There’s a couple of things to sort out when moving to Germany. They’re all straightforward if you work with the right companies. e.g. Opening a bank account can range from weeks, in person with lots of paperwork to minutes. So:
- Sort out your visa if you’re a non-EU resident.
- Get a place to live. https://www.wg-gesucht.de/en/
- Get an “Anmeldung” — this requires showing up in person in Germany. You need this for the next steps. www.settle-in-berlin.com/anmeldung/
- Get a bank account. https://n26.com/en-de/
- Get insurance. www.getpopsure.com
But a few more details on insurance, here are the basics you should get:
For short term stay get this (free!) and combine it with travel insurance: https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do
For long term stays (and if you’re employed) you’ll need German health insurance.
This is required by law in Germany. But… the German health system is a bit funny. There is public coverage which is “pay a fixed % of your income”, and private coverage which is “pay a sum based on your risk profile”. As a general rule if you’re young and earn over €60k a year then private will be cheaper … in the short term. But long term if you’re planning on having kids or are not sure that you’ll earn at least as much for the rest of your life then staying in the public system is the better option. If you’re a high income person without kids, and don’t plan on staying in Germany for ever, then private is a no-brainer for you!
Public for employees: Techniker Krankenkasse
Private liability insurance
German law (Das bürgerliche Gesetzbuch, paragraph 823) states that you are liable for (even accidental) damage dealt to others with your entire assets. Including money you haven’t earned yet.
What is covered? Some examples:
- You forget to clear the snow in front of your house. Some trips, falls and sues you. This is covered.
- You’re on your bike and don’t spot a an elderly lady who is crossing the road and knock her over. She has to go to hospital. This is covered.
- You’re listening to music on your phone, and cross the street absentmindedly.
- A motorbike has to dodge you and hits a lamp-post. You’re liable for all following costs (bike, lamp-post and hospital). The damage is covered.
What isn’t covered?
- Car accidents
- Your pets
- Extreme sports
This one is one that everyone in Germany should have, due to the nature of German law. You’re liable for payments until you die if you’re unlucky. It’s really cheap, so this one is a no brainer (3–4 Euros per month). Get it asap. The link below takes you straight to on online form in English and takes 3 mins.
The “Hausratversicherung” covers all the movable stuff in your house. It can help you get a flat, as landlords like seeing it — and some even require it. It can also optionally cover things like a laptop, and your bike. If you’re renting a place and don’t really own any expensive furniture, we’d recommend only covering your important items stand-alone if you want to cover them. E.g. get only a bike insurance, rather than a house insurance that also includes a bike insurance.