Car insurance in Germany

Car insurance in Germany

In Germany, car insurance (Kfz-Versicherung) is mandatory. 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.

HaftpflichtTeilkaskoVollkasko
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.
Hit-and-runs
If another driver damages your vehicle, then runs away.
Vandalism
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.
optionaloptional
Damage to other people and vehicles
If you cause an accident, and you cause damage to other people, vehicles or property.

Haftpflicht

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

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

Partially comprehensive (Teilkasko) insurance is more expensive than Haftpflicht insurance, but it covers more things. It covers theft, fires and damage from natural catastrophes (earthquakes, floods, hail, etc)1. It also covers damage to your vehicle windows1. Usually, it doesn't cover vandalism1, 2. Each insurance policy is different. Some insurers let you choose what is covered.

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

Vollkasko

Comprehensive (Vollkasko) insurance also covers repairs to your own vehicle, even if the accident is your fault. It also covers vandalism, and hit-and-runs. Vollkasko insurance 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. If you don't speak German, use Joonko instead.

Once you have picked 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 save money on 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.

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 don't speak German, use Joonko instead.

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 must 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 cheaper.

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 only pay insurance for the months you are allowed to drive, so it's cheaper.

Get a Werkstattbindung

If you agree to a Werkstattbindung, you can save up to 20% on your car insurance1, 2. In many cases, you also get a free rental car while they repair your vehicle. However, if you have an accident, you must repair your car at a garage approved by your insurer.

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.

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 already 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.

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 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 don't speak German, use Joonko instead.

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?

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. 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?

Now that you understand how car insurance works in Germany, you are ready to buy a vehicle.