Maybe you’ve just moved to Germany and you’ve brought your car from your home country, or maybe you’re ready to buy a car in Germany. Well, first things first: you need German car insurance. If you’re planning to stay in Germany longterm, it’s required by law that you have German car insurance. Foreign car insurance is not adequate. You will also need to provide proof of valid German car insurance to register your car in Germany. So let’s get to it. Here is your handbook to the essential information about car insurance in Germany. This article explains what you need to know.
3 types of car insurance to choose from:
Liability car insurance:
This car insurance is the most basic car insurance you can purchase. German law requires you have at least liability car insurance. In other words, it’s the minimum requirement. It protects you from the financial consequences of any damages you cause to other people or their cars. Simply put: It covers you from the financial burden a claim would bring if you and your car inflicted personal injury or property damages to others.
Please note that liability car insurance does not protect you from the financial consequences of injuries or damages you cause to yourself or your own car.
Partial car insurance:
Partial coverage includes the liability car insurance mentioned above, plus some extra protection. It protects you financially from car theft and damages caused by random acts of nature. For example, with partial coverage you would be compensated for the following damages:
- Damages caused by fire or explosion
- Broken glass (e.g. a broken windshield)
- Car theft
- Damages to your car’s wiring because of a short circuit
- Marten (weasel) bites that damage coolant hoses and spark plug wires (This may comes as a surprise, but Martens caused over 300 million euros in car damages from 2010-2014 in Germany. They sneak into cars’ engine bays and can be a big problem for car owners!)
- Damages caused by storms, hail, lightning or flooding
Note that with partial coverage, acts of vandalism are not covered.
Comprehensive car insurance:
As the name suggests, comprehensive car insurance is the most extensive car insurance you can purchase. It includes all the benefits of liability car insurance and partial insurance, plus extra protection. In addition to the protection mentioned above, comprehensive insurance covers damages to your own car when you were the one responsible for the accident. Comprehensive insurance also covers acts of vandalism.
Comprehensive insurance is normally the most expensive option of the three insurances you can choose from. If you choose to pay more in order to have comprehensive insurance, however, you will pay less when you need to repair damages.
Breakdown car insurance
An additional insurance you can choose to purchase is breakdown car insurance. If your car breaks down or has an accident and needs to be towed, this insurance would cover the cost. Something to consider when you purchase breakdown car insurance is whether or not the cost of a rental car is also covered if your car is being repaired.
Applying with your current driving record
If you have a good driving record from your home country, you can use it to get a cheaper car insurance rate in Germany. Ask your previous insurance company to provide a formal summary of your good driving history. Then give this report to your new car insurance company. In most cases, you can get a discounted rate if you have a good driving record!
Cost of German car insurance
How much your German car insurance policy will cost depends on many components. For example, things that impact the cost of your insurance policy include:
- Your age and age of the youngest driver
- The number of years you’ve been driving
- Whether you live in an urban or rural area
- Previous driving record
- How many drivers you’re insuring
- Your postal code (some areas are more prone to theft/ vandalism)
- How much you drive (how many kilometers the vehicle is driven in one calendar year)
- Where you most often park your vehicle overnight (e.g. a single/double garage, outdoors, a single/double carport, a secured property, or a collective garage)
- Usage: Do you use your car for private, commercial or business purposes?
The most important takeaway is that you need German car insurance! It’s the law. Whether you choose liability, partial or comprehensive car insurance, however, is up to you.
If you’re ready to get German car insurance, make sure you have a German bank account. You can click here to read more about the best bank in Germany for expats!
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