Optional insurance schemes
In Germany, there are two different types of insurance cover: social security and optional private insurance schemes.
Social security is usually mandatory and covers health insurance, pension schemes, unemployment benefits, accident and long-term care insurance schemes.
Health insurance, pension schemes, accident and long-term care insurance schemes in particular are also available as optional 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
- if you wish to obtain insurance cover over and above the level of social security benefits
Private companies offer also additional insurance schemes. Depending on individual circumstances, it is worth considering carefully whether such schemes are necessary and should be purchased.
In particular, on the subject of Third Party Liability please consider the following:
- In Germany, anyone can be held liable for damages caused culpably to a third party (liability for fault). Parents are liable for their children if they violate their duty of supervision, and children are criminally liable if deemed capable of appreciating the consequences of their actions. Many people therefore choose to take out private (family) insurance to insure against claims that may arise due to unintentional damage.
- In Germany every pet/animal owner is liable for damages caused by their pet/animal. (strict liability, § 833 BGB). This applies especially to dogs and horses. It is therefore usual for dog and horse owners to purchase a private animal-owner third party liability insurance policy.
Already existing insurance schemes
If you already have insurance schemes in place in your own country the following questions should be considered in respect of each policy:
- Does the insurance policy cover the stay in Germany?
- Is there a need for an alternative or additional insurance policy for the duration of the stay in Germany?
- Does it make sense to cancel, suspend or switch the existing policy to the entitlement rate in your own country for the duration of the stay in Germany?