Should you trust Ottonova? An objective review

Ottonova is an insurance company in Germany. They sell private health insurance and dental insurance.

They are popular with immigrants for 3 reasons:

  • They speak English
  • Their health insurance is valid for a residence permit application
  • They advertise everywhere

This guide explains why Ottonova is not that great, and what you should choose instead.

Why does everyone recommend Ottonova?

Because they get paid to do it. If a blogger convinces you to buy Ottonova insurance, they get 500€.1 If they say bad things about Ottonova, you don’t choose Ottonova, and they don’t make 500€. Other companies also do this; Ottonova just pays better.

That does not mean that Ottonova is bad, but it means that these recommendations are not honest. Most bloggers are not Ottonova customers, and they know nothing about German health insurance. They don’t try to inform you, they try to sell you something.

This review is fair and honest. I have talked with many health insurance brokers, I have read hundreds of Ottonova reviews, and I have read their financial documents. I tell you the facts, and you decide what to do.

What should you know?

It’s private health insurance

Ottonova sells private health insurance. It’s not always the best option for you, even when it’s cheaper than public health insurance.

In many cases, public health insurance is the best option. Before you choose health insurance, understand how German health insurance works and talk to a insurance broker. If you are self-employed, do not choose health insurance without help.

It’s accepted by the immigration office

When you apply for a German residence permit, you need valid health insurance.

Ottonova’s health insurance works for all residence permit applications, including the freelance visa, the work visa and the Blue Card. It’s also accepted when you renew your residence permit. Ottonova confirms this on their home page. I confirmed it independently.

Health insurance for a residence permit application

It’s expensive

Compared to other private health insurances, Ottonova is expensive for what you get. You can get a better deal with other insurers.

Talk to a insurance broker to find a cheaper option. Be careful; choosing the cheapest option can be a serious mistake, and cost you a lot of money later.

They speak English

Ottonova has 24/7 English-speaking customer service. If you don’t speak German, this is very important.

Public health insurers like Techniker Krankenkasse, AOK and Barmer unofficially have English-speaking customer service. Their website is in German, but you can easily get help in English.

If you get health insurance from an English-speaking insurance broker, you can always get help from your broker. They can help you make insurance claims, and answer your insurance questions.

It’s a young insurance company

Ottonova is a very small health insurer, and it’s not profitable. They lost 1.5 million euros in 2018, 2.4 million in 2019, 3.1 million euros in 2020, and 2.1 million euros in 2021. Ottonova is growing fast, but for now, it’s losing money.6

They are in business since 2017.2 In 2018, they had 406 members.3 In 2019, they had 4,480 members, but only 860 had health insurance.4 In 2021, they had 14,050 members, but only 1,854 had health insurance.5 This is very little for a health insurer.

Small health insurers are riskier. In 2010, a private health insurer with 25,000 members almost went bankrupt because of two sick patients.7 City BKK’s bankruptcy shows what happens to you if your health insurer goes bankrupt.

If you only live in Germany for a few years, this is not important. If you plan to live in Germany for a long time, choose a stable health insurer.


Ottonova is okay. It’s not bad, but it’s also not special. You can get a quote from Ottonova, and decide if it works for you. You might get a better deal if you talk to a insurance broker.


  • They have 24/7 customer service in English.
  • It’s valid for a visa or residence permit application.


  • It’s a small, unprofitable health insurer.
  • It’s not the cheapest health insurer.
  • It’s not special. There are hundreds of other options.

Other options

There are hundreds of health insurance options. The best option depends on your situation, and your plans for the future.

You should:

  1. Understand how to choose health insurance, and which health insurance you need for your residence permit. My health insurance calculator shows what your options are.
  2. Talk to a health insurance broker, who will help you choose the best option for your situation. Their help is free.
  3. If it still makes sense, get a quote from Ottonova, and decide if it works for you.
Sources and footnotes






  7. Wikipedia