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Living in Europe, Working in EuropeEntry conditions/visasGermany

Social Security and Optional Insurances

Insurance policies play an important role in life in Germany. In addition to social social security, which can include compulsory insurance coverage such as health insurance, further optional polices can also play an important role in everyday life.  

  • Social insurance in Germany covers health insurance, pension schemes, unemployment benefits, accident as well as long-term care insurance.

    Social Insurance Coverage (Who Has to be Insured?)

    Social insurance is usually mandatory for all employees in Germany. Therefore, reserachers who are employed in Germany via an employment contract take part in the complete German social insurance system. Researchers on a fellowship are generally exempt from the obligation of paying contributionsto the German social insurance system. However, this does not mean that they do not need to be insured-- it is, for example, still a legal requirement to have health insurance. 

    On this page you will find information about insurance requirements for researchers depending on the basis of their stay in Germany. 

    Further Information

  • With regards to insurance, it is important to differenciate between social insurance and optional private insurances. Some forms of social insurance are also available as optional insurance schemes, as these are not always compulsory. Especially health insurance, pension insurance, accident insurance and long-term care insurance are also offered as private insurance policies. 

    When are optional insurance policies an option? 

    As private insurance policies, these can supplement or be an alternative to compulsory social insurance plans, when:

    • the insurance is not manditory in the specific case or

    • you want to insure yourself beyond the scope covered by social insurance.

    Whether or not a social insurance requirement applies must be checked on a case-by-case basis. Generally, anyone who is spending their research stay on the basis of an employment contract will be subject to compulsory social insurance requirements. In cases where a pure stipend or fellowship is being awarded, researchers are generally freed from social insurance obligations. 

    Further types of insurance policies

    There are a number of types of optional insurance that can help provide insurance protection in daily life while in Germany, such as:

    Further Information Regarding Optional Insurances 

    Insurance providers are generally required to explain their policies to you thoroughly before you sign up. Especially in cases where you may apply for a policy online, it is generally recommended that you read the conditions thoroughly.

    Insurance brokers may also help you to find the right policies for your specific situation.These brokers are not contractually obliged to specific insurance providers. 

    The German Association of the Insured (Bund der Versicherten) provides, in addition to information about the types of optional insurance polices listed here, a free necessity check (Bedarfscheck) where you can get information on types of insurance that might make sense for you. All services are provided only in German. 

    More detailed information from the German Association of the Insured can also be found on the following pages (in German): 

    Third-Party-Liability, Accident and Legal Insurances

    Contents, Building and Construction Insurances

    Survivors' Insurance

    Vehicle Insurance

Further Information