Five Insurance Policies that you can avail while living in Germany
There is a famous German saying that goes like this, “There’s no such thing as bad weather—only bad clothing”. German culture values being well-prepared. However, this cultural value may apply to more than just the weather; it may also be relevant to the German insurance industry. In Germany, insurance is quite important. Despite the presence of many social safety nets, society still expects individuals to take care of several things on their own. When attempting to determine what types of insurance they require, it’s typical for new entrants to experience feelings of frustration and overwhelm. Here are five different forms of coverage you might want to think about to help demystify this part of living in Germany.
1. Personal liability insurance (Private Haftpflichtversicherung)
When asking any German about the most crucial type of insurance, they will mention personal liability insurance, which 80% of Germans carry. This insurance provides financial protection in the event that you unintentionally harm someone else, their assets, or their property. In Germany, this kind of insurance is so popular that if you spill wine on someone’s pants while out, they might ask you to claim with your personal liability insurance to pay for the expense of cleaning. It’s not even a small bit odd or considered rude here. People typically assume that everyone is covered by personal liability insurance.
The good news is that personal liability insurance isn’t that expensive, especially when you take into account that it also covers more catastrophic situations, like if you unintentionally hurt someone who can no longer work and leave you responsible for all of their lost income. It also covers items like Mietsachschäden, which is damage to things like floors, windows, and doors that are structural component of a rental apartment. Even unintentional damage to vacation rentals is covered! Being ready for anything that life throws your way is always a good idea, especially if you’re living abroad.
2. Private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung or ‘PKV’)
Whether you’re employed or a student, Germany requires health insurance. The public health system in Germany is very modern, so if you become sick or have an accident, they will take good care of you. However, you have the choice to purchase private health insurance in its place if you work as a freelancer or are an employee and make more than a specific sum annually (for 2023: €66,600). Policyholders of private health insurance can see more doctors, virtually eliminate specialist waiting times, and have the guarantee of a single room if hospitalized. Like public health insurance, it also gives access to a wider range of surgeries and treatments.
3. Income protection insurance (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung)
The Federal Statistical Office figures that one in four Germans will experience an accident or sickness that prevents them from working in their current line of work for at least six consecutive months. A sizable portion of those who apply for income protection are struggling with a mental health condition like depression or burnout. To be prepared for this possibility, you’ll discover that many Germans also obtain income protection insurance. When you are unable to work, income protection insurance pays for all of your living expenses, including routine bills and groceries, providing you peace of mind so you can concentrate on getting better. When you purchase income protection insurance, the cost will depend on how young and healthy you are. A second personal safety net is a worthwhile investment.
4. Contents insurance (Hausratversicherung)
The majority of Germans will also advise you to purchase contents insurance. Content insurance protects your possessions inside your house against covered dangers. “Contents” refers to items such as furniture, electronics, and clothing. Typically, anything that spills out when your apartment or house is turned on its side is considered content. The insurance covers risks such as fire, storms, and theft. Imagine if your washing machine leaks all over your lovely chairs, a water pipe in your kitchen explodes, or you unintentionally leave a lighted candle unattended and start a little fire in your bedroom. Contents insurance will cover the financial expenses related to the damage. It’s necessary to understand that contents insurance does not cover the furnishings that come with a furnished apartment if you are renting one. Since they are the landlord’s property, your contents policy does not apply to them.
5. Pet health insurance (Tierkrankenversicherung)
You’ll be in good company if you’re travelling with a cat or dog since Germans are known for liking animals. However, the seriousness with which Germans treat their pets can occasionally translate into high expenses for veterinary care. If you’re a German pet owner, pet health insurance might be a wise investment. Pet health insurance offers a wide range of advantages. You can pay for operations, additional treatments, and preventative care depending on the level of coverage you select. For those who are travelling or need a veterinary visit at three in the morning, some providers also provide virtual 24/7 appointments.
Dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung)
It’s a smart idea to obtain canine liability insurance if you own a dog. (For starters, in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Thuringia, and Schleswig-Holstein it is a legal requirement.) If your dog unintentionally hurts another person, their property, or another dog, dog liability insurance will pay the charges.
With a growth in the number of English speakers residing and working in Germany, numerous insurance companies in that country have started to provide specialized services in that language. Living in Germany can end up being one of your greatest adventures. But as the Germans are aware, it’s always a good idea to be ready in case something goes wrong. Fortunately, being ready is simpler than you would think.
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