Insurances will help you throughout your studies. Some of them are mandatory, other require contributions from your salary. Others take care of you without you noticing.
On this site, we give international students a first glance of the most important insurances that are needed during your studies.
More detailed information about certain insurances is possible during our office hours. We will gladly help with specific insurance questions, like for example health insurance during preparatory college (Studienkolleg).
There are three main reasons for international students to have a medical insurance in Germany:
- Health: you will also need medical care here. A medical insurance guarantees medical care in case of illness, an accident or pregnancy, which is barely affordable from your own pocket.
- Social law: it is required for students to be medically insured. The insurance counts as mandatory until the end of the 14th semester, respectively, until the end of the semester in which you turn 30 years old.
- Immigration policy: it is demanded that every person coming from a foreign country seeking residence in Germany must have a sufficient medical insurance. This applies equally for European and non-European citizens.
Later, we go into questions about health insurance during compulsory insurance. The situation after the 14th semester or the age of 30 is discussed in a separate article below.
People pay regular contributions into a health insurance plan so that they can afford treatment for future illnesses. Long-term care insurance ("Pflegeversicherung") is also a healthcare plan: it is designed to guarantee care for people who are dependent on help in the long term due to illness, disability, or old age.
Long-term care insurance was introduced by law in Germany several years ago. It is compulsory for all citizens who must take out health insurance. For the sake of simplicity, we will therefore always include long-term care insurance when we speak of "health insurance". Only in the case of substantial differences we will explicitly differentiate.
How can I get insured?
An international student has three options for obtaining compulsory health insurance:
- Insurance in the public health insurance (GKV) ==> see below "Public health insurance".
- Private health insurance ==> see "Private health insurance" below
- The transfer of home insurance: ==> see below "Insurance in your home country".
Which insurance is right for me?
You have to make the decision yourself. During the compulsory insurance period, insurance in the GKV is almost always the best solution for students. There is hardly any product in private health insurance that offers comparable coverage at a lower premium. In addition, students who have family members in Germany have the unrivalled option of family insurance: if you are already insured in the GKV, you can also insure your spouse and/or children free of charge. Conversely, if you are not yet older than 25, you can be insured with your statutory insured parents. This option is also available for married student couples, e.g. the wife pays the favourable student rate and thus provides insurance cover for her husband (and vice versa). Taking out private health insurance during the period of compulsory insurance only makes sense if it offers better insurance cover than statutory health insurance. However, such insurances are then so expensive that they cannot be paid for from occasional job income. For students, the support of the family is almost always necessary for financing. We can only recommend private health insurance if this is guaranteed for the entire duration of studies. Otherwise, there is a risk of either economic problems during studies or the loss of insurance cover due to contribution arrears. PKVs that offer less than the GKV are also cheaper, but are not suitable for covering an entire course of studies because of the limitation of benefits. Only after the end of compulsory insurance can they become a suitable alternative in individual cases.
(==> see below "Health insurance after the age of 30")
Transfer of the GKV from the home country
Another solution to the insurance issue can be to transfer the GKV from your home country to Germany (==> see "Insurance in your home country" below). Such a transfer is particularly suitable for exchange students. However, you should first seek detailed advice from your home country's insurance company about the opportunities and risks involved. If you still have questions, please contact the International Office.
Social security arrangement with Germany
If you come as an exchange student from a country that does not have a social security agreement with Germany for your time in the country, you should join the local GKV as a student for the duration of your stay. This is easier and cheaper than taking out private health insurance in your home country specifically for your stay abroad.
When you become a member of a public medical insurance, you will receive a certificate of insurance that must be presented to the Student Services Center (Studienbüro). If you are privately insured, a certificate of exemption from the statutory health insurance is enough. If you are insured in your home country, you can document this with your EHIC card or a corresponding certificate from your home health insurance company.
Problems with insurance during studies
How can I save money in additional payments? What should I do if the doctor does not accept the insurance from my home country? There can always be problems with the insurance during your studies. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions to your insurance. It is one of their costumer service tasks, to answer your questions. Problems arise also when it comes to the fees. Students, that do not pay their insurance fees regularly, risk to be excluded from their insurance. And this could have really bad consequences. The statutory health insurance must register all the due payments to the Frankfurt UAS, because if the dues are not paid by the end of the Semester, the student must be exmatriculated. And an exclusion from the insurance - also from the PKV (private health insurance) or the insurance in your home country - can have consequences for the further stay in Germany. Therefore, please be sure to pay on time. If you notice one time, that you cannot pay the contribution on time, it is important that you inform your medical insurance in advance. In an early dialogue, there can be some solutions found (e.g. deferrals), that are not possible if there are high arrears. The International Office will happily advice you on this topic. Changing your insurance is definitely not a solution for this problem. Apart from the fact that the accumulated debts have to be paid anyways and certain deadlines for switching have to be taken into account, switching between public health insurances is impossible as long as there are still arrears with the old insurance.
The public health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung = GKV) is the statutory mandatory insurance in Germany. That means: a big amount of the population must get insured there by law. Included are students in Germany until age 30, respectively their 14th Semester. As a compulsorily insured person, you, like all other members, have the right to sufficient and affordable health insurance cover in return.
As providers of GKV, the various health insurance funds offer a mostly identical, legally defined catalogue of health services. Health problem preventions by a doctor or dentist are also included in the services, as well as the supply of medicine and operations in the hospital. If you are a member of a statutory health insurance fund, you will receive these services directly from your doctor or pharmacist via your insurance card, the doctor calculates the costs later with the insurance company. The amount, that the insured person must then pay, comes in a monthly membership fee from the insurance company. This amount is calculated by a percentage of the salary, so that the members who earn more contribute more financially as the members who earn less. Overall, the insured thus form a solidarity community in which those currently earning more support those earning less just as the healthy support those who are ill.
For mandatory insured students there is a cheaper fee known as Studententarif. It costs the same by all insurance companies € 77.01 (incl. the long-term care insurance). Students over the age of 23, who do not have children, must pay a total of € 78.50. In addition, as with all other insured persons, there are certain fees if medical services are used: Hospitalisation fees (€ 10.00 per day for a maximum of 28 days) and in most cases co-payments for medication (€ 5.00 to € 10.00).
Members can choose any of the statutory insurance companies (TK, Barmer, DAK, AOK etc.). Since all health insurance funds offer the same benefits at the same price in the statutory compulsory insurance for students, we recommend choose the health insurance fund that has the best advice and service. The Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) has its own student advisor who is available at short notice for all insurance and health questions:
Private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung = PKV) also offers students health insurance cover based on the principle of a life insurance policy. Private insurance companies, which act as providers of private health insurance, insure health services in a wide variety of combinations: Whether it's treatment by a chief physician with a single room, standard care for students or simple travel insurance - in private health insurance there is no one-size-fits-all provision, but rather various benefit packages (= tariffs) between which one can choose.
Unlike the GKV, the PKV does not offer these services itself. Rather, it assumes the costs for them. This means that the insured person usually must pay the bill for the treatment himself/herself first before the insurance company reimburses him/her for the expenses. The contributions in private health insurance initially depend on the quality of the tariff. Medically sophisticated tariffs are expensive, medically simple ones are cheap. In addition, the probability that each insured person will claim benefits also plays a role. Since the risk of illness statistically increases with age, the premium rises with the age of entry. And chronically ill people as well as women also must pay more for their insurance with almost all private insurance providers.
Whether the insured person is poor or rich is irrelevant. The fees do not include a "social" component. This means that there is a danger in private health insurance that you will overburden yourself with the premiums or that you will no longer be able to afford sufficient insurance cover if you have a lower income. Private health insurers also offer student rates for students. For a private full insurance that corresponds to the benefits of the GKV, contributions of about € 300.00 must be paid. Private partial insurance policies, which only offer part of the benefits of the statutory health insurance and exclude chronic illnesses or illnesses already known before the start of the insurance from the insurance cover, can be obtained for as little as € 30.00 € (==> see below "Health insurance after the age of 30").
Become a member of PKV
First, you must apply for exemption from any statutory health insurance fund. However, the health insurance company can only grant the exemption if the application is submitted within the first three months after the start of your studies. Only under this condition will you receive a notice of exemption, which you can use to insure yourself and enrol or re-register. The exemption is valid for the entire duration of your studies - with the consequence that it is no longer possible to switch to the GKV during this time. If you apply for exemption after the 3-month period, it must be rejected by every health insurance fund. As soon as you have received the notice of exemption, you can arrange insurance cover with any insurance company.
Serious advice on their products is offered by, among others:
Of course, you can also contact any other insurer. However, please always compare the products of several providers according to price and performance before concluding the contract.
Are you already insured in your home country? Then you might have the chance to “bring” your insurance with you to Germany. This way you can still be insured in Germany without having to get a new insurance.
Such a “transport” of insurance is possible if two criteria are fulfilled:
- The home insurance is a statutory insurance.
- There is a “Social Security Agreement” between both countries.
After the 14th semester, or at latest after the semester, in which you turn 30, you no longer need to have health insurance as a student. Nevertheless, you should remain so, because not being insured is always the worst choice. You put your health at risk and do not even save money. In case of an illness, you must then pay all the costs out of your own pocket. And besides that, you also risk having problems with the immigration office, which still requires sufficient health insurance cover to give residence. So, continuing to be insured is important. Next, we explain how a continuation of insurance is possible under new conditions.
By continuation of insurance with the GKV there are a lot of changes. Although it is possible for students to “willingly” remain with the GKV after the end of their mandatory insurance, the costs for the same benefits are higher than before with the “student tariff”. As is the case with employees, the health insurance funds now calculate the contributions based on the student's income. Based on the lowest possible income level (up to approx. € 900.00), this means an increase in monthly contributions to approx. € 155.00. The exact amount depends on each different insurance fund, since there are variations on their prices. Since this means a considerable increase, especially for students, you should have your insurance company check whether there are reasons in individual cases that justify an extension of membership in the student health insurance (children, illness, etc.) before entering the “voluntary” continued insurance. Your insurance fund advises you regarding these questions. If, however, even after exhausting this option, the premium for voluntary continued insurance is too high, the alternative is still to switch to a cheap private partial insurance for the rest of your studies (see below).
The insurance conditions in the individual countries with which Germany has a social security agreement are sometimes very different. If you are insured via your home GKV (home statutory health insurance) during your studies at Frankfurt UAS, you must clarify the following questions with them in advance: How long can I remain insured as a student or family member? Are there any options for renewal after that time? And: Under what conditions can I be voluntarily insured?
A new alternative
If, however, it is not financially possible to continue with the previous insurance, there is always the option of taking out one of those cheap PKV which - compared to the GKV - only offer partial insurance cover. Among these so-called "partial insurances", there are plenty of products here that are specifically made in the cases of foreign students over 30.
Under the principle of the PKV, this insurance covers, for small amounts of money, only the most important treatments. For some services (such as acute medical treatment and hospitalisation), the costs are covered without limit. For other services (for example: dentist appointments) there is a limit for reimbursements (e.g. per year). The known as “pre-existing illnesses (Vorerkrankungen)” (meaning, illnesses treated before the beginning of the insurance) are usually excluded from the insurance. It is important to notice, that insurance policies can usually only be taken out for limited amounts of time and often entail further restrictions on benefits when renewed. The risk of not being adequately insured by such a solution increase with the remaining duration of studies. In any case, it is better to be partially insured than not insured at all. Under these conditions, we can recommend a few products based on our experience:
- student classic und student comfort from Mawista
- educare 24 from Dr. Walter
Because the offers differ greatly from one another, it is important to check exactly which insurance best suits your own situation. Not every good insurance policy is suitable for everyone. Depending on your gender, age, the remaining duration of your studies and your financial basis, different insurance products may come into question. Therefore, we advise you to check the conditions of the individual insurance policies based on these criteria.
The purpose of the accident insurance is to protect against the financial consequences of accidents. It covers the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation. And it grants disability pensions or death payments. Every student is automatically insured against the consequences of accidents at the university through the statutory accident insurance. This covers all damage that can occur during courses, sports (at the university) and also when travelling to and from the university.
As a student, you do not have to pay contributions for the statutory accident insurance. If you suffer an accident in the Frankfurt UAS, please report this to the Student Services Center as soon as possible.
As the statutory insurance cover is limited to the area of the university, the Studentenwerk Frankfurt has also taken out private accident insurance for all students at Frankfurt UAS. This means that, with certain exceptions (such as club and competitive sports), accidental damage in the private sphere is also covered. You can find more information on these pages of the Studentenwerk.
The Liability insurance provides financial compensation for damage caused to other persons by one's own conduct.
The Studentenwerk Frankfurt protects all students with a private liability insurance for the higher education sector. The insurance also covers personal injury and property damage during practical professional activities in connection with studies, as well as internships and exchange stays abroad with a maximum duration of one year.
The costs for the insurance is included in the semester fee that you pay before each Semester at the Frankfurt UAS. More information can be found on the website of the Studentenwerk.
If you want to report an incident, please contact:
Studentenwerk Frankfurt am Main
Postfach 90 04 60
60444 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 69 7983 4920
However, the insurance cover does not extend to the private sphere. Therefore, it is worthwhile for every student to take out personal insurance for this purpose. Many insurance companies offer favourable rates especially for students. Debeka, for example, offers private liability insurance in a package with household contents and bicycle insurance. You can find information about this on the Debeka page (page only available in German).