Insurances in Germany
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What are the primary considerations for establishing a North America sales and business development presence?
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Having the right company insurance gives you more than just a good night's sleep. It is fundamental to the protection and management of your business. It's hard to get the equilibrium right too: some will try to get away with minimal insurance, whereas others will overindulge on insurance they don't really need. The easiest way to evade this is to consult a German insurance expert. They will advise you on the appropriate insurance for your company.
Paying insurance premiums is always going to appear onerous, but can you really afford to be without sufficient coverage? More importantly, can your company afford it? This is especially true to setting up overseas. As a foreign business, you are susceptible to infractions, accidents, even disasters, which you will not be accustomed to in the UK. You only have to look over the past few years to see how many people in both the East and West that have been afflicted by natural disasters.
It is advised you seek out a reputable insurance broker, who will not only be able to recommend the exact insurance needs for your company, but also compare deals and negotiate cost-effective packages. They will also be able to inform you of any legal requirements that you may not be aware of.
Generally, there are four main types of insurance:
- Vehicle Insurance
- Personnel Insurance
- Public Liability Insurance
- Building and content insurance
By law, all vehicles must be insured to a third party liability level. There are two predominant policies to choose from: third party and comprehensive insurance. If a claim is made against you for personal injuries and legal costs, then third party injury insurance is required.
Comprehensive vehicle insurance covers damages caused to your own car by you, as well as injury, property damage, fire and theft.
This type of insurance covers you and your employees in the event of sickness, accident or illness.
An employer must provide accident or sickness cover for their employees. However, self-employed people are not covered by employee compensation, and therefore need to cover themselves through a private insurer. There are various types of insurance available, such as income protection, trauma, life and disability.
Public Liability Insurance
This is a compulsory form of cover, and protects from claims by third parties against negligence, death, injury, loss and damage of property, and economic or financial loss.
Building and Contents Insurance
This insurance covers your property and its contents and/or stock against fire, water and other damages such as earthquakes, lightning, storms, explosions, burglary and theft.
There are a handful of insurances that are tailored to meet your day-to-day needs and cover you in the event of damage or injury to yourself or other persons, as well as assets and property.
Public health insurance is compulsory in Germany. The system is state-run by the government. You may choose private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung) as opposed to the public health plan. However, to be eligible for private insurance, you must prove that your gross annual salary is more than 48,150 Euros. If not, you will be automatically registered with the state system, and will not be able to transpose to a private insurance plan until you have been publicly insured for 3 years. If you want to avoid being automatically registered with the public system, you need to thoroughly think about which plan you prefer before you arrive.
Private health insurance covers a vast range of medical and dental treatment all over the country. Private patients generate higher earnings for medical professionals and therefore will invariably be consulted by senior doctors. A private patient can also request a doctor who speaks their native language.
It is recommended you weigh-up the advantages and disadvantages of both private and public insurance before making any decisions.
Home Insurance (Hausratversicherung) in Germany covers the contents of your home in the event of fire, water damage, theft and vandalism. However, home insurance is not compulsory by law, but is recommended. You may find that some landlords demand it.
Life insurance isn't just something to think about when you reach old age. In fact, the earlier you take it out, the better deal you get. Insurers are more likely to give a better deal to someone who is young and healthy than old and ill. Even if you have no family or dependents to worry about, there are still very good reasons for you to invest in life insurance.
Life insurance isn't really a country-specific affair, like health or vehicle cover is. It is tailored to your individual circumstances and needs.
It is important to know the kinds of life insurance available to you. Typically, these are term/temporary insurance and investment/permanent insurance.
Term insurance invariably provides compensation and benefits to a family or dependent in the case of death within the terms outlined in the policy. It ensures that, in the instance of death, the people you leave behind are not left in financial turmoil.
Investment-type insurance will be inclusive of endowment and 'whole of life' policies, and is valid for as long as premium payments are made. Technically, part of the premium is invested and will build in value. It can even be cashed before you die. Therefore, the earlier you buy, the more will accumulate, the more you can reclaim.
It is essential to remember, that, when looking for a life insurer, you shop around. It is imperative that you get a deal to suit your needs. So, with this in mind, not only are you looking for a good price, but a suitable, individual policy. Ask yourself what you need from a life insurance policy. There are many people that can help you deduce which company and policy is most appropriate for you, and there are many price comparison sites located on the internet.
Life insurance isn't regarded as particularly important in Germany. The social insurance system is secure and reliable, especially for cover in the event of death. Life insurance in Germany is fundamentally the same as other western countries.
Before registering a car in Germany, you must have evidence of third party liability cover for damage or injury. If you are a novice driver, drive a big, powerful car, or have a history of reckless driving, expect to pay more for your insurance. Conversely, if you have a good driving record here in the UK, you may use your previous insurer as a reference. If the German insurer you approach will not accept it, find another that will. It will mean lower costs in the long-run. Be sure to check out car rental in Germany too.
Organisations that can assist with Insurances
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