Health Insurance for Foreign Students in Germany

Private Health Insurance for Students


Health insurance is mandatory in Germany. Foreign students can choose between public and private health insurance. The SIGNAL IDUNA Private Health Insurance for Students combines high-quality coverage with low premiums

Do foreign students need health insurance in Germany?


If you wish to study in Germany, you will need to provide proof of existing health insurance. This is a necessary condition of enrolment. You can either have a letter issued that certifies your current insurance as valid in Germany or, if that is not possible, sign up for coverage at a German health insurance provider.

Foreign students usually choose public health insurance. Public health insurance companies are obligated to offer affordable student tariffs, and many private insurers also offer them. Private health insurance also offers student tariffs. We recommend you choose private health insurance should you be older than 30 or beginning your 15th semester.

Is my current health insurance recognised in Germany?


Before you enrol at a German university, you should check whether your existing health insurance is recognised in Germany. You can inquire about the details with your current health insurance provider.

Member states of the European Union as well as several other countries have signed social security agreements with Germany. If you own a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), your health insurance should be recognised in Germany.

If your current health insurance is recognised, you will need to contact a German health insurance provider and have them issue you a certificate of insurance. You can ask the International Office (or „Akademisches Auslandsamt“, AAA) of your university for help. This certificate is proof that you have a valid health insurance and do not require to take out German statutory health insurance. Once you have received this confirmation, you cannot apply for German public health insurance for the duration of your studies.

Bear in mind that your current health insurance, although recognised in Germany, may not cover all costs that may arise from German health care. You will have to inform yourself about the services you are entitled to in Germany beforehand.

My current health insurance is not recognised in Germany


If your country’s health insurance is not recognised in Germany, you have to take out German health insurance. Whether you choose public or private health insurance depends on your age and the number of semesters.

When to choose German public health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV)


The majority of German citizens is registered under public health insurance (GKV). Accordingly, the majority of students has a public health insurance. You can choose from a variety of over 100 providers with legally mandated benefits. That is, most public health insurances provide the same coverage, although providers may set their own focus.

Public health insurance providers are obligated to offer students low-cost coverage up to the age of 30 or the end of their 14th semester. The average monthly contributions for students amount to approximately 90 € in 2019. This includes the monthly contributions to health insurance as well as care insurance.

Once you turn 30 or begin your 15th semester, public health insurance providers will turn your student tariff into a normal tariff. With this, your monthly premiums will rise significantly.

When to look for an alternative: German language courses


You cannot insure yourself at a public health insurance provider if you are taking part in a German language course prior to your studies. In this case, you need to contact an insurance provider that offers short-term solutions such as traveling health insurances (Reisekrankenversicherung). Most providers offer health insurances starting from 1 month for up to 5 years of contract duration.

After you have completed your language course and apply at a German university, you will need to provide proof of a statutory health insurance.

How do I take out German health insurance?


If you want to apply for public health insurance, it is your responsibility to find a health insurance provider that fits your needs and apply for membership. Some providers offer online registration services. All public health providers offer the same basic coverage ranging from check-ups to hospital stays. You can also contact the International Office at your university and ask for help.

If you wish to insure yourself privately, contact a private health insurance provider that offers favourable student tariffs for international students such as SIGNAL IDUNA and ask for more information.

As a student, you are subject to compulsory insurance. Public health insurance providers usually have to insure you. Bear in mind that, unlike public health insurance providers, private health insurance providers may refuse to insure you based on their standards.

Can I take on a job while studying in Germany?


Students from the EU and the EEA are more or less on equal terms with German students. They do not face specific restrictions and have free access to the German job market.

Since 2011 this also applies to students from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

International students that are not from the EU cannot work freelance or be self-employed.

Other international students that are neither from the EU nor the EEA face stricter restrictions.

Students from the EU and EEA


Yes, you are allowed to work alongside your studies. However, there are some restrictions that all students in Germany face.

To remain in your student tariff, you must not work over 20 hours per week. You are free to work full-time during the semester break. If you follow these limitations, you are classed as a working student.

Should you exceed the limits for working hours per week/year, you are no longer deemed a working student. Your public health insurance provider may turn your student tariff into a normal tariff that does not come with student benefits and is therefore higher in contributions. If you are insured privately and exceed the limits for working hours, you are obligated to insure yourself at a public health insurance company instead.

Please note that taking on a permanent employment subject to compulsory insurance (such as a full-time job) alongside your studies also means that you cannot insure yourself privately. You are automatically registered under public health care should you earn less than 60.750 € per year (as of 2019). It is best to contact your health insurance provider to inquire about the details beforehand.

If you have more than one job, the working hours of all jobs will be combined in respect of the aforementioned limitations for working students.

Important: As of the end of 2017, EU- or EEA-students that are working part-time or taking up a paid internship have to apply for German health insurance.

Students from outside the EU and EEA


If you are not from the EU oder EEA, you are allowed to work for 120 full or 240 half days during a year. You need the approval of the German Employment Agency („Arbeitsamt“) as well as the immigration office („Ausländerbehörde“) if you want to work more than that.

Possible internships („Praktikum“) count as normal work and will be subtracted from the 120 respectively 240 days you are allowed to work. Even if the internship is unpaid.

Compulsory internships connected to your studies are the only exception from this limit.

If you work as a student assistant („HiWi“) or at a student job with ASTA or Studentenwerk, you may work without any time restrictions. However, you still need to inform the foreigner’s authority.

Language courses


If you are taking German language classes, you can only work in lecture-free periods. You will also need the consent of the Federal Employment Agency as well as the foreigner’s authority. The same accounts for students attending the Studienkolleg.

When does my membership with a German insurance provider end?


Foreign students have the exceptional right of termination of their health insurance contract once they leave Germany permanently and deregister. You will need to contact your health insurance provider if this is the case.

What is the deductible?


When choosing a tariff, you can agree to a yearly deductible. Agreeing to a deductible can reduce the monthly costs of your private health insurance. Not all tariffs include a deductible.

If, for example, you agree to a deductible of 480 €, you will have to pay for medical bills up to a total of 480 € per year. Any medical bills exceeding your deductible are covered by your private health insurance according to the contractual agreements.

Some private insurance providers apply the deductible to all medical fields. Others may exclude dental bills or other services. That is, you do not have to use your deductible for costs arising from dental treatments as specified in your contract.





The SIGNAL IDUNA tariffs for students


You can choose from a variety of affordable student tariffs at SIGNAL IDUNA.


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