After setting your eyes on a car to buy, there are a few things to consider before you can ride it into the sunset. You first need to register it. And to do that, you need car insurance in Germany for your vehicle. Given the German love for cars & for complicating things, it won’t come as a schock that the topic can be confusing.
At the end of this post, you will know which type of insurance you should probably consider, which steps to take to get your electronic insurance confirmation (eVB), and how to find better/cheaper deals.
Types of car insurance in Germany
You will find that German car insurance policies (also known as Kfz Versicherungen) are split between 3 types. Here is a quick overview:
|What is covered||Haftpflicht||Teilkasko||Vollkasko|
|Damage made to other people and vehicles in an accident.||✔||✔||✔|
|Theft or theft attempts||x||✔||✔|
|Fire, flood or other weather related damages. Collision with animals.||x||✔||✔|
|Damage made to your own vehicle in an accident.||x||x||✔|
|Hit & runs by another vehicle||x||x||✔|
|Gross negligence||x||depends on policy||depends on policy|
Haftpflicht – Liability or third-party coverage
This type of car insurance in Germany is minimum legal requirement (Pflichtversicherungsgesetz
§ 4) to be able to register your car. It covers the following in case of accidents:
- Damages occurred to other people (min. 7,5 million €).
- Damages occurred to other vehicles (min 1.22 million €).
- Damage occurred to property (min 1.22 million €).
Do note: It does not cover damages made to your car or to you.
Only a minority of Germans pick car liability insurance because of the obvious risks attached. It’s mostly suited in case the car itself is fairly worthless and not used very often.
Teilkasko – Partial coverage
This type of insurance includes Haftpflicht & covers the following risks that life throws at you:
- Damages from theft attempts or theft attempts themselves
- Broken glass
- Extreme weather episodes (storms, hail, floods, snow, lighting, etc)
- Accidents involving wild animals.
You should probably consider this level of insurance if you think the value of your car outweighs the costs of the policy. Consider as well the potential loss of income if your car were to be stolen (if you need to travel for work/business).
Vollkasko – Comprehensive coverage
This type of insurance includes Teilkasko & Haftpflicht policies. It adds on top insurance for:
- Damages made to your vehicle, even if the accident was your fault.
- Damages made to yourself, even if the accident was your fault.
- Damages due to vandalism.
- Damages due to hit & run.
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.
Volkasko is a relevant policy for you in the following cases:
- Buying a new car with financing requires comprehensive insurance.
- Leasing a car will also require full coverage.
- Buying a relatively pricey second-hand car.
It’s all about trying to protect the residual value of your vehicle.
Getting a cheaper car insurance in Germany
Factors impacting price
The average car insurance Germany costs 587€ (Vollkasko) & 258€ (Haftpflicht) according to the German insurance association. However, the actual price for your insurance depends on a few factors:
- Driving experience and 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.
- Parking location (street side, garage, etc).
Before you go ahead & look out there which German car insurance company is best for you, you should probably know the following best practices to get a better price.
Use 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 after all. The answer is more often that not “Yes”.
Simply ask your prospective insurance provider what documents they’d need to prove your good record. This helped me get 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.
The longer you drive without an accident, the higher the discount on your contract. Here is a table for guidance:
|Driving experience without accidents||Corresponding Schadenfreiheitsklasse||Expected discount on contract|
|5 to 8 years||SF5 – SF8||45 – 50%|
|9 to 15 years||SF9 – SF15||55 – 60%|
|16 to 25 years||SF16 – SF25||65 – 70%|
|26 years or more||SF26 and above||75 – 80%|
Note that some providers will also accept driving experience from car sharing users. You will need to request a certificate with the amount of days & kilometers driven from your car sharing provider. This can help you get to SF2 or even SF3, instead of starting from scratch.
Now that you know the basics, you can go ahead and book a contract with a German car insurance provider.
Avoid typical “young driver” cars
As mentioned above, the type of vehicle impacts price too. Therefore, vehicles driven by new drivers (VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, etc) are statistically more involved in accidents. This puts those cars in a more expensive insurance bracket.
You can check the so-called “Typeklasse” of your vehicle (ranging from 10 to 25, low to high, lower is better) on this website by entering your details. Pick a vehicle with a low “Typeklasse” score for a cheaper insurance premium.
Use your motorbike record
If you have insured a motorbike or scooter (at least 50cm3) in the past, you can use that no-claim bonus on another vehicle. The jump between SF levels does not work exactly the same as with cars, but it definitely helps.
Exchange real-time driving data for discounts
There is a new car insurance in Germany. Some providers now offer tracking systems able to detect your driving style (acceleration, brakes, speed, etc). A sensor and an app work together to track how well your drive every time your drive. This is called “Telematik-Tarife“.
This particularly interesting for drivers who can’t transfer their existing records. You can expect 20-30% discounts on premiums. It’s difficult to get to deeper discounts because they are tied to extreme cautious driving style. It’s not something you can always achieve if you drive a lot in a busy city, due to unexpected traffic events.
It can be a good solution for the first few years until you reach a better SF level.
Pick a higher deductible
Consider if picking a higher deductible (Selbstbeteiligung) is relevant for your case, depending on the value of the car. It’s often the simplest way to lower the price of a policy. Recent market studies have shown taking on a 150€ deductible reduces a Teilkasko price by 18%, and a 300€ deductible reduces it by 25%.
Pick a new German car insurance provider every year
German car insurance usually runs in 12-month cycles. This means that you can switch every year to the provider with the best conditions for you. Since the market changes all the time, it’s likely you can get a better deal.
Most providers have contracts ending on 31st Dec. You should send a termination notice by 30th Nov in order to avoid an automatic renewal for an extra 12 months. If you are looking to switch insurance, providers often takes the process over for you, like Getsafe does.
Pay in full yearly
German insurance companies like to have all the cash asap. They give a small extra discount if you pay the sum in full, instead of paying in monthly rates.
Stick with the partner network for repairs
Insurance companies usually have a preferred network of garages they work with for their customers. This is because get a commission for every customer the garage gets.
This is called “Werksttbindung“. If you accept to have your car taken care off by a preferred garage, you can expect a 10-20% discount on your premium.
Put some of it off in taxes
The German tax code allows employees to deduct the Haftpflicht part of your policy off in taxes. If you are self-employed, you can also deduct the whole amount too in some cases. It’s one of the many things in you can deduct off of your taxes in Germany.
Finding a suitable German car insurance policy online:
In order to register your car, you need to obtain the eVB number (elektronische Versicherungsbestätigung – electronic insurance confirmation). You receive this number from your insurance provider after you have signed a contract with them.
How to compare German car insurance providers
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.
On those platforms, you will be asked several details about your car, your driving profile and yourself. Here are some items you might need explanations for during that process:
- HSN & TSN Nummer: Those are a series of digits & letters unique to the car model. They are used to precisely identify the configuration of the vehicle. You can find these numbers on the last Zulassungsbescheinigung (national car license) of the car (precise location here), or in the sales contract.
- Erstzulassung: When was this car first registered.
- 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.
- Fahrzeugkategorie – Kombi/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)
Fill in your information to receive offers via email. You can then accept the one you found best to receive your EVB.
How can I sign up for car insurance in Germany in English?
Scanning and comparing car insurance offers in Germany would be rather difficult in your mother tongue already. Reading fine prints in German is definitely not a pleasant experience. If a fast digital sign-up & English service is your priority, you can turn to providers like Getsafe. Getsafe’s policies have gained positive reviews from the specialized press, with lower prices and the following benefits:
- Everything, right from the app.
- You can cancel the contract daily, and definitely if you leave the country.
- You can cover up to 5 drivers with the same policy, without additional fees.
- Your premium stays the same after an accident (the policy price doesn’t increase), unless you have many accidents in a short period of time.
- You get some money back if you don’t have claims at the end of the year.
- Cancellation-transfer service: switch providers easily.
2 drawbacks however:
- you can only go to a selection of garages when fixing your car, in order to have the repairs covered.
- It’s not possible to get insurance for the first time there, only if you switch from another provider in Germany.
The whole process thereafter can be very quick and it can take less than 24 hours to receive your eVB number by email.
With this in your hand, you can finally register your car (full guide on that here). A few weeks after that, you will be driving off in your brand new ride to the tune of James Brown’s own “Papa’s got a brand new bag“.
Dealing with an accident
I had an accident with my car, what now?
Here are some broad guidelines provided by German car owners’ association 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 should I call the police in case of traffic accident in Germany?
There is no legal requirement to call the police (dial 110) 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.
Cancelling a car insurance contract in Germany
As a rule, your contract is renewed every year for an additional year, on January 1st. Send a cancellation notice to your current provider before November 30th to avoid that. Note that you can end the contract immediately when you sell the insured vehicle, or when the premium increases, or after any damage claim.
You can use this termination notice template.
Car insurance Germany – FAQ
You need at least car liability insurance in order to be able to register and drive your vehicle on German streets. This is the law. More comprehensive insurance is optional.
The average car insurance Germany costs 587€ (Vollkasko) & 258€ (Haftpflicht) according to the German insurance association. Actual prices vary on several factors based on driver profile, car type & more.
You cancel your policy with a one-month notice before the end of the initial term. You can also cancel whenever you sell your car, if the policy price changes or whenever a claim has been processed.
Just liability, partial or comprehensive insurance? It’s mostly down to 3 factors. The current value of your car, the price of the comprehensive insurance and and whether you will get into
financial troubles if you vehicle gets stolen. Consider if the costs of insurance are worth it in relationship to the value of your car.
In general, it’s mostly makes sense to pick comprehensive insurance if the vehicle is not older than 5 years.
I hope this little guide on car insurance in Germany helped you to get an overview. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.Bastien