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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
There are hundreds of health insurance options. The best option depends on your situation, and your plans for the future.
- 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.
- Talk to a health insurance broker, who will help you choose the best option for your situation. Their help is free.
- If it still makes sense, get a quote from Ottonova, and decide if it works for you.