Insuring a Vehicle in Germany

General information on taking out and cancelling a German insurance policy, with comprehensive details on insuring a vehicle (options from third party to all risks) and making a claim...

All vehicles must have at least third party insurance (Autohaftpflichtversicherung or Pflichtversicherung). The insurance certificate (Versicherungszertifikat) must be carried at all times. There are penalties for drivers of vehicles without valid insurance.

Types of Insurance

  • Haftpflichtversicherung: third party insurance, the minimum legal insurance requirement for all cars in Germany
  • Kasko: comprehensive insurance, there are different levels:
    • Teilkaskoversicherung: third party, fire and theft
    • Vollkaskoversicherung: fully comprehensive

German car insurance has a system of no claims bonus known as schadenfreiheitsrabatt, which goes up to a maximum of 25 percent of the policy figure.

Taking out Insurance

The following documents will be needed when setting up a car insurance contract:

  • Proof of identity
  • Police registration
  • A receipt (Originalrechnung) or bill of sale of the car purchase (Kaufvertrag)
  • Bank details if paying by direct debit

In the Event of an Accident

Following an accident, fill in an accident report form (Unfallbericht). Claims can be made by telephoning or writing to the insurance company. It is recommended to send the accident report form within one week.

  • Free Emergency Hotline of German Insurers (Notruf der Autoversicherer)
    Tel: 0800 NOTFON D (use the letter keys on a mobile)
    Tel: 0800 668 3663
  • Central Hotline for Car Insurers (Zentralruf der Autoversicherer)
    Tel: 0180 250 26

Once one of the emergency numbers for German insurers has been called from the scene, contact will automatically be made with the relevant insurance companies. Written confirmation will be issued by the insurance company and, if applicable, they will issue a declaration of cost liability (Reparaturkosten-Übernahme Erklärung). This is given to the garage repairing the vehicle and the insurance company will pay them directly. Drivers may select which garage the vehicle is to be repaired at. If no courtesy car (Ersatzwagen) or rented car (Mietwagen) is necessary in the interim, then it is possible to claim for loss of use remuneration (Nutzungsausfallentschädigung).

Cancelling Car Insurance

There is a differentiation between normal cancellation of car insurance and cancellation in exceptional circumstances.

In normal circumstances: Inform the insurance company in writing at least one month before the policy expiry date or the insurance company will automatically assume the policy is to continue for another 12 months. No reason for the cancellation is required.

In exceptional circumstances: an insurance policy may be cancelled on the following grounds:

  • Increased rates: this applies if the insurance contribution has gone up by 25 percent compared to the original policy amount, or is five percent more than the last renewal amount. Notification of intention to cancel must be sent within a month of receiving the new quote from the insurance company
  • After an accident: a policy can be cancelled following an accident if the policy holder is not happy with the way the insurance company has dealt with proceedings. Even if the insurance company has paid out 100 percent of damage costs, a policy may still be cancelled. However, in this case, insurance cover is removed with immediate effect, but the policy payments must continue to the insurer until the policy's expiry date
  • Insurance is no longer necessary: for example, if the vehicle has been sold. Inform the insurance company in writing with a copy of the vehicle de-registration certificate and bill-of sale

An insurance cancellation sample letter can be downloaded from the following links:

  • For a sample letter: Click here and scroll down to the end of the page (PDF or Word)

Further Information

  • ADAC hotline for roadside assistance and breakdown recovery
    Tel: 0180 222 2222