Car Insurance in Germany: What You Need to Know
Germans are car lovers and of course, the cliché of Germans and their love for rules and regulations does not stop with their cars. In this article, you will find an extensive overview and guideline on how to manage all the paperwork and details for an automotive insurance in Germany.
We give you all the information you need to know:
- Which form of car insurance is required?
- What options do you have?
- Check out online, which car insurance in Germany is the best for you?
Additionally, you will find information on how to register your car in Germany, as well as which type of driver’s license you will need for driving on German roads.
German Car Insurance – The Basics
In Germany, car insurance is a necessity – you cannot register your vehicle without one. Having a car and an insurance is basically a self-evident fact. Especially if you are a long-term resident in Germany, you should think about acquiring a German car insurance since foreign insurances often are not sufficient.
Generally speaking, there are three types of car insurance in Germany:
- Third-party liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
- Partial coverage insurance (Teilkaskoversicherung)
- Fully comprehensive coverage insurance (Vollkaskoversicherung)
While third-party liability insurance is compulsory, you can choose whether you would also like to have a partial coverage or fully comprehensive coverage insurance for your car. The cost for your car insurance depends on various factors, the most decisive ones are your age and no-claims discount bonus (Schadenfreiheitsklasse). This means: The longer you are driving without any accidents, the cheaper your car insurance fee will turn out. Your car insurance rate will also vary between different insurance providers.
The insurance providers collect information for the prize calculation on the distances a vehicle is mainly used for, the primary usage as a city car for short distances or if the driver needs the automobile for long-distance car rides on highways.
The company will ask for further information to determine a suitable car insurance for you. In order to estimate the cost of your car insurance in Germany, you will need the following data:
- Personal information: Age, gender, name, driving experience, additional driver
- Vehicle information: brand, type, age, history, date of purchase and registration
- No-claims Discount Bonus (SF-Klasse)
- Place of Registration (Regionalklasse)
- Previous Insurance
- Commitment to a Workshop
- Parking Facilities
- Home Ownership (some insurers offer discounts for home owners)
Third-Party Liability (Mandatory)
German law requires each vehicle on the street to have at least a liability insurance. The third-party liability insurance is the simplest type of car insurance in Germany and therefore the cheapest form. This classic car insurance covers:
- Compensation for the victim of an accident
- Personal injury
- Vehicle damage
- Other property damage
Generally speaking, the third-party liability insurance covers for the damages the insured vehicle might cause. Concerning damage claims, the insurance will cover damages to third parties. Additionally, indirect parties such as health insurance providers, accident and pension insurance as well as employers can also recover their costs from the insurance provider.
Good to know: If you drive a car in Germany without this type of insurance, you are committing a criminal offence. A third-party liability insurance is mandatory not only in Germany, but in every EU-country. Therefore, if you are an EU-citizen driving a car in Germany, your foreign third-party liability insurance is valid.
However, the third-party liability is not obliged to pay regarding certain circumstances. For example, hit and run accidents and the damages caused by participation in illegal car races as well as gross negligence are classical reasons for the insurance company to reject the demands.
Partial Coverage and Fully Comprehensive Coverage Insurance (Voluntary)
Both types of car insurance in Germany are voluntary. You are not legally required to have a partial coverage or fully comprehensive coverage insurance for your car. Nevertheless, both versions add an additional layer of protection to your obligatory liability insurance.
To summarize the important facts about the partial coverage and fully comprehensive coverage car insurance in Germany:
- It covers damages to your own car
- Partial cover is restricted to damages due to influences out of your control
- Fully comprehensive cover includes all damages caused by yourself and others
With more damages covered, the car insurance pricing rises. Therefore, a fully comprehensive coverage car insurance is generally speaking more expensive. But especially for new vehicles, this type of insurance may pay off in the long run. A comparison between insurers and insurance types shows your best options.
Car insurance types in Germany at one glance
We offer three different car insurances: a third-party liability insurance, which is mandatory, a partial coverage insurance and a fully comprehensive coverage insurance. With each version, you can choose between basic, comfort or premium conditions. The extent of insurance services depends on, which conditions you decide on.
Note that the services of a partial coverage or fully comprehensive coverage insurance provide supplementary benefits in addition to the basic, third-party liability insurance.
The following chart helps to compare our car insurances.
Third-Party Liability Insurance (mandatory)
covers car damages up to 100 million Euro
|including up to 8 million Euro for personal injuries||up to 100 million Euro for personal injuries (max.12 million Euro per person)||up to 100 million Euro for personal injuries (max.16. million Euro per person)|
Partial Coverage Insurance (voluntary)
new price compensation up to 6 months
|damages through hail||✓||✓|
|damages/crashes by wild boar||✓||✓|
|marten and other animal bites (up to 3.000 Euro)||marten and other animal bites (up to 5.000 Euro)|
|key replacement after theft||✓|
|damages through avalanches, earthquakes or volcanic eruption||✓|
|all personal belongings in your car are insures after car theft|
Fully Comprehensive Coverage Insurance (voluntary)
All services above are covered, including:
All services above are covered, including:
All services above are covered, including:
|New price compensation for total damage of your car (up to 6 months)||
(up to 18 months)
(up to 24 months)
|New price compensation after theft (up to 12 months)||
(up to 18 months)
|coverage concerning gross negligence||✓|
The car insurance comparison based on the chart shows, that a third-party liability insurance in combination with fully comprehensive coverage makes the best auto insurance in Germany.
Which further aspects affect the price of your car insurance in Germany?
In order to find the perfect auto insurance quotes for you, compare insurance providers within the market on car insurances. Car insurance regulations are influenced by three compare rates: type class (Typklasse), regional class (Regionalklasse) and no-claims discount bonus (Schadensfreiheitsklasse/Schadensfreiheitsrabatt SFR).
1. Type class (Typklasse): Statistics show, that some vehicle models are involved in traffic accidents more often than other cars or more likely to be stolen. Considering these risks, the German Association for insurance industry (GDV – Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft) has arranged a chart of all type classes, in which car brands are registered.
2. Regional class (Regionalklasse): The regional class indicate, how high a car must be insured within a particular region. It turns out, that some regions in Germany are affected with car theft or traffic accidents more than others. A region with a higher theft or accident rate requires a higher insurance fee.
3. A third factor in pricing of your car insurance is the no-claims discount bonus (Schadenfreiheitsklasse/Schadenfreiheitsrabatt SFR). The SFR reduces the overall costs of your car insurance – sometimes it is possible to bring your SFR bonus from your home country. In order to have something at hand, get yourself an attest on your driving record from your old insurance provider. By proving your accident-free driving record, the car insurance determines a certain percentage, which influences your insurance costs. The more years you can verify no accidents, the lesser you pay for your insurance.
How to Find Your Optimal Car Insurance
Even though the German market offers many insurance providers and your confusion might be rather high, finding the perfect car or vehicle insurance for you is not hard. Having only a third-party liability insurance resembles a cheap version of car insurance in Germany, but you should evaluate, if this is sufficient. Use this checklist to find your requirements to determine which type of insurance you need:
- Is your car older than five years? Then a third-party or partial coverage insurance might be sufficient. Please consider our different insurance conditions basic, comfort or premium.
- Does your car have any built in extras which raise its market value? Then look for a partial coverage insurance that covers the extras.
- How high is your no-claims discount bonus? (Schadensfreiheitsrabatt SFR). Fees for car insurances in Germany depend on the years during which a driver is accident-free. If a driver can prove accident-free years, the insurance fee may eventually be cheaper.
- Do you want full coverage of all parts of your car no matter what happens? Then a fully comprehensive coverage insurance is your best option.
- How extensive are your personal needs concerning a suitable car insurance? Is a third-party liability insurance sufficient? Or do you need a more progressive car insurance to cover all eventualities?
To find the perfect auto and vehicle insurance in Germany, you can use a car insurance calculator online. With this tool, you will be able to get a comparison between car insurance rates, costs and find the perfect option.
Which Factors Determine the Car Insurance Cost?
Insurance providers asses risks to estimate the premium. Therefor they evaluate you as owner and driver as well as your car. Here are the most important factors that insurance providers take into account:
Features of the vehicle
Features of the insured person(s)
|Age Experience in driving Mileage per year Traffic violation points (Flensburg points)|
|Desired insurance type and scope of coverage added services|
Which Factors Save You Money?
Regarding the cost of your car insurance in Germany, there are many factors you cannot influence. But there are some criteria that are in your hands and are taken into account by car insurance companies:
- Do you have a garage for your car?
- How does your parking situation look like? (public parking space, rented one)
- Who has excess to the car/Who is driving it?
- Which car workshop are you using?
A garage, for example, protects your car from various outer influences, which will save you money in your insurance premium. If you are parking your car on a public or open parking space, your insurance is likely to be more expensive. You should also consider the number of drivers using your car. The insurance costs vary, depending on how many people are driving the same vehicle. If more drivers are registered for one car, your insurance fee will increase. Finally yet importantly, you can save costs, if you bring your car to a workshop that is working with R+V24. If you are loyal to one of our workshop-partners, you can save 15% (Werkstattbindung).
Recalculating Your Existing Car Insurance
Many Germans switch their car insurance annually – due to changes in the market, the costs often reduce with a new contract. Not only the contract is changed but often also the insurance company.
Note: The deadline to terminate and switch your car insurance in Germany is November. 30th. You can cancel insurance contracts a month prior and normally the contracts expire on December 31th.
eVB Number as Confirmation
Whether you have chosen a liability insurance or partial/fully comprehensive coverage car insurance, in Germany a valid insurance comes with a seven-digit eVB number (electronic insurance number). This seven-digit number serves as a proof that your car or other vehicle are insured. The eVB number is needed to register your car at the vehicle registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle). With the R+V24 insurance company you can receive your own eVB number via e-Mail or Messenger immediately after signing the contract. This way you have your registration number quick and easy on your computer or phone.
Registering Your Car in Germany
You are legally obliged to register your car or vehicle in Germany, in order to drive on public roads. Here is all you need to know on how the process works:
Vehicle registration is necessary in specific situations:
- Registering a new car: When you buy or receive a new car, you need to register it in order to drive with it on public roads. For brand new vehicles, this is called first registration.
- Registering a used car: When a car was deregistered, you need to re-register it as soon as the seller has cancelled his registration. The change of car ownership must be registered with the registration office.
- Re-registration after decommissioning: For this process, the time span, for which the car has been deregistered, is important. Within a period of 7 years, a car can be re-registered any time. After this timespan, you will need a complete report by the Association for Technical Inspection (TÜV) to make sure the vehicle is ok. This report determines, if you are allowed to re-register. The Association for Technical Inspection (TÜV) is an independent institution, which controls the condition of your car. After buying a new car, the first TÜV-Inspection is mandatory after 36 months. Subsequently, car owners must have their car checked by the TÜV every 2 years.
In Germany, you have different options to register your car. Please check, which of them are available to you. This depends on your main residence:
- Kfz-Zulassungsstelle: Contact the vehicle registration office nearby. To bypass long waiting hours, we suggest making an appointment.
- Bürgerbüro: Some cities offer a citizens’ offices and residents’ registration plus vehicle registration services.
- Registration online: The internet-based vehicle registration by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure offers a platform to register your car online. Note that in order to use this service; you need an internationally acknowledged, electronic ID-card or residence permit, both with online function.
To register your car or vehicle, several official documents are necessary. You will need:
- Your ID-card or passport
- Registration certificate II (formerly known as vehicle registration document)
- eVB number
- SEPA direct debit mandate for the vehicle tax payment
- Certificate of conformity (COC) papers
For re-registering a used car, you will additionally need:
- Registration certificate I (formerly known as vehicle registration document)
- Documents on main and exhaust emission inspection
Good to know: In order to register a car, you do not need a driver’s license. You can only be the vehicle owner while somebody else drives the car.
After you have registered your car, you will get a license plate number. That number allows you to order license plates in a sign shop. You can also reserve specific license plates for your car online for an extra fee.
The car registration comes with the acquirement of the license plates. Next to the regular license plates, in Germany you can also get temporary tags or plates. They are attached onto unregistered vehicles that need to be transferred or used for test drives. The temporary registration and car insurance is restricted to five consecutive days from the day on its granted.
The prices for your car’s registration in Germany vary from 30 to 60 Euros. Generally, you pay the fees for registration and license plates on the spot. You will find several possibilities: You can either pay cash or with EC-Card. Some registration offices also accept Visa/Mastercard. Make sure to check beforehand, which payment methods your registration office offers.
Foreign Driver’s Licenses in Germany and Car Insurance
German authorities might grant you the permission to drive with your foreign driver’s license depending on a few points:
- Permits issued in the EU countries: Usually, your driver’s license, issued in one of the European Member States, will be accepted.
- Permits issues in non-EU countries: You can convert your driver’s license by submitting an application to your local driver license office.
If you have a driver’s license issued in another EU country, there will be no problem for you to drive in Germany. That means until your foreign license expires – afterwards, you need to transform it into a German one. That applies also to EEA licenses, e.g. licenses which are issued in European Economic Area countries.
Nevertheless, there are exceptions:
- Age related: You need to be minimum 16 years old, to get a EU Licence for mopeds, light motorcycles and quadricles. For cars, standard motorcycles and medium-sized vehicles, the minimum age is 18 years.
- Vehicle size related: There are different types of driving licences (AM- D). They are linked to different vehicle sizes from mopeds to buses are large vehicles. Depending on the vehicle’s size, you need to meet certain criterias. For more information visit the European info site about EU Licences.
Here, the German laws and standards apply to the individual groups of vehicles and age restrictions.
If you hold a foreign license that is not an EU or EEA license, then you can only drive for a limited amount of time in Germany: Once you register as a German resident, the time span for your allowance to drive is six months. Afterwards you are required of transforming your driver’s license into a German one.
There are exceptions to this rule:
- You are staying longer than six months, but less than 12 months, then you can drive with your foreign license. Get in touch with your local licensing office to get all the details.
- Processing times are longer than expected: Sometimes, bureaucracy takes its time. In Berlin for example a transfer of licenses takes approximately five months. So plan ahead.
If you are driving with a non-EU license, you need to carry a translation with you. There are exceptions if your license is permitted in the EU, Andorra, Hong Kong, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland or Senegal. Otherwise, you can find translation services for example at the German Automobile Club ADAC.
Convert your foreign driving license at your local driving license office. You need to submit an application for this cause. Make an appointment ahead of time to prevent complications with your expiring license.
These documents are necessary to transform your license into a German one:
- Valid ID, passport or national ID card
- Biometric passport picture, it should be taken recently
- Original driver’s license
- Translation of your foreign license
- A German certificate of registration (Anmeldebescheinigung)
Sometimes, the officials need additional documents – it is advised to schedule an appointment for your specific case to get all relevant details and documents aligned. Some non-EU countries have special arrangements for the exchange of driver’s licenses, which can be clarified during this appointment.
German Traffic Regulations
Before exchanging your driver’s license in Germany or getting a car insurance, make sure that you know all the traffic regulations, road rules and signs. Only if you know the rules and signs, you are allowed to drive a car in Germany. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure offers an overview over all traffic regulations.