In Germany, car insurance (Kfz-Versicherung) is mandatory. It's part of the cost of owning a car in Germany. If your vehicle is not insured, you can't register it, and you can't drive it. This guide shows you how to choose insurance for your car or motorcycle.

Types of vehicle insurance

There are three levels of vehicle insurance in Germany: Haftpflicht, Teilkasko and Vollkasko. Each level covers different things.

Damage to your own vehicle in an accident
If the accident is your fault. For example, if you hit a lamp pole, or crash into another vehicle.
If another driver damages your vehicle, then runs away.
If someone vandalises your vehicle.
Theft and break-in attempts
If someone steals your car, or damages it while trying to steal it.
Damage from fires and natural events
If a fire, flood, hail storm or other natural event damages your vehicle.
Broken or cracked windows
Collisions with wild animals
If you hit a wild animal while driving, or if an animal damages your vehicle.
Gross negligence
If you cause an accident because of gross negligence. For example if you use your phone while driving, or if you run a red light1. It does not cover drunk driving1.
Damage to other people and vehicles
If you cause an accident, and you cause damage to other people, vehicles or property.


Liability (Haftpflicht) insurance only covers the minimum. It covers the damage to other people, vehicles and property. It does not cover damage to your own vehicle. It's much cheaper than Teilkasko or Vollkasko,

For example, if you crash into another car, your insurance will pay to repair the other car. It will not pay to repair your car. If someone else crashes into your parked car, their insurance will pay for your repairs. If someone crashes into your car, then drives away, your insurance won't pay for the repairs.

Haftpflicht insurance does not cover theft, vandalism, or damage from fires, storms or floods1. It only covers the bare minimum, and that's why it's much cheaper.

Vehicle liability insurance (Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung) is not the same as private liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung). Private liability insurance does not cover you while you drive.

Teilkasko insurance makes sense if you want to pay as little insurance as possible.


Partially comprehensive (Teilkasko) also covers theft, fires and damage from natural catastrophes (earthquakes, floods, hail, etc)1. It also covers damage to your vehicle windows1. Usually, it does not cover vandalism1, 2. Each insurance policy is different. Some insurers let you choose what is covered.

Teilkasko is more expensive than Haftpflicht insurance, but cheaper than Vollkasko.

Teilkasko insurance makes more sense for older vehicles1. For new vehicles, Vollkasko makes more sense.


Comprehensive (Vollkasko) insurance also covers damage to your own vehicle, even if the accident is your fault. It also covers vandalism, and hit-and-runs. It costs almost twice as much as Teilkasko insurance1.

Vollkasko insurance makes more sense for new vehicles1.

How to pick German car insurance

Use Verivox or Tarifcheck to compare car insurance prices.

You can also talk to an insurance broker. They can help you transfer your driving experience from another country. You will get a much better price for your car insurance. Few brokers sell car insurance, because it's not profitable.

After you pick the right insurance, ask for an eVB number. You will get it in less than a day1. When you buy a vehicle and register it at the Kfz-Zulassungsstelle, you must have that eVB number.

How to pay less for German car insurance

Combine your insurance policies

If you have multiple vehicles, it's often cheaper to insure them with the same company. You can also combine it with your liability insurance and home contents insurance.

Use your parents' car insurance

If your parents live in Germany, they can insure your car as their second vehicle (Zweitwagen), and register you as an additional driver (Zusatz­fahrer)1, 2. Your parents will pay less for car insurance, because they have more driving experience. If you are under 25 years old, you can save a lot of money this way1.

Some insurance companies also offer discounts for the children of existing customers1, 2. Ask for a Familientarife.

Look for cheaper insurance every year

Your car insurance is renewed automatically each year on January 1. You have until November 30 to cancel it1. Every year in November, you should look for cheaper car insurance. Use Verivox or Tarifcheck to compare car insurance prices.

If you sell the vehicle, you can end the insurance immediately1. You do not need to wait until the end of the year. If you buy a used vehicle, you don't need to keep the same insurance contract. You can choose your own insurance1.

Choose a higher deductible

The deductible (Selbstbeteiligung) is the amount you pay yourself, before your insurance helps you. For example, if you have a 300€ deductible, and you cause 2500€ in damages, you will pay 300€, and your insurance will pay the remaining 2200€.

If you choose a higher deductible, your car insurance will be cheaper1. Finanztip recommends a 150€ to 300€ deductible. This would make your car insurance 18% to 25% cheaper1.

Pay yearly, not monthly

Make yearly payments instead of monthly payments. If you make yearly payments, you will pay 4% to 9% less1.

Get Saisonkennzeichen

Seasonal plates (Saisonkennzeichen) are vehicle registration plates that only let you drive during certain months. For example, a motorcycle can have Saisonkennzeichen from April to October, or March to November. You don't pay insurance for the months you can't drive, so it's cheaper. Out of season, you can't drive the vehicle, and you can't park it in public spaces1. You must put it in storage, or find a private parking space.

Get a Werkstattbindung

If you agree to a Werkstattbindung, you can save 10% to 20% on your car insurance1, 2, 3. If you have an accident, you must repair your car at a garage approved by your insurer. In many cases, you get better service with a Werkstattbindung. For example, you can get a free rental car while they repair your vehicle. Your claims might also be approved faster.

This option is only available for Teilkasko and Vollkasko insurance1. Haftpflicht insurance does not cover repairs to your own vehicle.

Be a good driver

If you are a new driver, you will pay more for insurance. If you have more driving experience, and never have accidents, your insurance gets cheaper1, 2, 3. German insurance companies give every driver a class (Schadenfreiheitsklasse). If you don't make any claims, your Schadenfreiheitsklasse gets higher every year. A high Schadenfreiheitsklasse means that you are a safe driver. If you have a high Schadenfreiheitsklasse, you pay less for insurance.

Damages that are not your fault don't affect your Schadenfreiheitsklasse1. For example, if your insurance pays to fix a crack in your windshield, it does not affect your Schadenfreiheitsklasse. Your car insurance will not get more expensive.

Years without claimsSchadenfreiheitsklasseDiscount
2 yearsSF2~15%
3 yearsSF3~30%
4 yearsSF4~40%
5 to 8 yearsSF5 to SF845 to 50%
9 to 15 yearsSF9 to SF1555 to 60%
16 to 25 yearsSF16 to SF2565 to 70%
26 years or moreSF26 and above75 to 80%

If you have driving experience in other another EU country, tell your insurance company. They will count it as driving experience, and your insurance will be cheaper. Otherwise, you will be treated as a new driver, and your insurance will be more expensive. Each insurer has different rules for recognizing driving experience. They all ask for different documents.

Expat Car Insurance specialises in this. They help you find car insurance that recognises your driving experience. Most insurance brokers avoid this, because it's a lot of work and it does not pay well.

If you have driving experience with car sharing, tell your insurance company. Some insurance companies count car sharing as driving experience, so your insurance will be cheaper1, 2, 3.

If you have a motorcycle, tell your insurance company. It will make your car insurance cheaper1. Insurance for a second vehicle (Zweitwagen) is also much cheaper.

If you switch to a different insurance company, you will not lose your Schadenfreiheitsklasse1.

Deduct it from your taxes

In some cases, you can deduct vehicle insurance in your Steuererklärung1, 2. If you are a permanent employee, you can deduct part of your car insurance. If you are self-employed and only use the vehicle for work, you can deduct the full amount1. You can only do this if you own the vehicle and the insurance policy. This page (in German) has more information. A tax advisor can also help you with this.

If you forgot to declare it, don't worry. You can do it later, retroactively1.

What do I do if I get in a car accident in Germany?

If someone is injured in the accident, you should call 112 (the police).

You should then fill a European accident report (Europäischer Unfallbericht). Write down the other person's name, address and plate number1. Take a lot of pictures, and note the exact location of the accident1.

If you have questions about insurance, call the Zentralruf der Autoversicherer (+4940300330300 or 08002502600). They can help you find the insurance details of the other person, even in other EU countries1. This is a free service. It's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week1. They speak English1.

How to cancel car insurance

Your car insurance is renewed automatically every year on January 1. You have until November 30 to cancel it. Every year in November, you should look for cheaper insurance. Use Verivox or Tarifcheck to compare car insurance prices.

If you sell your vehicle, you can cancel your vehicle insurance immediately. You do not need to wait until December 31.

What else should I know?

Insurance Green Card

If you want to drive outside the European Union, you will need a Green Card (Grüne Karte). This document lists the countries in which your car insurance is valid. It looks like this. When you leave the European Union, you must show your green card at the border control. This map shows which countries accept Green Cards. In other countries, you might need to buy car insurance at the border.

You can request a Green Card from your car insurance company. This is usually free1.

What's next?

Before you buy a vehicle, you must also think about other costs like maintenance, tires, fuel and taxes.