Health insurance is compulsory in Germany. In particular, all students need to show proof of health insurance valid in Germany
- in order to be allowed to register (immatriculate) at the university
- in order to obtain a residence permit.
Thus, not only international students but also research fellows or long-term guests of the university need to have health insurance.
All registered students and staff are covered by an accident insurance through the university for accidents occurring on campus or on the direct way to/from classes. However, it is highly recommendable to also buy accident insurance and a third-party liability insurance for the duration of stay in Germany.
Students with Public Health Insurance from the EU or EFTA Countries
Students with statutory (public) insurance from these countries will be covered during their stay in Germany by the health insurance of their home country under the condition that they remain enrolled at their home university for their study abroad period in Germany (usually limited to 2 semesters).
Students should contact the insurance company in their home country to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which they must bring with them to Germany.
Students with an EHIC card can see doctors directly, and the doctors can send their bills directly to the student's home insurance.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
(European Free Trade Association)
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland
Students with Public Health Insurance from Countries with a Social Security Agreement with Germany
Students with statutory (public) insurance from a country which holds a social security agreement with Germany will be covered during their stay in Germany by the health insurance of their home country under the condition that they remain enrolled at their home university for their study abroad period in Germany (usually limited to 2 semesters).
Students should contact the insurance company in their home country to obtain a confirmation letter. With this letter they must go to a public health insurance company in Germany and get themselves registered (free of charge). The German health insurance company will then issue certificates to the students which they can use to see a doctor. The doctors will send their bills to the German health insurance company, which in turn will settle the bill with the health insurance company in the student's home country.
Countries with a Social Security Agreement:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
Students with Private Health Insurance in their Home Country
If you have good private health insurance in your home country and do not wish to take out extra health insurance in Germany you need to bring confirmation (in English or German) from your home insurance that it covers all costs (without any coverage limit!) in case of medical treatment and rehabilitation during your stay in Germany. After arrival in Germany, this confirmation has to be submitted to a public (statutory) insurance company in order to check that all legal requirements in Germany are met. They will then issue a document of exemption you from statutory insurance in Germany and with this document you will be able to register at the university.
Once you have been exempted from statutory German insurance, you cannot revert back! If you decide to stay in Germany after your exchange program has ended, e.g. to continue your studies in a degree program, you cannot simply apply to a public health insurance but must take out private insurance!
Buying Health Insurance in Germany
Students who do not have (sufficient) health insurance coverage through an insurance policy in their home country need to buy health insurance in Germany.
If you plan to buy health insurance in Germany, you must keep in mind that it will take a few days until you have completed all the formalities and actually have valid coverage. Therefore, students and guests from all countries (except those which have statutory health insurance from those countries which have a social security agreement) should purchase travel sickness insurance in their home country which also covers medical treatment in the very first days after arrival in Germany.