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Germany - Car Insurance

Got a car? You need insurance then!

Car insurance  (KFZ Versicherung) can vary from one company to another, but there are basically three car insurance options:

  • motor liability insurance (Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflicht-Versicherung)
  • partial coverage (Teilkasko)
  • comprehensive (Vollkasko)

To lower your insurance premium you need a letter from your previous insurer listing prior claims (or lack thereof!) and/or a driver insurance rating. Without anything written, you will be rated as a beginner. Beginners represent a higher risk for insurance companies and are rated with 125%.
Insurance rates depend on your car's brand name, model, how many miles per year you drive, if you have a garage etc. Quite important is your driving history. Every year without an accident will get you a rebate. If you were involved in an accident which was not your fault, it does not count since you did not cause any cost to your insurance. If you have had an accident, your premium might be a little more expensive, but not as expensive as a beginner's. 
After that the so-called 100% rate starts. For every "good year" (without any accident caused by you) you drop in this percent-rating.
After one year it is  85%, after two years you pay 70%. For each following "good year" you drop by 5% until you reach the rate of 30%, which is the lowest.
Expat Tip: Prior to leaving a country, always ask your car insurance for a certificate of your claim record. It may be needed in the country you are moving to.

Motor Liability Insurance (Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflicht-Versicherung)

Cars cannot be registered unless you have taken out mandatory third party insurance (Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflicht-Versicherung).
Mandatory coverage costs about 600 euros per year per vehicle, depending on the type of vehicle.
The minimum sum you are legally required to be insured for is:  2.5 million euros for personal injury (or 7.5 million if several people are injured), half a million euros for damage to property and fifty thousand euros for financial loss.

Before registering the car, request a Doppelkarte (double card) and insurance application form from your chosen insurance agent. The Doppelkarte must be taken with you when registering the car. After the car is registered, send the completed application form, a copy of the car registration certificate Fahrzeugschein, a letter from your previous insurer and a copy of your driving licence to the agent. Then they'll send you a bill and a very long document outlining the terms and conditions of your insurance.
An important word to look out for in this document is Selbstbeteiligung, meaning excess, which is the amount you have to pay yourself in the event of a claim before your insurance kicks in to cover the rest of the costs.


Partial Coverage (Teilkasko)

One step up from Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflicht-Versicherung is partial coverage: Teilkasko.
Teilkasko covers damage to your own vehicle through fire, scorching, theft, storm, hail and lightning. Breakage to glass and damage caused by a collision with red, black or hoofed game animals is also covered, as is damage to cables or hoses caused by cute little furry gremlins called "Marder". Teilkasko costs almost as much as Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflicht-Versicherung.


Comprehensive (Vollkakso)

The top insurance coverage you can take out is comprehensive insurance: Vollkasko.
Vollkasko covers all the above as well as damage to your own vehicle in an accident or damaged caused by third party  persons.
There are many additional facets to comprehensive insurance including:

  • Insurance for legal expenses (the cost of legal advice and legal action) 
  • Passengers' accident insurance (covering passengers' or driver's health if the driver has acted negligently)
  • Theft of luggage (provided the luggage is stolen from within the car)

All insurance may be nullified if you drive without a permit, drive an unroadworthy vehicle, drive whilst drunk or you intentionally cause the damage. You should also check if your insurance covers you outside Germany.


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