Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Language Selection

Breadcrumb Navigation




Quick Facts:teaser-quickfacts

  • Health insurance for you (and your family) is mandatory in Germany at all times during your stay here.
  • Your employer will register you for social insurance once your working contract starts.
  • Social security contributions will be deducted from your gross salary by your employer.
  • Find out from your HR responsible whether you can choose between private and public (statutory) health insurance.
  • Within the public (statutory) health insurance system, the employee is free to choose his/her provider.

German Social Insurance System

The German system of social insurance is based on the principle of solidarity. This means that every insured person makes a contribution towards financing social insurance depending on his/her (financial) ability. Please note, however, exceptions apply for civil servants (see section below).

Social security comprises the following elements:

  • Health insurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Long-term nursing care insurance
  • Accident insurance (for your work place)

Social security for researchers from abroad:

  • If your research stay in Germany is based on an employment contract, you will have to pay fixed statutory social security contributions.
  • Your employer is responsible for paying the contributions directly and will deduct your employee contributions from your gross salary each month. You can view the total amount of contributions on your pay slip.

Necessary steps for registration:

As soon as your working contract starts, your HR department will take the necessary steps to register you for social security.

  1. By your employer, you will be registered with the Health Insurance Company (Krankenkasse) of your choice which will then inform the other social security providers. Please note that it is your duty to proactively inform your HR department about which health insurance provider you have chosen, otherwise you will automatically be insured with a specific insurance provider.
  2. You will receive your Social Insurance Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) from the provider handling the pension scheme and a small booklet proving that you are insured (Versicherungsnachweisheft).
  3. Hand in the booklet to your HR department.

NOTE: If you have worked in different countries and paid into the social security systems there, it is advisable to check with the respective insurance providers in those countries which entitlements you may have. This only applies to countries which Germany has signed a Social Security Agreement with. Please check the Agreements on Social Security by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to find out more.

NOTE: If you plan on returning to a country which does not have a Social Security Agreement with Germany, you can also ask for a refund of your pension contributions by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung.

Information for civil servants

As a civil servant, you do not have to pay any social security contributions, but automatically take part in the pension scheme and you are covered for unemployment, (work place) accident and nursing care insurance. However, as stated in the section Health insurance below, you will still need to take out private health insurance with a provider of your choice to be fully insured for medical care.


Health Insurance

In Germany, health insurance is mandatory which means that regardless of your citizenship or residence permit, with or without an employment contract, you are obliged to have valid health insurance at all times during your stay in Germany.

Proof of adequate health insurance coverage must be presented during the application process for your visa, if you require one for entering the country.
In case you require a residence permit for Germany, you will also have to show proof of health insurance to the Munich Foreigners Office when applying for your permit.

NOTE: If you are coming to Germany based on an employment contract, you must have a policy with an insurance provider licensed in Germany. It is advisable to contact German health insurance providers prior to your arrival in order to discuss all of your questions.
It can also be beneficial to first check whether your health insurance provider in your home country will cover your medical and hospital costs in Germany. If this is the case, you will need a written confirmation of this for the duration of your stay.

What must health insurance cover?

  • Doctor and dentist treatment
  • The supply of medication, dressing and aid
  • Hospital treatment
  • Medical services for rehabilitation
  • Assistance through pregnancy and labor

The German health insurance system is characterized by the dual system of public (statutory) health insurance and private health insurance.

Public (statutory) health insurance

  • Employees with a working contract usually fall into this category (except for civil servants and other groups).
  • Employees can choose their own insurance provider. For more details on different health insurance companies, please contact us.
  • Monthly contributions are to be paid in part by the employee and in part by the employer.
  • The employee's contributions are taken out of the salary automatically at the end of each month.

Private health insurance

  • Civil servants and other groups (e.g. self-employed, high-income-earners) can choose to be privately insured.
  • There is a wide range of providers. Therefore, it is advisable to compare rates for your individual situation online as rates differ depending on your age, gender, health status and required coverage.

Information for civil servants

As a civil servant in Germany, you do not pay any social security contributions (for pension, health and nursing care, accident or unemployment). Instead, you are part of a governmental benefit scheme called Beihilfe which covers a certain percentage of the costs for private health insurance. In Bavaria, the Landesamt für Finanzen is the responsible authority for this.

NOTE: The remaining percentage must be covered by your own private insurance policy to reach a total of 100% insurance coverage. Most insurance companies have special offers for civil servants.


Information for Visiting Fellows

If your research stay in Germany is not based on an employment contract, you will not be subject to social security contributions. However, you are still required to have adequate health insurance regardless of the duration of your stay.

Without an employment contract, normally you are not eligible for public health insurance and have to obtain private health insurance. However, in general, the minimum contract term with private health insurer is 18 or 24 months. There are though a number of suppliers who offer health insurance packages for shorter periods especially for visiting fellows. Please check directly with the insurance companies and authorities whether coverage is sufficient for your visa and residence permit.


Information for Familiesteaser-families

Public (statutory) health insurance

If you are automatically assigned to or choose to be in the public health insurance system, you have the possibility to put your children and your spouse on your insurance policy for free, if the following conditions apply:

  • Your spouse is a low-income-earner (contact us for details)
  • Your spouse is not a civil servant, not self-employed and does not already have a private insurance policy
  • Children can be added to your insurance for free until the age of 23 as long as they don't have an income of their own
  • Children cannot be added if one parent is privately insured and is a high-income-earner (contact us for details)
  • Your family members live in Germany or in a country, with which a health insurance treaty exists

Please be sure to also check details or further conditions with your chosen insurance provider.

Private health insurance

If you choose to be privately insured, please contact your insurance provider or check your policy regarding the coverage for family members.


Our Serviceteaser-ourservice

LMU Gateway is here to support you with questions you may have related to your individual insurance situation. We can help you with queries such as:

  • Public or private health insurance - in my situation, can I choose?
  • Where can I find a list of health insurance providers in the Munich area?
  • Where can I register my family members for health insurance? What options do I have?
  • I am a civil servant - what financial benefit can I expect in regards to health insurance?
  • I have been registered for something called VBL/Pflichtversicherung - what is this and can I opt out?
  • What other insurances than the ones described are recommended in Germany?


Useful Linksteaser-usefullinks

For more detailed information on Germany's insurance system, we have compiled some useful links below:

Health Insurance:
EURAXESS (Health insurance) 
Landesamt für Finanzen (Beihilfe) (DE)
Federal Ministry of Health (Health insurance)

Social Security:
EURAXESS (Social security)
Make-it-in-Germany (Insurance and social security)
Find your pension


Back to PHASE 2: First steps after arrival