Car insurance guide for expats in Germany

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Welcome to Germany – and Joonko’s expat guide to all things car! Yes, Germans have an extraordinary love for rules, regulations and paperwork. This can be overwhelming and at times stressful, especially if you are new to the country. The good news: Once you understand how the system works, you can follow it like clockwork and make sure you get exactly what you need. Joonko helps you navigate the system and tells you everything you need to know about driving in Germany, registering your car and taking out the kind of car insurance that suits you best.

Driving in Germany as a foreign driver

Most expats wonder if they can drive in Germany with a foreign licence. As a foreign driver you are allowed to use your foreign licence for a certain period of time, depending on which country your licence was issued in. The deciding factor is typically whether or not your driver’s licence was issued in an EU or non-EU country. Especially if you are the holder of a driver’s licence not issued in an EU (or EEA) country, you will have to exchange your foreign licence for a German one. Joonko can guide you through this process and make sure you have all the information you need.

Registering your car in Germany

In order to drive on public roads you are legally obliged to register your car in Germany. There are several ways to do this: You can register it at the Zulassungsstelle at your place of residence, online or (in some places) at the Bürgerbüro.

It is important to book appointments in advance. Also make sure you bring all of the required documents to your appointment. How you register your car and which documents you need depends mainly on whether you are registering a new car or a used car. If you want to register a decommissioned car, additional requirements will apply.

Basic things to know about car insurance in Germany

There are three different types of car insurance in Germany: Third-party liability (mandatory), fully comprehensive and partially comprehensive insurance (both optional).

The cost of your car insurance premium depends on a number of different factors. The two most important factors are your no-claims class (Schadenfreiheitsklasse), and your age.

Understanding the difference between third-party, partial and full coverage (Haftpflicht, Teilkasko and Vollkasko)

Fully comprehensive and partially comprehensive are optional insurances. They offer greater protection for your vehicle than third-party insurance. Choosing between full or partially comprehensive insurance requires weighing up a couple of factors.

We can help you understand these factors so you can make a better decision about which insurance you need. A good start is to learn more about what third-party liability insurance actually entails. This will give you a good idea about what is covered and what kind of insurance you may need to take out in addition. The main options here are to add either fully comprehensive or partially comprehensive insurance.

Switching car insurance in Germany

Many people switch car insurance on an annual basis. Traditionally, switching season for car insurance in Germany is in the fall, when contracts are up for renewal. However, changing car insurance is also possible throughout the year as long as certain factors apply.

Most people switch in order to take advantage of new offers and to save money. The cost of your car insurance should definitely be a factor in your decision-making process. At the same time it is important to choose car insurance which actually matches your needs. Truth is: Some insurance providers will be better able to cater to your specific needs than others. Joonko helps you navigate the car insurance landscape and helps you find the car insurance that suits you best*.

Here’s a full list of all car insurance companies in Germany.

* Note regarding the car insurance comparison

Joonko has shut down its car insurance comparison as of October 30, 2020. The comparison is now done by another provider. Joonko earns an affiliate commission on every sale. For the user the comparison remains free of charge.