If you work in Germany, you are obligated to pay social security contributions (Sozialversicherungsbeiträge). This contribution is part of a social security system for employees. For students, it is mandatory to have health insurance (§ 5 Abs. 1 Nr. 9 SGB V). The most important optional insurance in Germany is the Private Liability Insurance (Private Haftpflichtversicherung). We briefly introduce you to the most important insurances in Germany.
This is divided into 5 sectors
1. Government Health Insurance or Private Health insurance (Gesetzliche oder Private Krankenversicherung)
(§ 5 Abs. 1 Nr. 1 SGB V)
There is a government and a private health insurance system in Germany, and each system has certain conditions (if your gross salary is less than 59,400 € per year or 4,950 € per month in 2018, your membership in the Government Health Insurance System is mandatory). You can choose to register with one of the 113 different Gesetzlichen Krankenkassen. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages that you should review in advance.
2. Statutory nursing care insurance (Gesetzliche Pflegeversicherung)
(§ 20 f. SGB XI)
The statutory nursing care insurance is provided by the same company as your health insurance. This means you do not have to search for insurance by yourself.
3. German Statutory Pension Insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung)
(§§ 1 f. SGB VI)
In Germany, you must be a member of in the German Pension Insurance for at least 5 years to be entitled to a pension.
It is also possible that the insured periods in another EU Member State may count towards the insured periods of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung.
4. Unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung)
(§ 118 SGB III)
In order to receive unemployment benefits, there are different conditions: you need to be unemployed and register yourself as unemployed at the Federal Labour Agency, and you must also have had at least one year of employment.
5. Statutory accident insurance (Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung)
The calculation is based on gross income. In general, you can say that 50 % of the costs are paid by the employer and the other 50 % by the employee, which is automatically deducted from your salary. Only the statutory accident insurance is completely paid by the employer.
If you are unemployed and you receive unemployment benefits, the Federal Labour Agency pays your social security contributions, and you have the same services. It is absolutely important that you register as unemployed on time, otherwise you will have to pay the charges completely on your own.
The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs provides more information about the Social Security System in Germany.
Obligatory insurance as a student
Do not forget to ask your Health insurance in your home country about the procedure when you move to Germany. If you move to Germany from another member state of the EU or the European Economic Area, you may have the ability to recognize your prior health insurance as German health insurance. As proof of your insurance cover, you would receive the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
If you have a student job where you earn 450 € or more, you have to pay the social security contributions as an employee (see above).
If you plan on leaving Germany, it is important that you terminate your insurance on time, otherwise there is a risk of high costs.
Optional private insurance in Germany
The private liability insurance can provide coverage if you knock over a vase while you are visiting a friend. We recommend that you only purchase annually renewable polices and a limit of indemnity for a single person with at least 5 Mio. €. There are different comparison portals where you can check the costs.
The Household Contents Insurance provides security for your home and your belongings, such as laptops and furniture. The calculation base for your Household Contents Insurance is the value of all your belongings in your household.
Compulsory insurance in Germany
If you want to register a car in Germany, you are required by law to have car insurance. Here, you can find more information due to the registration of cars in the EU.