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.
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. Here is a quick overview:
|What is covered||Haftpflicht||Teilkasko||Vollkasko|
|Damage made to other people and vehicles.||yes||yes||yes|
|Theft or theft attempts||yes||yes|
|Fire, flood or other weather related damages. Collision with animals.||yes||yes|
|Damage made to your own vehicle in an accident.||yes|
|Gross negligence||depends on contract||depends on contract|
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 to lower the costs
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 prospective insurance provider what documents they’d need to prove your good record. This helped me 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.
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%|
Now that you know the basics, you can go ahead and book a contract with a German car insurance provider.
Practical steps to sign up for a German car insurance contract 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 offers
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 is there, 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.
- Cancellation-transfer service: switch providers easily.
1 negative point however: you can only go to a selection of garages when fixing your car, in order to have the repairs covered.
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“.
Car Insurance Germany – 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 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.
How can I cancel 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.
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.