The joy of buying a new car can quickly be stolen when you think of navigating the insurance jungle. Here’s a a few tips on what to consider when picking out your car insurance in Germany.
Insurances discounts depend on:
- mileage covered annually (Je mehr Kilometer gefahren werden, desto höher wird in den Augen der Versicherung das Unfallrisiko)
- where the car is parked (on a public street, private parking space) (Wo das Auto tagsüber steht, spielt keine Rolle)
- how many people drive the car (Der Beitrag wird günstiger, wenn die Zahl der Nutzer möglichst klein und ihr Alter über 23 Jahren liegt)
- where the car is repaired (some insurance companies have arrangements with some garages)
- the fuel used by the car
- Driver’s age
- how often you drive
- Typklasse of the car
- how long the driver has had the driving license for
- how many times you’d like to pay for the insurance
this is the classification of cars depeding on the risk of the car being stolen, or breaking down. Check the Typklasse of various cars at Typklassenverzeichnis.
In the liability insurance (Haftpflicht), the Typklasse ranges from 10 to 25; in the partial cover (Teilkasko) from 10 to 33 and in Full Cover (Vollkasko) 10 to 34. The higher the Typklasse is the higher the charges. The Typklassen were revised in 2012, they now consider both the age of the car and age of the driver.
Regionalklasse is determined by the Gesamtverbandes der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft (GDV) which depends on:
- the accident rate
- driving habits
- the number of registered vehicles
- the local road and weather conditions.
The lower the number, the cheaper the insurance. For liability, there are twelve, partial cover 16 and the nine Regional Comprehensive classes. You can check out the Regionalklassen for different areas: Regionalklassen Abfrage.
Selbstbeteiligung is the amount you are willing to pay for damages. For example if you hit a neighbour’s car and the damages incurred are worth €2,000, your insurance can pay for the full amount but if you had a Selbstbeteiligung of about €1,000 then the insurance will pay €1,000 and you pay the remaining €1,000.
The higher the amount you’re willing to pay, the lower the insurance costs. If you cause damages that you can cover completely with your Selbstbeteiligung, then the insurance rewards you by not “counting” that accident in determining your SF-Klasse.
Schadenfreiheitsklasse (SF-Klasse) (No Claims Category)
Unlike in the Regional- and Typklasse for the Schadenfreiheitsklasse (SF-Klasse) the higher the number the lower the costs. The SF-Klasse is the number of years the person was insured but never use the insurance. The Insurer rewards their client with a discount the higher the number is. The SF-Klasse which only applies to the Haftpflicht
In the partial cover (Teilkasko) there are no SF-Klasse because it only insures damages like theft, fire and gnawing by martens which are all independent of the client’s driving habits.
Clients should try and make contracts with higher SF-Klasse. For the young drivers, registering their first car as their parent’s second car and take advantage of their parent’s many accident free years.
When changing insurance providers, make sure your former insurer gives you a written statement declaring your SF-Klasse.
SF-Klasse for Foreigners
If you’re moving from outside Germany, you could get your former insurer to simply state how long you were with them and how many accidents you caused at the time. Some countries have insurance ratings for drivers, this could also be explained in the statement and presented before a German insurance company
Transfer of Schadenfreiheitsklassen
You are allowed to transfer your SF-Klasse to your children, sibling(s) or spouse. The transfer is irreversible.
The SF-Klasse is dependent on the age of your driving licence. A person who’s been holding a driving licence for 2 years can only get and SF-Klasse discount for 2years.
Haftpflichtversicherung (Liability Insurance)
The liability insurance is compulsory. Anyone taking a car insurance should ensure they pick a liability insurance with the highest cover. By law, the lowest cover should be 7.5 million for Personenschäden, 1million for Sachschäden and €50,000 for Vermögensschäden. Experts encourage that you pick the highest which is 100million. It may also be worth checking if the liability insurance applies in other countries in case you crash a rented car.
Kaskoversicherung Teil- und Vollkasko.
Teilkasko (Partial Cover)
pays for theft of the whole car or of parts of the car, for damages caused by a storm, fire, hail, short circuit or attack by wildlife (may vary for different animals). Usually a good idea for cars not older than eight years or cars of very high worth.
The cost depends on:
Typ- und Regionalklasse sowie die Höhe der Selbstbeteiligung (Selbstbeteiligung zu vereinbaren, also einen Anteil, den der Versicherungsnehmer bei der Reparatur eines Schadens selbst übernimmt.Je höher die Selbstbeteiligung ist, desto günstiger fällt der Versicherungsbeitrag aus)
Vollkasko (Full Cover)
Contains all the benefits of Teilkasko plus self-caused damages and accidents, hit and runs and damages by strangers/kids.
It doesn’t include costs incurred costs in cases where the car owner gets hurt by their own carelessness nor a defect motor or Verschleißschäden.
It’s the best cover for:
- Cars on credit
- a new car, 3 to 5years after purchase
- cars of very high value e.g. old timers
- car owners with a very low SF-Klasse, which makes it the same cost as the Teilkasko
Extras to include in your Insurance:
- Rabattschutz/Rabattretter: Secure your SF-Klasse with this insurance that ensures your SF-Klasse never reduces and subsequently your premium never goes up
- Neuwertentschädigung: Ensures you are paid in full if your new car is stolen or damaged within 3 to 12months after driving it out of the showroom. Can be extended to two years.
- Elementarschäden: Although the partial cover (Teilkasko) pays for damages caused by severe weather e.g. a storm, hail, lightning and floods, that only applies for cases where is it evident that the weather directly caused the damages. In a case where the driver drives into a guard rail as they avoid hitting a fallen tree after a storm, the full cover (Vollkasko) should pay for that. Thus this extra for your insurance.
- Marderschäden: Martens are small rodents that love gnawing on rubber. They tend to enter the bonnet of parked cars and gnaw on the rubber tubes and pipes.
Points to consider:
- The insurance should include, “Verzicht auf Einwand grober Fahrlässigkeit”. This means that the insurance pays for the damage even if it was the insured’s fault, failure to which the insurance can demand for the cost from the insured.
- For those who buy a new car, the Neuwertentschädigung clause is important as it ensures that if something happens to the car within 3 to 24months after purchase, the owner gets the paid the same amount they paid for the car in full.
- Value of the car in relation to the insurance cover chosen. It’s adviced to review regularly the relation of the cover to the value of your car as the value of the car depreciates over time.