Car insurance in Germany

Once you’ve set yourself to buying a new ride, it is time to think about your car insurance in Germany. That step is really important because you can’t even register your car without a valid policy number. There are a few things to consider and the rules might be different from what you know from back home. I recently bought my first car (a Peugeot 308 if you must know, go ze french! 🙂 ), so i thought i would share my experience here in the form of a mini-guide.

car insurance in germany

A little guide to your car insurance in Germany

You will find that German car insurance policies (also known as Kfz Versicherungen) are split between 3 types :

Haftpflicht – Liability or third-party coverage

This type of car insurance is minimum legal requirement to be able to register your car. It covers all the damages you and your car might do to other people, other cars or things in case of an accident. It also covers their medical bills too for example. It does not cover damages made to your car if it was your responsibility.

Teilkasko – Partial coverage

This includes Haftpflicht & covers all sort of other random risks that life can sometimes throw at you such as damages from theft-attempts or theft attempts themselves, fire, glass damages, thunderstorms, things like that. Vandalism is not covered.

Vollkasko – Comprehensive coverage

This type of insurance has all the guarantees of the Teilkasko & Haftpflicht policies, and adds on top a coverage for all damages made on your own car or yourself in the case of an accident. Your insurance company gives money to the person’s car you wrecked AND it gives you money to fix/replace on your own car as well, even if the accident was your fault.

As you might suspect, since there are more liabilities, the policy will be more expensive. Some policies also cover permanent disability you might experience after a crash, or even the death of a passenger. If you buy a car with the help of a financing service from the dealership or from a bank, it might be required to sign-up for a Vollkasko to cover the risks.

In general, when you are looking for a car insurance in Germany for a newly-bought car, it is advised to go for a full coverage as you have put a lot of money to buy the car in the first place. You should try to protect its value. People who buy second-hand cars usually go with Teilkasko.

Other things to know before signing up for a policy

Factors impacting the costs

Now the criteria that will decide how much you will pay for your car insurance in Germany don’t differ much from what you might know:

  • Driving experience / Age
  • City vs country-side
  • Previous insurance record
  • Number of drivers
  • Postal code: some areas are more vulnerable to crime/accidents/theft
  • Value/model/size/power of the car: the bigger the car is, the more expensive it gets
  • Driving distance: the more you drive in a year, the more it will cost you

Using your existing driving record

One of the first questions i had when looking for a car insurance in Germany was: “It is possible to transfer my good driving history to a german contract?“. I had been driving a few years prior without any accident, so it would have been a shame if i couldn’t enjoy a nice discount on the price i’d pay in Germany too. The answer is more often that not “Yes”. Simply ask your insurance company to write you an official-looking statement proving your good conduct. This helped to access a cheaper car insurance in Germany, only available to experienced drivers. It can save you hundred of euros a year.

This tip mostly works for providers from other EU countries. This may not be possible otherwise. Still worth a try.

Practical steps to compare and sign up for a German car insurance contract online:

Now that you know the basics, you can go ahead and book a contract with a german car insurance company to obtain the eVB number (elektronische Versicherungsbestätigung – electronic insurance confirmation) you need to register your car. You can compare the most competitive offers on platforms like Preisvergleich.de or Verivox.de to get the cheapest rates available. Those platforms are in German though. If you want an English solution, you may jump to this paragraph.

Fill in your information to receive offers via email.

Here are some items you might need explanations for during that process:

  • Saisonkennzeichen (usually, choose no): this is meant for people that only want to have a valid license plate for only part of the year like for a sea-side vehicle for example, resulting in a cheaper car insurance in Germany. Kennzeichen means licence plate
  • Fahrzeugnutzung: state here if you plan to use it for private or professional reasons.
  • Nächtlicher/Üblicher Stellplatz: state here where the car will usually be parked. A enclosed private garage will result in a cheaper rate.
  • Teilnahme am Begleiteten Fahren: In some countries, you can learn to drive with accompanied practice, which usually leads to safer drivers. State here if you did do that.
  • FahrzeugkategorieKombi/Limousine/Cabrio: german names for station wagon/sedan/convertible.
  • Punkte in Flensburg: the local equivalent of the point system managed by the Kraftfahrt Bundesamt, where you can lose points when driving recklessly on the road.
  • Selbstbeteiligung: German name for the deductible, the small amount that comes out of your pocket when there is a claim. The higher the amount, the cheaper the rate will be.

(Let me know if there are other items you feel unsure about)

How can i sign up for car insurance in Germany in English?

If you want to compare German car insurance policies via a 100% English-speaking, easy to use platform, you can turn to providers like Joonko. They are servicing expats who have trouble scanning the market on their own. Their goal is to match you with the best provider while educating you in the process.

This is also particular useful if you are non-EU citizen with no pre-existing record in Germany. Most insurance providers would reject you for that reason. Joonko has solved that problem.

Once you have completed all your information, you are presented with the best offers that you can pick from to sign a contract. The whole process thereafter can be very quick and it can take less than 24 hours to receive your eVB number by email.

You can finally register your car, and a bit later drive off in your brand new ride to the tune of James Brown’s own “Papa’s got a brand new bag“.

Enjoy ! 🙂

FAQ

I had an accident with my car , what now?

Here are some broad guidelines provided by ADAC:

  • Remain calm and agree on the next steps to take with the other party.
  • Secure your surroundings with the red triangle, and wear a yellow vest if necessary.
  • Make pictures of the accident: overview of the accident, details of vehicles involved, details of damages.
  • Draw a sketch of how the events unfolded.
  • Pay attention to skid marks & fluid leaks.
  • Take note of license plate numbers, name and address of other drivers, insurance companies.
  • If witnesses are readily available, take their contact details too.

When i should i call the police in case of traffic accident in Germany?

There is no legal requirement to call the police and smaller damages can be dealt with if both parties agree to do so on their own. If a misunderstanding occurs or if one party wishes to call the police, it’s a right to do so. You should call the police in case there are has been injuries on persons, or more serious (=costly) damages. It’s also probably a good idea if the other driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, if they become violent, of if they have tried to flea the scene.

If the other party is not present (car was parked and owner is still not on the scene), then you should also call the police.

I had an accident and I need to find out in which insurance company covers the other car? How can i do that?

You can reach the Zentralruf, a publicly recognized institution which offers a 24/7 hotline to address such cases. You only need a few details: license plate numbers, accident date, country where it took place. They speak English as well.

Tip : Don’t forget that you can deduct some of the costs of your car insurance in Germany in taxes, when doing your tax return. Be sure to include it your Steuererklärung.

I hope this little guide helped you to get an overview. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

118 Comments

  • Reply Vincent 22/07/2020 at 11:55

    Thanks for this guide, a great resource. I clicked the kink above and used Joonko to get an insurance quote. Worked perfectly. They then sent me an unexpected little gift (of a GPS key tracker), with a handwritten and addressed note thanking me for my business. Very impressive.

    • Reply Vincent 22/07/2020 at 11:56

      LINK! (Not kink) 😉

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/07/2020 at 21:03

        Too bad, i thought it was a proposition! Glad it worked out.

  • Reply Steffen 17/06/2020 at 09:20

    “….where you can lose points when driving recklessly on the road” Would be nice, but actually, you collect them.

  • Reply Mohammad Albalbisi 03/06/2020 at 04:29

    Hello guys,

    I was wondering if its possible to have the insurance and register the car without having a German driving license?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/06/2020 at 09:48

      Hey Mohammad. In theory yes, but you can’t drive it.

    • Reply Steffen 17/06/2020 at 09:47

      Yes, that’s possible. You will need a driving licence for the kind of vehicle you want to register only if you are an underage person. Otherwise, what would you do if you inherited a car and had no licence?

  • Reply Rania Papadimitriou 22/04/2020 at 12:13

    Hey guys, does anyone know how to get an insurance to an already registered vehicle? I had bought a motorbike few months ago and had an insurance. A mistake was with my IBAN and they didn’t manage to get the money so they cancelled my insurance. So I need one asap. Problem is that online no insurance can be made to a vehicle that is already registered (so insurance for a new vehicle doesn’t apply) and has no insurance past. (insurance provider change is not possible either without insurance past). Any ideas with this mess?

  • Reply Rachael Page 13/03/2020 at 15:05

    It’s so hard to find out the most simple info that you have to get a TUV (roadworthy cert), then register and get plates, then insure. My question is, my van is currently unregistered, and I’m trying to find 1-day insurance to be able to drive it to the TUV mechanic. I can’t find out how to get that insurance anwhere!! does anyone know?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/03/2020 at 21:44

      Hey Rachael. Since you need insurance to get the Zulassung, you might as well just get the real deal right away.

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