In Germany, insurance is a good thing to have -- health insurance and liability insurance for motor vehicles are mandatory. If you are planning to spend more than six months in Germany, here's an overview on other insurances you should have.
One of the most important and yet the least expensive insurance cover you will need in Germany is third-party private liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung). It will provide cover to you or to any insured member of your family in the event that you commit an act for which a German court would consider you ordinarily negligent. Under German Law, there is no ceiling on the level of damages an individual could have awarded against them for an act they committed, even one committed innocently but carelessly, or for the misdeeds of their dog or horse.
Third-party private liability insurance will not provide cover for anyone driving a car, piloting an aeroplane, or sailing
a boat; no cover is provided for hunting. All of these require separate insurance policies.
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Another insurance which is very important is cover for Berufsunfähigkeit (Occupational disability to work).
Occupational disability occurs if a person is unable to work in his/her last profession at a capacity of less than 50% for more than six months. Accident benefits usually do not provide sufficient coverage since, according to statistics, the reason for occupational disability is due to an accident in only 12% of the cases. In the remaining 88% of cases, if, for example, other reasons such as chronic mental illness or episodes of depression have led to disability, accident benefits would not be paid.
This is supposed to cover you if you are unable to work. You should also be aware that there various types of Berufsunfähigkeit policies. Ask me for more
informations about SAP Private disability insurance Cover in Extension to SAP company Cover!
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Insurance which covers death or disablement (Unfallversicherung) is often forgotten or just ignored as it is uncomfortable to think about. It normally pays a lump sum in the event of a valid
claim resulting from an accident. As a rule of thumb, a policy for accidental death or 100% disablement should provide cover for 5-6 times the insured's annual income. Death is self explanatory, but
there is a table of compensation rates for damage to, or loss of individual body parts; for instance, blindness in both eyes could receive compensation of up to 100% of the total insured sum, whereas
the loss of a leg up to the knee could result in compensation of up to 50% and the loss of a finger up to 30%.
This insurance must not be confused with occupational disability, critical illness or income replacement cover. Benefits under an accident insurance policy will not be paid if you become disabled due to an illness.
Term Life insurance (Risikolebensversicherung)
makes sense for those with a family and/or mortgages, as it will provide a lump sum in the event of an insured person's death by practically any cause. This insurance is inexpensive and the cost is
based on the age of the insured at the start of the insurance, the insurance sum itself, the insurance term and the medical history and smoker status of the insured person.
For those with existing term life insurance from their home country, it is important to receive confirmation from your existing insurer that the policy is valid while residing in Germany.
Household contents insurance (Hausratversicherung) is necessary to indemnify you for loss of, or damage to your possessions. Included are all belongings contained in your home, such as furniture - including (optionally) built-in kitchen units -, clothing, collectibles, sports equipment, valuables and computers for personal use. Fixtures and fittings attached to the building and not owned by you are generally excluded as these are the responsibility of your landlord or the house owner under their own separate insurance policy.
The coverage includes the risks of fire, burglary, storm damage, water damage and/or vandalism. Coverage outside the premises (for instance, robbery) is often limited up to approximately 10-15% of the total insured sum. The risk of fire, water damage and theft from your home in your absence increases the longer you are away and you must notify your insurer if you intend to leave the premises for longer than 60 days. Some policies also include limited cover for damage caused by electrical surges.
Both the German language and indeed the German legal system are probably radically different from the traditions and experience of most new residents. Misunderstandings or disagreements with employers, landlords, neighbours, local merchants, and tax authorities, not to mention parties involved in a car or perhaps another accident, happen often enough.
Legal assistance insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung) could save you significant amounts of money and a lot of personal discomfort. This insurance can help protect your
rights and allow you to litigate without having to spend your own money in advance without knowing whether you will win your case and having your legal expenses reimbursed at some later date. Most
people simply cannot afford to take the risk of going to court, especially when they don't understand the language.
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The office of Isabelle Helme Individuelle Finanzberatung has moved to the SAP commercial park in St. Leon-Rot.
My phone number, too, has changed. You can now reach me at +49 6227 651 33 29.