Optional insurance schemes
There are two different types of insurance cover: social security and private insurance schemes.
Social security is usually mandatory and covers health insurance, pension schemes, unemployment benefits, accident and nursing care insurance schemes.
Health insurance, pension schemes, accident and nursing care insurance schemes in particular are also available as private insurance schemes. In these areas a private insurance scheme may be considered as an alternative or addition to social security schemes, if
- there is no relevant statutory insurance scheme or
- you wish to obtain insurance cover over and above the level of social security benefits
Whether there is a mandatory statutory insurance scheme must be checked in each particular case: as a rule, if you undertake your research stay on the basis of an employment contract you are subject to mandatory statutory insurance schemes. In contrast, if you exclusively receive a fellowship, you are generally exempt from the requirement to pay social security contributions.
Besides the aforementioned social security, private companies offer additional insurance schemes. Depending on individual circumstances, it is worth considering carefully whether such schemes are necessary and should be purchased.
Already existing insurance schemes
If you already have insurance schemes in place in Germany the following questions should be considered in respect of each policy:
- Does the insurance policy cover the stay in the country of activity?
- Is there a need for an alternative or additional insurance policy for the duration of the stay abroad?
- Does it make sense to cancel, suspend or switch the existing policy to the entitlement rate in Germany for the duration of the stay abroad?