Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men,
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Had Humpty Dumpty been covered by an optimum insurance scheme,
Humpty Dumpty could very well have been put together again.
Let's come back to the real life scenario, shifting to a new land poses a plethora of new challenges aswell. And what gives an extra headache is the task of sorting out those insurance policies that shelter you every time the rain of misfortunes starts pouring. How? Sometimes, by your goofiness and other times, plain bad luck. In short, getting hold of the right insurance schemes, which best suit you and your family, is very important. In the market flooded with legion of insurance policies that claim to be the best among the rest, the confusion keeps on mounting. After all, moving to Germany or for that matter, any country is not just about picking up your bags and passports, buying an insurance cover is a requisite which can't be overlooked.
Germany offers highly competitive and lucrative insurance policies. This topic exquisitely deals with a general overview of the insurance coverage in Deutschland. One piece of advice to all the new arrivals is, do not lay hands on any insurance policy in haste, always search around various media, websites or consult consumer guides to insurance so as to avail the best possible deals. A lot of insurance claims are nothing more than a mere gimmick to rob you off your money in return for nothing so 'worthwhile.' So, always keep your eyes and senses open, when choosing an insurance policy. After all, when it comes to the safety of your loved ones and yourself; no compromises and no chances!
The most sought after, and highly recommended insurances in Germany are:
1) Compulsory employment related insurance policies -
When you take up any employment in Germany, a variety of mandatory insurance plans come along as well. Contribution to social security is a must, and hence, gets automatically deducted from your salary. Social security provides coverage to major perils in life and involves-
Out of these, health insurance takes up most of your gross salary. At present, the total health insurance is fixed at 15.5% of gross salary, out of which the employee pays 8.2% and the employer pays 7.3%. Employees earning more than 52,000 Euros/year can choose private health insurance over public health insurance, but it is generally said that moving back to public health insurance from private health insurance is quite difficult.
Accidents at work are covered separately by work-related accident insurance, which is the the employer's full responsibility. The employer is obliged to pay out the full salary for up to six weeks, after which the health insurance provider pays about 70% of the salary till 18 months.
Those who are self employed or freiberuflich have to arrange for their own health insurance.
2) Personal liability insurance or Haftplichtversicherung -
When little Tim was playing baseball, his parents had little idea that it would crash through the glass pane of the neighbour's window. Well! mishaps just happen without giving a prior indication. So, little Tim's parents are liable in such a case in Germany. But they are not worried. Why? Because they are shielded by the liability cover. In brief, private liability insurance covers-
In such circumstances, you and your family get covered by personal liability, irrespective, whether the accident was due to your negligence, or that of any of your family members or for that matter, your pet. It even covers liability for damages caused by riding a bicycle, but certainly not by your car.
It excludes everything for which there is a separate insurance plan, meaning, it doesn't cover any damage to yourself, your family member or to your property. They are insured by other plans.
3) Legal insurance or Rechtsschutzversicherung -
Legal insurances are only focussed to their specific field of coverage, be it your work, traffic, housing or day-to-day issues. If you feel you are too prone to getting into disputes, then it is a safe bet to secure yourself by a legal cover. Legal insurance covers-
all costs of a trial, except fines
fees for expert witnesses
other party's costs, in case, you lose the case
issues related to renting a property
In fact, there are several variants of legal insurance available in the market.
In Germany, we often talk excitedly about 'no speed limits' on German autobahns ( well most of the times) but then the accidents that happen on roads lead to severe lawsuits concerning who was acting more like the F1 driver i.e. whose fault it actually was. Situations like these which are very common; owning a Verkehrsrechtsschutz policy lends an easy escape.
4) Household contents insurance -
Though, this type of insurance is not compulsory, but can be found as one of the clauses in some rental contracts. This insurance is frequently misunderstood as insurance that covers the house or apartment itself against fire or damage. However, that is an altogether different insurance. Household 'contents' insurance covers the items in your home. It depends on the size of your home, and the original price of its contents. It is very useful for the safety and security of your prized possessions against-
Last year a glass jar fell from my hands, and to my dismay, it landed straight on my electric hob with a thud. As a result, the ceramic top developed a big crack but thanks to the household contents insurance, it got so quickly replaced by a new one. All we were asked to submit was- a picture of the damaged ceramic top, and the new price quotation. I was so glad that we had taken out a scheme like this, which saved so much of our money.
5) Vehicle insurance -
Verily, it is the most common type. The basic insurance coverage i.e. kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung is compulsory for all car owners. The vehicle insurance pays for-
The insurance premium depends on factors like, the type of vehicle e.g. a car or a motorcycle, its age, and the number of years you have driven it without any reported accident . You may also get a comprehensive insurance plan that extends a cover to your own vehicle as well. There are two types of comprehensive insurance plans, namely:
Teilkasko - it pays for the following damages to your dear vehicle-
natural calamities like- floods etc.
collision with certain animals while driving e.g. an antelope
This kind of comprehensive insurance must be bought if your vehicle is new, since the cost of repair would be relatively higher.
6) Life insurance -
The aim of buying life insurance is primarily to safeguard one's family in case of an untimely death. It can also serve as a kind of investment for retirement or as an addition to your pension. When purchasing a life insurance policy, it is advisable to first consult an expert, who would help you to zero in on the most appropriate life insurance plan best suiting your requirements. If you have any financial dependent to support then life insurance proves very meaningful.
Sometimes this type of policy may also be provided by employers as additional perks.
7) Housing-related insurance plans -
A lot of money goes into getting an insurance cover for housing and accommodation. Property-owners leasing out their property should get a special type of liability insurance i.e. the house and landowner liability, or Haus-und Grundbesitzerhaftpflicht.
At the end, whichever insurance plan you decide to choose, one thing is for sure, it definitely relieves you of a lot of worries. The good old English saying- 'better safe than sorry' must be applied to our every day life which is engulfed by happenings, many of which are totally uncalled for.