Here you will find information on the most important insurances for your stay in Germany. In particular
- health insurance,
- pension insurance and
- liability insurance
are explained in more detail.
Health insurance is compulsory in Germany.
Not only academics from abroad, but also accompanying family members must therefore have sufficient insurance cover. Health insurance must cover medical treatment for both acute illnesses and accidents, but not treatment for pre-existing conditions. In the case of pre-existing conditions, the patient usually has to bear the costs himself/herself. Therefore, medicines for the treatment of pre-existing conditions, for example, should already be purchased in the home country.
Please note that you must present proof of health insurance to the immigration authorities in order to obtain a residence permit.
- Does my previous insurance cover medical and hospital costs in Germany?
Contact the insurance company in your home country to find out whether it also covers medical and hospital costs incurred during your stay abroad in Germany. This is often the case for shorter stays of less than three months. The insurance company must then confirm in writing that it will provide insurance coverage for you in Germany. However, if the insurance coverage does not cover your stay in Germany, you will need to take out additional insurance.
For longer stays where you declare your residence in Germany, the following applies:
Every person residing in Germany is required to take out health insurance with an insurance company licensed in Germany, unless he or she has statutory health insurance or is entitled to assistance under civil service law.
In this case, you should take out health insurance in Germany.
It is recommended that you contact a health insurance company before entering Germany.
- How do I find the right health insurance?
Public and private health insurance
There are two types of insurance in Germany: statutory and private health insurance. There is a wide range of insurance companies to choose from. Statutory health insurance is compulsory for employees in Germany up to a certain income limit. The general annual income limit is currently 64,350 EUR gross ( as of 2022).
If your income is above this limit, you can choose between statutory and private health insurance, provided the other requirements are met.
The contribution rate for statutory health insurance has been 14.6% since 01.01.2019. Under certain circumstances, health insurance companies may charge additional contributions. Health insurance contributions (including possible additional contributions) are borne equally by employees and employers (as of January 2022).
In contrast, private health insurers often differ significantly from each other in terms of both contributions and benefits. We therefore recommend that you inform yourself carefully in advance and compare several offers.
- Staying with an employment contract
If you are employed under an employment contract, you are generally subject to compulsory German health insurance.
- Residence with a scholarship
If you are on a scholarship, you can only take out private health insurance. You should ask your scholarship provider for recommendations.
- Regulations for EU citizens
For longer-term stays abroad (for example, a research stay for the duration of a semester or year) within the European Union as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, the following applies instead of the European Health Insurance Card:
If you have statutory health insurance in your home country, your home health insurance fund will issue form S1 (formerly: E 106) upon request. You can use this form to register yourself and your family members with a German health insurance fund. The German health insurance fund will then provide you with all the benefits to which a German health insurance fund member is entitled. The German health insurance fund then invoices its costs to the domestic health insurance fund.
For those with statutory health insurance in Germany and family members in their country of origin, the German health insurance fund will issue form S1 (formerly: E 106) upon request. With the help of this form, the family members who have remained in the country of origin can claim the benefits of the statutory health insurance free of charge. The health insurance company in the home country will then invoice the German health insurance company for the costs.
For reasons of competition, the Welcome Service of the International Office is not allowed to recommend certain health insurance companies.
However, here are some helpful links for you:
A list of all statutory health insurance companies in Germany can be found here.
A list of all private health insurance companies in Germany can be found here.
(Source: Euraxess Germany)
The pension insurance is part of the statutory social insurance in Germany.
If you are employed as a staff member at the University of Augsburg or at another employer in Germany and have a full- or part-time job, your employer will automatically deduct pension insurance contributions from your gross salary.
Crediting of pension periods
EU member states, EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), Switzerland and treaty partners must take into account pension periods completed in Germany when checking their eligibility requirements.
Insurance periods from a state with which the Federal Republic of Germany has not concluded a social security agreement cannot be added together with German insurance periods to meet the eligibility requirements.
If you have worked in different states in the course of your professional life and paid contributions to the respective social security system, you should enquire about your entitlements in good time with the insurance institutions of the individual states. Note that the minimum periods (i.e., the number of years of contributions) for a pension entitlement may vary from country to country.
As a general rule, there is no provision for payment of a total pension by one state taking into account periods of insurance in the other states. Exceptions exist only to avoid small pensions. Therefore, in each country where you have been insured and have paid pension insurance contributions, the pension insurance contributions will continue until you reach the retirement age provided for by the legislation of that state. The insurance institution of each state grants pensions according to its national regulations. This means that you may receive different pensions.
Refund of pension contributions
If you return to a country with which there is no social security agreement, you can have your pension contributions paid in Germany refunded.
After a waiting period of 2 years, you can apply to the German Pension Insurance for a refund of contributions.
Private Liability Insurance
The Welcome Service recommends taking out private liability insurance, even though it is not legally required.
Despite liability insurance not being mandatory by law in Germany, most people living here decide to take out one, as everybody is liable for compensating any damage caused intentionally or unintentionally according to German law. We highly recommend being insured with a private liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung), since damage can be caused anytime, and thus, having a private liability insurance, which protects you from the financial consequences, is crucial. Some housing providers require you to have private liability insurance anyways.
You can find information about various insurance types, including liability insurances, in this brochure (liability insurance page 11 to 13).
This insurance type covers costs incurred through person damage (Personenschäden), object damage (Sachschäden) and wealth damage (Vermögensschäden).
Although German law does not specify an upper level of damage coverage for the other person to which you have accidentally caused damage, opting for a cheap insurance package might be a bad idea. We recommend picking a private liability insurance offer which would cover damages to a high cost as possible, at least 10 million Euros (according to this German-language Check24 guide).
Private liability insurance usually:
- covers the costs of restoring or replacing the damaged objects
- covers the costs for consequential damage such as loss of use
- covers (in the case of injured persons):
- salvage costs
- treatment costs
- loss of earnings
- conversion costs of flat or house
- often also compensation for pain and suffering or a lifelong pension
- defends against unfounded claims for damages
Examples on what is covered by private liability insurance:
- You accidentally drop your friend’s phone and you have to replace it (object damage)
- You run over a pedestrian with your bike (object damage, person damage)
- You damage the wooden floor of your apartment while moving in (object damage)
The coverage of a private liability insurance varies and can be found in the insurance contract, so make sure to check that before signing anything.
In general, private liability insurance doesn’t cover:
- damage caused intentionally
- purely contractual obligations, such as the right to repayment of a loan
- fines and penalties
- damage caused by a motor vehicle (this is what motor vehicle liability is for)
- damage caused by the use of a watercraft/aircraft ⇒ special liability insurances
- damages caused by dogs or big animals, like horses for instance ⇒ special liability insurances
- damage caused by extreme sports/dangerous sports ⇒ special liability insurances
A private liability insurance usually covers the policy holder and their spouse, as well as their children. Small pets like cats or birds are also included, but dogs and bigger animals like horses need to be insured separately. Please make sure to check exactly who and what is insured before signing a contract.
The cost of purchasing liability insurance in Germany depends on several elements, such as:
- the type of liability insurance
- the extent of coverage
- which insurance provider
Private liability insurance is comparatively cheap, despite it being the second most important in Germany after health insurance. Overall, the regular monthly price for this type of insurance varies between 3€ to 6€ on average, or less than 100€ annually.
Unfortunately, no. Make sure to consider how long you are planning to stay in Germany before signing any contract, as it is very difficult to get out of a liability insurance contract before the agreed term has ended.
Due to the highly dynamic situation, we don't recommend to take out liability insurance before having arrived in Germany.
Please note that we cannot make any recommendations for any liability insurances.
Check24 is a useful (German language only!) platform for comparing different insurance providers.
Please also note that the reference to Check24 is not exhaustive and the Welcome Service strongly recommends that you carefully compare different insurance providers before making a decision.
Only symbols in darker blue color are included in the private liability insurance;
regarding the other symbols, a special supplementary liability insurance is required.