Accident insurance

Living in Europe, Working in Europe | Entry conditions/visas, Health insurance, Medical care | Germany

Accident insurance ("Unfallversicherung") is part of the statutory social security contributions. The legal basis is laid out in Book VII of the German Social Code ("Sozialgesetzbuch"). The most important object of accident insurance is to cover you in the event of accidents at work; it does not apply to private accidents.

The obligation to hold insurance is therefore mostly linked to employment activity.

Please see § 2 SGB VII for details of the persons covered within the statutory accident insurance.

Pursuant to § 2 para. 2 sentence 1 SGB VII in conjunction with para. 1 no. 1, persons in an employment relationship without being employees in the sense of the law are also covered by the statutory accident insurance.

This formulation has been defined more precisely by the courts. Thus the statutory accident insurance also covers persons performing an activity that

  • is more or less temporary, serious and essential to the company and of economic value,
  • corresponds with the actual and presumed will of the company,
  • given its nature, can be performed by persons in an employment relationship that can be attributed to the general work market,
  • is performed under such circumstances that the activity is similar to an employment relationship ("employment-like" activity).

Statutory accident insurance contributions are deducted from salaries at source. Employees do not have to worry about them. The employer registers his employees with the respective Employer's Liability Insurance Association.

Fellowships are usually exempt from compulsory social security payments. They have no influence on the assessment of accident insurance protection.

Doctoral and habilitation candidates are covered by the statutory accident insurance anyway as doctoral and habilitation students pursuant to § 2 para. 1 no. 8c SGB VII. As a rule, they must be enrolled at the institution concerned. (cf. information sheet on accident insurance for students, doctoral and habilitation candidates on the extent of insurance coverage).

Statutory accident insurance does not cover private accidents. Depending on your country of origin and type of research activity, the statutory accident insurance from your own country may not be valid for the duration of your stay in Germany.

In order to close these gaps between private and occupational accident insurance coverage, we recommend that you obtain private accident insurance in Germany or your own country. As a matter of principle, obtaining private accident insurance is the researcher's own responsibility. A research institution or the organisation granting a fellowship may opt to provide accident insurance for the researcher.

When obtaining private accident insurance, please pay special attention to the following aspects:

  • coverage of accidents in Germany
  • coverage of accidents while travelling to your own country or third countries
  • coverage valid for the specific type and duration of your research stay (use caution with traditional travel insurance!)
  • coverage of work accidents if they are not covered by statutory accident insurance
  • coverage of accidents that might occur under the specific circumstances or your research activity (e.g. lab accidents)
  • exclusions of liability, e.g. for dangerous activities or sports


Further information

  • Statutory accident insurance
    Information on benefits and services of the German statutory accident insurance
    German social accident insurance (DGUV)
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
    Health, liability, and accident insurance available to foreign scientists sponsored, supported or represented by members of DAAD or DAAD Partner Organizations
    DAAD Group Insurance Scheme