Health insurance

Hüttermann / DAAD

Last update: September 2017

If you want to study in Germany, you will need health insurance. International students are not permitted to enrol at German higher education institutions without it, so it's a good idea to address the question of insurance early on.

Health insurance provides the certainty that the costs of medical care and medications do not have to be paid privately in the event of an accident or illness. It is mandatory to have health insurance in Germany. International students must present proof that they have health insurance when they enrol. The following options exist:

Bringing your health insurance with you

Because Germany has concluded social insurance agreements with the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area and other states, the statutory health insurance of many international students is also valid during their stay in Germany. These students can have their insurance recognised by a statutory health insurance provider in Germany. Your insurance provider in your home country can tell you how to go about this. You will usually need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Private health insurance from other countries is sometimes also recognised. In that case however you cannot switch to a statutory health insurance provider during your degree programme in Germany. Your insurance provider abroad will inform you.

To enrol at a higher education institution, both people with statutory health insurance and people with private health insurance will need a certificate. This document proving that you are not required to take out German statutory health insurance is issued by the statutory health insurance providers in Germany. We recommend that you enquire with the International Office at your chosen higher education institution.

Taking out health insurance in Germany

If you are not insured with a health insurance provider that is recognised in Germany, you will have to take out insurance here. The statutory health insurance providers in Germany are obligated to offer an affordable tariff for students up to 30 years of age or until the end of their 14th subject-related semester. This affordable tariff comes to around 80 EUR and is available until you are 30 years of age or have completed your 14th subject-related semester. Tariffs vary because each health insurance provider can levy individual additional contributions.

The normal tariff of statutory health insurance providers is significantly higher than the student tariff. For students who are already 30 years of age when they begin studying in Germany private health insurance may therefore be the better option. The German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW) has made arrangements with an insurance provider for these cases. For more information please contact student services at your higher education institution in Germany.

Health insurance for language or foundation courses

Students attending a preparatory language course or a foundation course also need health insurance. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you should request information about additional travel health insurance. Everyone else has to take out private health insurance. The International Offices can help.

Choosing an insurance provider

There is a wide choice of statutory health insurance providers with whom you can take out insurance. Basic coverage is always the same: your health insurance covers the cost of check-ups, treatment for illness or after an accident, and certain medications. General costs for hospital stays are also covered. More information on the various health insurance providers is available here.

TIP: The DAAD offers combined health, accident and personal liability insurance for trainees, students and academics who come to Germany. DAAD scholarship holders receive this insurance automatically.

Service packages for international students

Many student services offer service packages for international students. These include not only housing and meals, but often also arrangements for health insurance.