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Private Health Insurance for Students in Germany

Written by
Janine El-Saghir
Health insurance is also an absolute must for foreign students in Germany and is required by law. Private health insurers offer students affordable rates with a wide range of benefits. We present the best health insurance policies for students in 2024.
At a glance
  • International students up to 30 can choose between statutory and private comprehensive health insurance in Germany.
  • However, statutory health insurance is not an option for all international students. In addition, the benefits provided by private health insurance are much better than those provided by public health insurance services.
  • Private insurers offer students special tariffs with low monthly premiums and an excellent price-performance ratio.
  • Our editorial recommendation is ottonova’s student tariffs, which are available in three variants with different levels of benefits.
  • Expat health insurance from ottonova and Feather is, for example, suitable for students on language and preparatory courses or visiting researchers.

Health insurance options for international students

Health insurance is compulsory in Germany, and it is also required by law for international students. If you are coming from abroad to study, you must provide proof of health insurance before you enter the country to obtain a student visa.

Travel insurance is not an alternative to health insurance for students. If you have applied for a student visa, it will not be accepted by the German embassies when issuing visas.

International students can choose between a statutory health insurance provider or private insurance for German health insurance. However, statutory health insurance is not possible for all students. We explain which options are available for your health insurance in Germany and which requirements you need to fulfill.

Statutory health insurance for students

All statutory health insurance providers offer health insurance for students with particularly favorable contribution rates. The basic monthly amount for students is currently €82.99, plus additional contributions from the health insurance companies and the contribution to statutory long-term care insurance. Students pay €125 monthly for statutory health and long-term care insurance.

If you already live in Germany and have statutory health insurance, you can decide at the start of your studies whether you want to switch to private health insurance. To accomplish this, you must be exempted from compulsory statutory health insurance if you are younger than 25. Your previous health insurance company will issue a certificate about the exemption. Your new insurance company usually submits an exemption application.

If you come to Germany from abroad to study, you can decide whether to take out private or public health insurance under certain conditions.

However, the following foreign students are generally not eligible for German statutory health insurance:

  • Participants in language or preparatory courses who are not enrolled in a regular degree course
  • Foreign scholarship holders and doctoral students who are not in an employment relationship with their university
  • Visiting academics and foreign researchers
  • Students who are freelancers or self-employed

Students with foreign health insurance

Students from the EU, the European Economic Area, and countries with which Germany has concluded a social security agreement may not have to take out new health insurance in Germany. In this case, you can have your home country’s health insurance recognized in Germany. You will need a European Health Insurance Card (EHICS) to use healthcare services.

Recognition of your home country’s health insurance will mainly apply to statutory health insurance. However, in some cases, foreign private health insurance policies are also recognized.

Important:

Your home country’s health insurance must be increased for a paid internship or a part-time job. In this case, you will need German health insurance.

Students over 30

Students over 30 can no longer take out statutory health insurance at the student rate. Although you can remain covered by statutory health insurance, you will have to pay the standard rate of your health insurance provider, which is usually significantly pricier than the student rate. However, you can easily switch to private insurance once you reach this age limit.

Private health insurance for Expat students

In principle, private health insurance for expat students works like any other private health insurance: the insurance company offers one or more tariffs, each with a specific scope of benefits. The amount of the insurance premium depends on the customer’s risk profile. Age, personal state of health, and other professional or private risk factors play a role here. Such risks are queried before the insurance contract is concluded as part of the health questions.

Important:

The health questions for private health insurance must be answered completely and truthfully — otherwise, you risk losing your insurance coverage in case of a claim. If you have pre-existing conditions, it can be helpful to work with an independent insurance consultant, who will first make anonymous inquiries with various insurance companies to determine your eligibility for private health insurance and the conditions for the policy.

Only benefits that have been explicitly agreed in the contract are insured. In the case of pre-existing conditions, the insurer may charge a risk premium, exclude certain illnesses from cover or refuse to insure them.

You will receive an invoice from your doctors and other healthcare providers, which you submit to your insurer. The invoice amount will be transferred to your account. Direct billing between the hospital and your health insurance is usually possible for inpatient treatment.

Selection criteria for private health insurance

Important selection criteria for private health insurance for students are

  • Premium amount
  • Deductibles
  • Health insurance coverage (outpatient and inpatient care, dental treatment, and dental prophylaxis)
  • Additional benefits — for example, treatment by an alternative practitioner, alternative therapies, benefits for remedies and aids such as physiotherapy or visual aids, reimbursement of psychotherapies
  • Worldwide cover for study-related stays abroad and private trips abroad
  • Contract terms and notice periods
  • Age limits for student tariffs
  • Quality and accessibility of customer service
  • Digital services of the insurance company

Age limits for student tariffs

Generally, you can expect very affordable insurance premiums if you take out a private health insurance policy at a young age and without pre-existing conditions. In addition, the scope of private insurance benefits is almost always significantly higher than statutory health insurance.

Private health insurance companies offer special student tariffs, although certain age limits apply. Some tariffs, like the student tariff of statutory health insurance, apply up to the age of 30, while other insurers offer training tariffs up to the age of 39.

Some private health insurance providers stipulate maximum insurance periods for their student tariffs — up to 60 months, for example. After this period, you must switch to a standard tariff, as you do when you graduate. You can prove the start and end of your studies to your health insurance company by providing certificates of enrollment and deregistration.

Private expat health insurance

An alternative to private comprehensive health insurance for students can sometimes be health insurance for expats, which some insurance companies offer. This type of insurance is suitable for customers who need health insurance for a limited period.

Such offers can, for example, be an adequate solution for students in language and preparatory courses who want to opt later for public health insurance or foreign researchers and postdocs who are not eligible for public health insurance.

Compared to complete insurance, however, the coverage of these offers usually needs to be higher.

The best private health insurance for international students in Germany

By comparing different student insurance offers, you can find a private health insurance that best meets your requirements. To make an intelligent choice, it can be helpful to seek expert advice before deciding on a particular health insurance provider and tariff. For example, you can contact the Berlin-based FinTech Getsafe.

Getsafe offers various insurance products, but the company also acts as a consultant and broker for private health insurance and other insurance products. Advice is provided digitally or by phone and E-Mail in English or German.

In addition to traditional insurance companies, several modern digital insurance companies have established themselves in Germany recently. Here we present the private health insurance for students from ottonova and the expat health insurance from ottonova and Feather. Both insurers operate their websites in German and English, and customer communication in both languages. You can handle all insurance matters quickly and easily online or in the providers’ mobile app.

ottonova — private health insurance for students and Expat health insurance

ottonova is a FinTech insurer that specializes in health insurance products. In addition to private comprehensive health insurance, it also offers private supplementary dental insurance and supplementary hospital insurance for private consumers. In independent evaluations, ottonova has received top marks for its private health insurance and impresses with its very high service quality.

The insurer bundles its services in a mobile app, which also stores medical documents such as X-rays and medical reports. Medical appointments including video chats with doctors and other medical services are ordered via a concierge service. Insurance bookings, sick notes and the billing of insurance benefits are also carried out directly in the app.

The private health insurance for students from ottonova is, also against this background, a compelling offer and therefore our editorial recommendation.

In addition to student health insurance, ottonova offers expat insurance with a maximum insurance period of five years, which students can also take out.

ottonova private health insurance for students

ottonova’s student health insurance is available in three tariffs:

Study Smart

  • €110.77 per month
  • Excellent value for money with no excess
  • 2-bed room in hospital
  • Dental prosthesis 80%
  • 80 per year for professional dental cleaning, €100 for visual aids every 60 months

Study Protect

  • €131.35 per month
  • Excellent insurance cover
  • €500 excess per year
  • 2-bed room in hospital
  • Dental prosthesis 80%
  • €125 per year for professional dental cleaning, €550 for visual aids every 36 months
  • €2,000 within 36 months for alternative practitioner treatment

Study Free

€152.09 per month

  • Best possible insurance cover without a deductible
  • 2-bed room in hospital
  • Dental prosthesis 80%
  • €125 per year for professional dental cleaning, €550 for visual aids every 36 months
  • 2,000 within 36 months for alternative practitioner treatment

All tariffs support free choice of doctor, treatment by head physicians in hospital, preventive check-ups without age limits, access to doctors and clinics that only accept private patients. When traveling, you enjoy worldwide insurance, including repatriation service.

You can take advantage of ottonova’s student tariffs up to the age of 39 without any time limit.

ottonova expat health insurance

ottonova’s health insurance for expats is not a special offer for students, but is aimed at all expats with a temporary stay who want a high-performance insurance solution.

The insurance can be taken out for a maximum of five years. It is suitable, for example, for post-docs and students who are not completing their entire studies in Germany.

ottonova offers its expat health insurance in a total of 4 tariffs:

  • First Class Expat: €167 per month, €500 deductible
  • Premium Economy: €263 per month, €500 excess
  • Business Class Pro: €325 per month, no deductible
  • Business Class Pro: €352 per month, €500 excess

The First Class Expat tariff offers the best health insurance coverage for expats at an excellent price-performance ratio. All relevant medical services are reimbursed, including professional dental cleanings (twice a year, maximum €125 per treatment), dentures (60-90%), visual aids (up to €300 every two years) and therapies (up to €1,000 per year). This insurance cover also applies worldwide, including medically necessary repatriation to Germany or your home country.

Feather expat health insurance

Feather is a Berlin-based FinTech insurer whose portfolio includes various digital insurance products. With its insurance products, the company specializes strongly in expats in Germany.

Feather does not offer private health insurance for foreign students. Feather recommends its expat health insurance to post-docs, guest researchers and students on language or preparatory courses. If you opt for this insurance, you can choose between the Basic plan for €72 per month or the Premium plan for €134 per month.

Feather expat health insurance can be taken out for a maximum of five years. It is valid in the EU and the entire Schengen area. If the policy has been in place for at least one year, you are also insured for a maximum of six weeks per year in your home country if it is not part of the Schengen area.

The insurance covers medical treatment for causes arising after the policy was taken out. Pre-existing conditions, dentures, and regular dental treatment (except accidents and pain treatment) are not covered, nor are preventive medical check-ups, vaccinations, and psychotherapy. Costs for medically necessary repatriation to the home country are covered.

Conclusion

Health insurance is also required by law for international students in Germany. You have the choice between public health insurance for students or private health insurance.

Private health insurance almost always offers more comprehensive benefits than public health insurance. Students can also take advantage of particularly favorable rates in private health insurance.

Among the modern digital health insurers, ottonova in particular offers attractive options for different needs and budgets.

As an alternative, ottonova and Feather offer private expat health insurance policies that are also suitable for international students. The scope of benefits of ottonova’s expat health insurance includes all the benefits that are important for private health insurance, even in the cheapest tariff.

Frequently asked questions — FAQ

Insurers are not yet required to set up age provisions for students in private health insurance and can, therefore, offer them student rates at particularly favorable conditions. To qualify for these rates, you must provide proof that you are studying at a state-recognized university in Germany.

If you become self-employed or a freelancer after graduating, you can keep your private health insurance without problems. As a rule, you can switch to a standard tariff without undergoing another health check. If employed, you can only take out private insurance if your income exceeds the compulsory insurance threshold of €69,300 (status 2024). If your income is lower, you must switch to statutory health insurance. In this case, it is advisable to take out qualifying insurance so that you can return to private health insurance later without undergoing another health check.

Many, but not all, insurance companies offer private health insurance for students. We particularly recommend modern digital insurers such as ottonova, which not only offer transparent, favorable conditions and comprehensive benefits, but also meet the requirements of international students and other expats particularly well.

High-performance rates for student health insurance are also offered by Allianz, AXA and Nürnberger Versicherung, for example. However, no standard rates apply here — the insurance company will provide you with an individual offer on request.

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Janine El-Saghir Read more
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