to the various social insurances listed on your pay slip, and they will be deducted automatically from your salary. In addition, your health insurance company will send you a social security number by mail. You should keep this number, as you will need it again and again. If you are not employed and/or not subject to social insurance, you must take out the individual insurances yourself, should you need them.

Health insurance

Probably the most important and best-known insurance is health insurance. By law, all students and employees in Germany are required to provide proof of adequate health insurance coverage. An appropriate insurance policy can be acquired before entering the country. For students from third countries who must apply for a visa, a separate private health insurance is often necessary specifically for the visa application. You can find information about this on the website of the German mission abroad in your jurisdiction.

Students from the European Union or other countries with which a social security agreement exists can keep their existing insurance and do not have to obtain new insurance in Germany. To check the equivalence and to enable enrollment, you have to contact a statutory health insurance company in Germany and submit appropriate proof, such as your European Health Insurance Card or a corresponding insurance policy.

Students from countries without a social security agreement must obtain health insurance in Germany. The statutory health insurance companies offer special insurance rates for students. Of course, it is advisable to study the information and contract conditions carefully before accepting a policy and to contact an advisor at the respective health insurance company directly if you have any questions.

Students who are older than 30 can no longer join the relatively inexpensive statutory health insurance policies for students and must obtain another adequate offer instead. In this case, private health insurance is usually the best option. Please reach out to the Welcome Center. We will be happy to help you.

People who sign a German employment contract should obtain statutory health insurance in Germany. In a few exceptional cases, you can waive this and keep your health insurance from your home country or opt for a private health insurance policy. However, this is always determined on a case-by-case basis! Please contact the human resources department of your future employer directly to inquire about this.

PhD students and postdocs who do not sign an employment contract cannot join the statutory health insurance at student rates, even if they are enrolled. In these cases, an adequate alternative must be sought, typically through a private health insurance company. If you have any questions, please contact our Welcome Center!

Liability insurance

Private liability insurance is a damage insurance that pays for the costs of damage caused to other persons through no fault of one’s own. It is not included in the social insurance and is, therefore, not financed from the wages of an employment subject to social insurance. For a detailed explanation and examples of when liability insurance makes sense, see the Simple Germany article. Getting liability insurance is recommended, as it has a relatively low annual premium, which can mean you save a lot of money in the event of an accident. Some landlords now insist on such insurance before you can sign a lease.

Other insurances

You can find an overview of other types insurance that might be suitable for you on the Make it in Germany website. Of course, it is always an individual decision which types of insurance are necessary for you. Therefore, you should get good advice and consider your personal situation before buying an insurance policy.

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