Studying in a foreign country is always something special and exciting, no matter if staying for one year or the whole study time. It is the start of a great adventure and you come back with lots of experiences and memories and a big chance for the future. But before it really starts there is so much to do and to think about. The application at the German University, the search for a place to live, maybe a visa has to be applied and there is also the topic of insurance.

This last topic has a special part in Germany and is much more important than in some other countries. The German Health Care System is one of the best in the world and to offer a broad security for the people in Germany there is an obligation to have an insurance. This is also necessary for students and there are rules at the universities that you need to show that you have an insurance to get enrolled in your study program. Therefore it is important to have an insurance if wanting to study in Germany.

The insurance system in Germany has two parts, the compulsory insurance and the private insurance. The compulsory insurance shall provide a solid basic protection for all people. To assure that every person can afford this protection the monthly fees are calculated by the income of the insured person. Those earning more money have to pay more and those earning less have to pay less. For students there are even cheaper offers.

The private insurance instead offers individual protection and can be claimed by clerks, self-employed persons and persons with a very high income. The monthly fee in the private insurance calculates with age and health status of the insured person.

Those who want to study in Germany and start to get information about insurance in Germany should start by checking if there is social insurance convention between the home country and Germany. Such conventions exist for example between the countries of the European Union and Germany has some conventions with other countries as well. It says that the insurance of the home country is valid for benefits in the other country as well. If there is such a convention it is possible that the university accepts the former insurance from the home country as well. It is nevertheless important to check what benefits are covered in Germany and if the protection is given.

If there is no such convention it can anyway be possible that the former insurance offers benefits abroad meaning in Germany. This normally depends on the type of insurance you have. With some insurance companies it is possible to book additional benefits for other countries.

A third possibility is a private insurance for foreign countries called “Auslandskrankenversicherung” in Germany. This insurance is offered by German companies as well as companies from the home country. The advantage of taking a German company is that they know the rules and regulations of the German system very well and adjust the benefits to these conditions. You also normally receive the document to show at university or when passing the boarder right away. Other companies in your home country can otherwise be cheaper.  It is probably the best way to compare some offers directly.

For those who spent all of their study time in Germany and not only stay for one semester it can be a good advice to quit their former insurance at home, so they do not pay twice. In some cases it also can be possible to get a student offer at a German insurance.

Whatever alternative you choose it is important to check all the benefits and look if the protection is good and broad. It can always happen to get sick or have an accident and without an insurance it is not possible for a student to pay the costs of a medical treatment in Germany. The most important benefits that should be included in the insurance are:

  • Ambulant and residential medical treatment
  • Basic dental treatment
  • Cost for medicines and pharmaceutical products
  • For those needing glasses or contact lenses the costs for those things
  • Adjuvant after accidents
  • Curative Treatment (e.g. physiotherapy, massage, and others)
  • Transport to the nearest hospital
  • Pregnancy and treatment of the newborn

For foreign students it is also important to have some special benefits included like:

  • Return to the home country in case of fatal disease or injuries or in case of death
  • Visit of an associated person in hospital

It can be quite useful to check if the insurance of the German companies can be negotiated via internet. This reduces the cost for dispatch and is much more comfortable. Many companies have online-documents to fill in and you get the suitable contract soon.

During the stay in Germany there are some more insurance that could be interesting except the health insurance. For example a general liability insurance, an accident insurance, a luggage insurance and others. In some cases these insurances are included in more comprehensive health insurances. It can be worth comparing if it is cheaper to choose the combination or to take each insurance separately.

If you want to travel Europe during your stay in Germany there is another point to consider: Does the health insurance cover other countries as well? Most insurances for foreign countries cover more than one country so this shouldn’t be a problem but it is important to look it up in the contract or to ask the insurance company to be safe.

Before going abroad all these questions need to be answered but if you check the internet you will find all necessary information and otherwise you can just ask the insurance company or the members of the international office at the universities.