What Every Expat in Germany Should Know
Moving to Germany requires a lot of preparation. You need to find a place to live, get a German phone plan, make new friends and get a German bank account. But there are a few other things you should know before moving to Germany…
Table of Contents:
- You need German HEALTH insurance.
- The reason Germans have Private LIABILITY insurance
- How to pay less for German CAR insurance
- The best way to TRANSFER money to your German bank account
1. You need German HEALTH insurance.
Everyone living in Germany needs health insurance — it’s the law. Whether you’re a citizen of German or not, you need to be insured with a German health insurance company. It’s compulsory. Furthermore, non-EU citizens usually have to show proof of German health insurance in order to get a visa/residency permit in Germany. Therefore, it’s also important to make sure your health insurance company fulfills the visa/residency permit requirements for Germany.
Germany has public health insurance and private health insurance. Most people in Germany, about 90% of the population, have public health insurance. The remaining 10% of the population has private health insurance. Before moving to Germany, make sure you’re familiar with your health insurance options!
If you’re not sure whether to get public health insurance or private health insurance, here is an explanation of how to choose.
If you’re a freelancer, then make sure to read our article “HEALTH Insurance in Germany for FREELANCERS & Self-Employed,” to get all the information you need on German health insurance.
2. The reason Germans have Private LIABILITY insurance
Most Germans will tell you to get private liability insurance. Why’s this? Well, private liability insurance is very often considered the second most important insurance in Germany (first is health insurance). Liability insurance covers the costs of damages you cause by accident, i.e. damages done to another individual’s property, person or assets. Anyone living in Germany that is capable of causing damages should get private liability insurance… including you! German private liability insurance protects you from the financial liabilities you would be held responsible for if you cause any damages or injure another person. Before moving to Germany, consider getting private liability insurance!
Click here to learn more about German private liability insurance!
3. How to pay less for German CAR insurance
Not all expats in Germany know that you can use your driving record from your home country to pay less for German car insurance. To do this, ask your previous insurance company to give you a formal report of your driving history before moving to Germany. Then when you apply for German car insurance, provide your new insurance company this report. Oftentimes you can get a cheaper car insurance rate if you have good driving history!
To learn more about registering your car in Germany, make sure you read our article “REGISTER Your CAR in Germany: A Guide for Expats in English.”
And make sure you read our article, “How to Get a German DRIVERS LICENSE: A Guide for Expats,” to find out if you need to get a German drivers license.
4. TRANSFER money BEFORE moving to Germany
If you choose an online German bank, such as N26, then you can open an account before moving to Germany! And, as a result, you can transfer money before you get to Germany.
Here is how to know the BEST way to transfer money to your German bank account:
The most important thing to know when you transfer money is the mid-market rate. This is the most fair exchange rate. If you know the mid-market rate, then you can compare it with the rate you’d get from a money transfer service. It is mid-point between the price sellers will sell the currency and the price at which buyers are willing to buy it. It’s just supply and demand. The mid-market rate isn’t a secret. Anyone can find it. In fact, it’s pretty easy to find. You can find the mid-market rate by doing a quick search on Google. Just type into the search the current exchange rate between two currencies.
Beware of banks that claim to charge “0% fees”. Nothing comes for free! Any transfer service that claims to charge 0% fees is almost always marking up the mid-market exchange rate and keeping the difference for itself. To get the best rate you should choose a money transfer service that uses the mid-market rate and is upfront about the transfer fee.
An example of a money transfer service that uses the mid-market rate is TransferWise. TransferWise makes money by charging a low fee. This fee is a percentage calculated by the amount of money you transfer and which currencies the money is being transferred between.
To read more about transferring money abroad, check out our article, “Transferring Money Abroad: 6 Tips for Expats.”
More info for expats…
If you live in Germany then you need a German bank account! You can open a German bank account before moving to Germany. To learn more about the best bank account in Germany for expats, read this article.
Lastly, you can learn about home contents insurance in Germany for expats here!