In Germany, you can expect to find a very well-developed social security system, whereby you as a worker are insured against risks such as sickness, accidents at work and unemployment.

A distinction is made between private insurance taken out on a voluntary basis, and social security. When you work here, you are usually required by law to pay social security contributions.

This means certain types of insurance are mandatory for you.

Which types of social security are mandatory for me as a worker?

Statutory health insurance covers the costs of GP visits and treatments, medications and hospital stays. This is the only statutory insurance for which you are free to select the provider.

The statutory pension scheme pays you your pension when you retire. The amount of the pension depends on your income and the number of years you have worked during your time in Germany.

Statutory nursing care insurance comes into effect should you need constant care due to old age or serious illness.


Accident insurance covers the costs of treatment and reintegration after an accident at work or occupational illness.

Statutory unemployment insurance pays you an income if you become unemployed. To qualify, you must register with the Employment Agency as a “job seeker” and you must have worked and paid social security contributions for a total of 360 days over the past two years.

For social insurance, a certain percentage is automatically deducted from your monthly salary. The percentage levied is based on your level of income. For example, if you are single, have no children and earn a gross monthly salary of 2,000 euros, then your insurance contribution will amount to approximately one third.

What private insurance should I consider obtaining as a priority?

Household contents insurance (“Hausratversicherung”) is to cover damages that occur in your own home or in a rented property which the landlord is not required to cover.

Liability insurance (“Haftpflichtversicherung”) provides cover should you or your child accidentally cause injury to another person or damage to his/her property.

Motor vehicle liability insurance (“Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung”) is compulsory for every car owner. It provides cover should you cause injury to another person through driving your car. The insurance premiums may be paid on a monthly or annual basis.