life insurance Germany

LIFE INSURANCE Germany

Life Insurance In Germany

Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. The way life insurance works is simple: If the insured person passes away during the term of the contract, the insurance company pays an agreed sum to the surviving beneficiaries. Many people choose their spouse, domestic partner or children as their beneficiaries. With this, the family can, for example, pay off the loan for their property or finance the maintenance of the children. This guide has all the information you need to know about life insurance in Germany, and explains how you can get life insurance online!

* Life insurance in Germany is also sometimes called risk life insurance. In German it is written as Risikolebensversicherung (RLV).

1. Who needs life insurance in Germany?

If you have someone who is financially dependent on you, such as a spouse, child or aging parent, then you should consider getting life insurance in Germany. If you don’t have dependents then you might not need German life insurance because no one relies on your income.

More specifically, you should consider buying life insurance in Germany if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Main earner: The death benefit enables survivors to be financially secured in difficult times.
  • Young families: If a parent dies, financial security is guaranteed and the children can get good care.
  • Borrowers, for example from a building loan or a student loan. Your surviving dependents can use the death benefit to pay off the loan.
  • Unmarried in a relationship, because your partner would not benefit from statutory widow’s or widower’s pension.
  • Entrepreneurs who want to protect their company financially in the event of their death or important employee.

2. How long do I need life insurance in Germany?

The rule of thumb for choosing the duration of your life insurance in Germany: Secure yourself until your youngest child has finished his or her education or studies, your partner – for example after childcare – can work full again or an ongoing loan has been paid off. In other words, your life insurance in Germany should run as long as your dependents need compensation for the lack of income in case you pass away.

3. What amount of insurance do I need?

life insurance germany

The amount of insurance you need is basically a question of securing your family, and depends on your family situation, your partner’s income, and available assets.

You can determine the amount of insurance you need by putting your family’s financial needs into three categories:

  • Immediate: funeral costs, medical bills, taxes.
  • Ongoing: mortgage payments, utilities, food.
  • Future: college tuition, retirement funds.

At the end there should be a sum that quantifies the monthly requirement, in addition to immediate costs and future costs. For example, if your family needs €1,000 each month in the event of death and you want to insure the family for over 20 years, you need an insurance sum of at least €240,000. This example does not include interest.

4. How much does life insurance in Germany cost?

cost of life insurance germany

The cost of life insurance in Germany ultimately depends on, among other things, how high the sum insured is, how long the contract runs and your age at the time of the contract.

Personal characteristics also play an important role in calculating the price. The more the life insurance company estimates the risk that the insured person dies during the term of the contract, the more the life insurance will cost. For example, smokers could pay more than twice as much as non-smokers.

Possible risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Health status
  • Physically demanding job
  • Overweight
  • Risky hobbies (such as driving a motorcycle)
  • Smoking

However, each life insurance company weights the risk factors differently and therefore charges a different price for the same person. For example, some life insurance companies in Germany do not charge motorcyclists higher prices, while others only charge a surcharge if the insured is very overweight. Most health insurance companies in Germany will cover this health exam.

Register for Smoking

If you have life insurance and start smoking again, you are required to report this to the provider. This usually requires a higher contribution. If you do not mention it, then your insurance can reduce the benefit in the event of death. Conversely, if you were a smoker when you signed the contract and have not smoked for twelve months, then you can apply for cheaper contributions as a non-smoker. However, the insurance company is not obliged to grant you a discount.

If you have a risky hobby or change your profession after signing the contract, you do not normally have to report it. However, in such a case, you should ask your insurance company for security reasons what it sees as a so-called “risk increase”.

5. Are additional services useful?

You usually take out life insurance for decades. A basic plan contains the really important protection – the financial security of your family when you die. However, most insurers also offer add-ons for extra protection. Weigh carefully which of these services you really need because you will pay a higher price for more comprehensive services.

Common add-ons include:

Children Bonus/Construction Bonus

Some plans make it possible to increase the sum insured later without a new health check from a physician. The amount you can increase usually depends on an event, such as the birth of a child, or the purchase of a property. In addition, the amount you can increase is usually limited. With some providers, you can only increase up to a certain age of the policyholder.

Such a reinsurance guarantee is particularly useful for young couples who still plan on having children or buying a home.

Some plans offer an extended post-insurance guarantee, which means that you can increase the sum insured on more occasions. The events for which this is possible to increase the sum insured vary from provider to provider. Therefore, it is important to compare what best suits your personal situation.

Dynamics

A dynamics add-on ensures that the sum insured increases every year. This should compensate for the decline in value due to inflation over the years. However, oftentimes this is rather unnecessary with life insurance in Germany. The dynamic makes the contract more expensive and for most people the need for coverage tends to decrease over time. If you have a contract with a constant sum insured, then the decreasing need for protection and inflation are roughly balanced.

Renewal Option

With this clause, the insurance company waives a new health check to renew the contract. This can be useful if your life circumstances have changed and the contract should run longer than originally planned. Consider whether it makes more sense to choose a longer contract instead. If at some point you no longer need the insurance, then you can also cancel the contract.

Early Death Benefit

If you become so seriously ill that you will die within a few months, a policy with an early death benefit component pays out part of the insurance sum before you die. These clauses also exist in connection with a child’s illness or if the insured person needs care. However, it is questionable whether you need this add-on because life insurance is supposed to serve as financial protection for your surviving dependents.

Subsequent Co-Insurance of Your Partner

If you are getting married or having a child or adopting a child, your partner can be included in the contract with a simplified health check.

Increased Capital in the Event of Accidental Death

Especially if the death is caused by an accident, it happens suddenly and you’re left unprepared. As a result, there is no time for further financial planning. Therefore, this add-on increases the sum insured if an accident causes the death. The increased amount varies between providers.

6. How to Get Life Insurance in Germany

life insurance germany

This step-by-step instruction is perfect for anyone that wants to take out life insurance online:

1. Analyze the situation: First, consider what exactly you need insurance for. Do you have a spouse? Do you have children? Will they need money for their education? Do you have a mortgage or other debts to pay off? Asking yourself these questions will help you choose the right amount of coverage.

2. Determine the sum insured: Decide how much money your surviving dependents would need in the event of your death. In principle, your life insurance in Germany should cover three to five times your gross annual income and any loans you have remaining. The sum insured serves as your assurance that your dependents will be provided for financially in case of your death.

3. Specify the contract term: This depends on various factors such as the age of your children or the remaining term of your loans.

4. Answer health questions: If you have decided on an insurance company or plan, then you will have to answer some health questions. It is important to answer truthfully and completely. If you give false information then your life insurance company could void your contract.

7. Best Life Insurance in Germany for Expats

A really good option for expats is Allianz life insurance in Germany. It offers great protection and flexibility. Allianz has three German life insurance policies you can buy online: Risk Life Insurance Base, Risk Life Insurance Plus and Risk Life Insurance Plus Accident. Risk Life Insurance is abbreviated as RLV in German. You can see an overview of the three Allianz life insurance policies in the chart below.

life insurance germany
allianz life insurance germany

8. FAQ: Allianz Life Insurance in Germany

How much does Allianz life insurance in Germany cost?

Allianz RLV Base plan starts at €2.61 per month. The RLV Plus plan starts and €3.15 per month and the RLV Plus Accident plan starts at €4.75 per month.

Can I cancel my risk life insurance at any time?

When would Allianz life insurance be a good option for me?

  • … for the financial security for your family in the event of your death.
  • … to secure your company financially in the event of the death of the managing director or important employees.
  • … to cover your real estate financing or other loans if you die.
  • … if you want to be able to increase the sum insured on certain occasions, such as marriage or the birth of a child, without a new health check.
  • … if you want to be able to cancel your plan at any time, or at least on the next payment date (depending on which plan you choose).

When would Allianz life insurance not be a good option for me?

  • … if you want to build up a pension.
  • … if you want to receive a payment of your paid contributions upon cancellation or at the end of the insurance period.

How much should the insured amount be?

Insured Amount

As a rule of thumb, the sum insured should replace the loss of income of the insured person until all family members can stand on their own two feet. Stiftung Warentest, a German consumer organization that investigates and compares goods and services, recommends a payment amount that is three to five times the insured person’s gross annual income. If, for example, a father of two children earns €50,000 a year, the sum insured should be between €150,000 and €250,000. Any remaining debts from real estate loans or other loans should also be taken into consideration when determining the sum insured.

When does Allianz life insurance in Germany pay the policyholder?

What is the dynamic option?

Allianz life insurance in Germany offers something called the dynamic option. A dynamic option is meant to counter inflation. It means that the sum insured increases every year. This also means your contract will be more expensive each year.

With Allianz life insurance in Germany, your contribution will increase by 3% annually without a new health check. The annual suspension of this increase is possible for an unlimited period of time.

What is the increase option?

This option means that, with Allianz life insurance in Germany, you can increase the sum insured without a new health check for certain circumstances. The circumstances include marriage, birth, adoption, and taking out a loan to finance a property that is worth at least €100,000. You can increase your amount insured by €2,500 to €25,000 per event. The maximum increase is €50,000.

What is the early death benefit?

Early Death Benefit Option

With Allianz life insurance in Germany, under certain conditions, you can have the sum insured paid out before your death if a dog diagnoses you with a progressive, incurable disease with a foreseeable fatal outcome. You can then use the sum insured however you wish. You are only eligible for this option if you have RLV Plus or RLV Plus Accident.

Does Allianz life insurance in Germany offer flexibility for financial bottlenecks?

Financial Bottlenecks

All Allianz life insurance plans offer flexibility in financial bottlenecks. In the event of a financial bottleneck, such as unemployment, you can pause your contract. This is called the exemption period. However, this significantly reduces your insurance coverage.
It is possible to restore protection with the originally agreed sum insured within the first 6 months of the exemption period without a new risk assessment.
If more than 6 months have passed, you can still restore protection. However, you must do this within 3 years of the exemption period. You must also go through a new risk assessment. This is possible in a few different ways. First, you can repay the premiums you missed during the exemption period, or agree to paying future higher premiums.
Alternatively, you can compensate for the contribution gap by reducing your original benefits. The price of your premium will be the same as it was before the exemption period. You will receive a benefit that is higher than what you had during the exemption, but less than you had before the exemption period.

Can I extend my life insurance with Allianz?

Option for Extension

With Allianz life insurance in Germany, you can extend your policy for up to 15 years without a new health exam. However, the policy cannot be extended within the last 3 years of the contract under any circumstances. The total term cannot be more than 45 years and cannot exceed the insured person’s 70th birthday.

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

faq life insurance germany

Are there price differences for smokers and non-smokers?

Yes, there are usually price differences for life insurance for smokers and non-smokers. People who smoke have a higher risk of dying earlier. Therefore, life insurance for non-smokers is normally cheaper compared to life insurance for smokers (with all else being equal).

You can usually consider yourself a non-smoker if you have not actively consumed nicotine through smoking within the 12 months prior to submitting your application and also intend to remain a non-smoker in the future.

Smoking means the consumption of tobacco, for example using cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars or pipes. Smoking also includes the use of electric vaporizers, such as e-cigarettes, e-cigars or e-pipes, as well as the use of hookahs, such as shisha.

Why buy life insurance when I'm young?

Buying Life Insurance When You’re Young

You should buy life insurance when you’re young and healthy because you have a better chance at getting a cheaper rate. That is to say, the younger and more healthy you are when you buy life insurance, the lower the price. If you choose to buy life insurance in the future when you already have dependents or poorer health then your policy will be more expensive.

What flexibility should my life insurance contract offer?

Flexible Options

It’s usually difficult to plan for the long-term future. Therefore, it’s important that your risk life insurance has a lot of flexibility. A good life insurance plan has flexible options for extension and increase without a new health check.

Depending on the plan, Allianz offers an extension option, and you don’t need to do a new health check. For example, let’s say your life situation changes (maybe because you’re taking out a real estate loan or you’re having another child), and you want to increase the sum insured. With Allianz RLV Plus, you can increase your sum insured without having another health exam. Allianz offers a lot of options for your flexibility.

What do German life insurance companies look for in the health exams?

Life Insurance Health Exam

The health exam usually covers your height, weight, blood pressure, urine sample and blood sample. The exam will also include your age, gender, family health history and various health questions. Your German life insurance company will use this information to determine how much your policy will cost.

Can I get German life insurance without taking a health exam?

Health Exams

To start a new German life insurance contract, you must take a health exam. For some German life insurance companies, however, you do not need to take a new health exam when you want to extend or increase your life insurance policy.

Who can be a beneficiary of German life insurance?

Choosing The Beneficiary

The owner of the policy can choose whoever he or she wants as the beneficiary.

While it is most common for people to choose their spouse, you can name more than one person as the beneficiary. For example, if you have a €200,000 life insurance policy, you could choose to leave your spouse €100,000 and each of your two children €50,000.

Tip for Determining How Much Insurance You Need

DIME Method

Another way to determine how much German life insurance you need is through the “DIME” method. DIME stands for:

D – Debt (mortgage, private student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc.)

I – Income replacement (Take into consideration the life expectancy of anyone who depends on your income, such as your spouse or children. How long will they need your level of income?)

M – Mortality (funeral costs)

E – Education (Do you want to pay for your dependents education? If you have children in daycare, do you need your policy to cover the costs for the remaining years in daycare?)

What is a life insurance premium?

Premium

A life insurance premium is the money you pay to the life insurance company to pay for your life insurance plan.

Is my spouse automatically my life insurance beneficiary?

Your spouse is not automatically the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Your life insurance company in Germany will write a check to whoever you name on the policy as the beneficiary. This could even be an ex-spouse if the policy owner doesn’t change the contract after getting a divorce.

Can I buy a life insurance policy for anyone?

Life Insurance Policy

You can usually buy a German life insurance policy for anyone that you are financially dependent upon. In other words, if this person died then you would suffer financially. Normally you would buy a life insurance policy for a spouse, domestic partner, live-in companion, business partner or parent. This means you can’t get a life insurance policy on a random neighbor, for instance.

Can I get life insurance on someone without them knowing?

You cannot buy life insurance for someone without his or her knowledge and consent.

Can I lower the cost of my life insurance in the future if my health improves?

How to Lower Your German Life Insurance Premium

If you don’t qualify for a good life insurance rate when you first purchase your policy because you’re in poor health, you might be able to get a better rate later on. If your health improves then you can talk with your insurance company about getting a new health exam for lower rates.

For example, let’s say at the time of your exam you are 20 kilograms overweight, you have high blood pressure and you smoke. However, two years later you’ve lost the 20 kilograms, you have normal blood pressure and you no longer smoke. You might be able to get a re-evaluation and, as a result, a cheaper premium.

Should my spouse also have life insurance?

Many families choose to have life insurance for both spouses. After the loss of either parent, there are many financial burdens on the family, even if the deceased spouse wasn’t working.

The surviving spouse or domestic partner may need to take a leave of absence from work, or switch jobs in order to be with the children. This is why many families decide to take out life insurance plans for both spouses/parents.

Will my life insurance company ever cancel my policy because of health reasons?

No – your life insurance company will not cancel your life insurance if your health declines.

When does my life insurance coverage begin?

When Coverage Begins

Typically, your life insurance coverage begins after your life insurance policy is approved and your first premium is paid. Some companies will provide some form of temporary coverage during the application process. This may be done by sending the insurance company the first month’s premium along with your application. This protects your dependents financially in case you pass away before your application is processed.

Important note: If you already have life insurance but you’re applying for a new policy, you should never cancel your current policy until your new policy is approved and you have paid your first premium. Avoid lapse of coverage by ensuring your new policy is in effect before modifying your current policy.

Who Wrote This?

My name is Bastian and I am a certified, independent insurance broker in Germany. My wife is American and together we help English-speaking expats figure out insurance, banking, and other issues encountered when moving to/living in Germany.

I also own Germany’s biggest Youtube-Channel about insurance knowledge and was honored with the “Education Award of the German Insurance Industry” in 2018 and became “Young Broker of the Year” in 2017.