Types of insurance in Germany

This is an overview of the common types of insurance in Germany, and why they are important.

Liability insurance

If you cause financial damage to other people, liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) pays for fixing the damages.

For example:

  • You scratch someone’s car with your shopping cart.
  • Your child breaks something expensive in a store.
  • Your computer chair destroys the floor in the apartment you rent.
  • Someone slips in your driveway and breaks their leg.

If someone gets hurt because of you, you might pay thousands or even millions of euros in reparations. This is why liability insurance is so important.

83% of Germans have liability insurance.6 It costs around 5€ per month.

Feather and Getsafe sell liability insurance, and they speak English. Both options are fine. Both insurers speak English. I have insurance with Feather, but Getsafe is a little better: they sell their own insurance, their website clearly explains what it covers, and the contract is in English.

How to choose liability insurance

Professional liability insurance

Private liability insurance does not cover you at work.

If you are self-employed and you make a mistake, your clients can sue you. Professional liability insurance (Berufshaftpflichtversicherung) protects you against that. It’s required for doctors, architects, lawyers and some other professions.1

If you are an employee, you don’t need professional liability insurance. Your employer’s insurance covers you at work.2

Dog liability insurance

Dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung) pays for the damages caused by your dog. It’s sometimes called pet liability insurance or pet owner liability insurance (Tierhaftpflichtversicherung or Tierhalterhaftpflichtversicherung).

Dog liability insurance is required in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Thuringia. Some states only require dog liability insurance for dangerous breeds.

Having a dog in Berlin

Dog liability insurance costs around 5€ per month. You sometimes pay less if you combine private liability insurance and dog liability insurance.

If you don’t speak German, Feather and Getsafe sell dog liability insurance and they speak English. They also cover dangerous breeds. Use Tarifcheck to compare prices.

Home contents insurance (Hausratversicherung)

Home contents insurance or household insurance (Hausratversicherung) insures your furniture, your appliances, and the other movable things in your house. It costs around 5€ per month.

For example:3

  • There is a fire on your building, and you lose everything you have.
  • A water leak destroys your furniture and electronics.
  • A thief breaks into your house and steals your things.

It sometimes covers laptops and bicycles away from home. It sometimes covers calling a locksmith when you lock yourself out.

Get this insurance if you can’t afford to replace everything after a fire. 76% of Germans have it.4

If you don’t speak German, Feather and Getsafe sell household insurance, and they speak English. Use Tarifcheck to compare options.

Health insurance (Krankenversicherung)

Health insurance is required for all German residents. It pays for your healthcare when you need it.

The best way to find health insurance is to talk to an independent broker. Their services are free; they get a commission from the insurance company when you sign a contract.

How to choose German health insurance

Pet health insurance (Tierkrankenversicherung)

Pet health insurance (Tierkrankenversicherung or Hundekrankenversicherung) covers the veterinary bills if your dog gets sick. Usually, it does not cover routine operations like vaccines or castration.5 However, it covers expensive operations. This can be important when your dog gets old.

The price of pet insurance depends on the age, race and sex of your dog. It costs around 20€ per month if your dog is still young.

If you don’t speak German, Getsafe and Feather sell pet health insurance, and they speak English. Use Tarifcheck to compare options.

Guide for Berlin dog owners

Car insurance (Kfz-Versicherung)

If you drive a vehicle in Germany, it must be insured. There are two types of car insurance: Vollkasko and Teilkasko.

  • Vollkasko insurance covers the damage to your car and to other cars, even if the accident is your fault. If you destroy your car in an accident, the insurance company will replace it. Vollkasko insurance is usually several times more expensive than Teilkasko.
  • Teilkasko insurance only covers the damage to other people and vehicles. If you cause an accident, your Teilkasko will pay to fix other people’s cars, but it will not pay you to on your own car. If the accident is someone else’s fault, their insurance will pay for the repairs on your car.

Some Teilkasko insurances also cover theft and vandalism. Read your policy carefully, and make sure it covers the right things for you.

Use Verivox or Tarifcheck to compare car insurances. If you don’t speak German, Getsafe sells car insurance, and they speak English.

Car insurance in Germany

Disability insurance (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung)

This translates to “professional disability insurance”. If you have an accident and can’t do your job anymore, this insurance will help you. For example, if you are a surgeon and you lose a finger, this insurance can be useful. It’s also useful for office workers who can suffer from burnout.

This insurance makes sense if you have people who depend on you, or a mortgage to pay. If you can’t work, you can still take care of your family. Around 26% of Germans have disability insurance.4

If you don’t speak German, Feather and Getsafe sell disability insurance, and they speak English. Tarifcheck helps you compare options, but it’s only in German.

Life insurance (Lebensversicherung)

Life insurance pays money to your family when you die. It’s not useful for you, but it’s useful for the people who depend on you. If you have people who depend on you financially, then life insurance is really important. Life insurance is cheap when you are young, but more expensive when you get older.

Feather sells life insurance, and they speak English.

Legal insurance gives you free access to a lawyer. If you have a problem with your landlord, your employer, the tax office or anyone else, you can call a lawyer. You can ask them questions, they can write letters for you, and they can go to court with you. Legal insurance will pay for it.

There is private legal insurance (for you), and professional legal insurance (for your business). Private legal insurance costs around 15€ per month. Professional legal insurance is more expensive. The price depends on the type of business.

Around 46% of Germans have legal insurance.4 It’s not as important as liability insurance, but it’s good to have.

If you don’t speak German, Feather and Getsafe offer legal insurance, and they speak English. Use Tarifcheck to compare options.

How legal insurance works

Sources and footnotes
  1. dieversicherer.de 

  2. dieversicherer.de 

  3. ruv.de 

  4. gdv.de 

  5. verbraucherzentrale.de 

  6. handelsblatt.com