Insurance - Stay With an Employment Contract

If you conduct your research in Germany on the basis of an employment contract you are required to pay fixed statutory social security contributions. The employer and the employee each pay half of the contributions. Accident insurance contributions are paid entirely by the employer.

Zu sehen sind die Hände eines Mannes in einem hellen Hemd, der auf dem Tisch vor ihm liegende Unterlagen unterschreibt.
CC0 Creative Commons

Health Insurance

In Germany a health insurance is mandatory. There are two types of health insurance in Germany: statutory health insurance and private health insurance. As soon as you start your new job, you can register with a health insurance provider of your choice. If you do not choose a provider by yourself, you will automatically be registered with a provider selected by the university. 

Statutory health insurance: The level of contributions to statutory health insurance providers has been standardised. There are differences in additional contributions and benefits. Contributions for health insurance cover are deducted from your gross salary at source. If your marital partner or children are accompanying you to Germany it may be possible, under certain circumstances, to insure them on the same policy at no additional cost (family insurance).

Private health insurance: In contrast to statutory health insurance, employees are not necessarily eligible for private health insurance. Eligibility is dependent on annual income. Anyone above the annually changing yearly income limit can chose between statutory and private insurance.

Pension Insurance

Contributions to the "Rentenversicherung" (pension insurance scheme) are part of statutory social security payments. Contributions to the statutory pension scheme are deducted from salaries at source. Once registration has been completed you will receive a "Versicherungsnummer" (insurance number) from the pension scheme provider. The employer is responsible for paying the contributions and will deduct the sum at source. Under certain circumstances, your payments will accrue rights towards an eventual pension. If this is not the case, you can have your contributions refunded. Before you leave Germany at the very latest, you should contact the "Deutsche Rentenversicherung" for advice on the pension rights you have accrued in Germany and potential refunds.

If your employment contract classifies you as a public service employee you will be included in the statutory "Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder" (Pension Institution of the Federal Republic and the Länder, VBL) as well. If you are employed at the university on a fixed-term contract you can be exempted from VBL's statutory insurance scheme. You can only apply to the Personnel Department for exemption within the first two months of starting work. However, your employer will have to register you for VBL's voluntary insurance scheme. This means that you can accrue pension rights without paying contributions yourself.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance ("Arbeitslosenversicherung") is part of statutory social security. It provides insurance cover for jobless people. If you were in work in Germany before becoming unemployed, were employed subject to statutory social security regulations for at least twelve months in the preceding two years and are available for recruitment, you will normally be entitled to German unemployment benefit. To what extent your German contribution periods will be recognised in other countries is something you will have to enquire about in the respective country.

Unemployment insurance is deducted from salaries at source.

Accident/Casualty Insurance

The accident insurance is part of the statutory social security. If you have an employment contract and suffer an accident at work or on the way to and from work, you are protected by statutory accident insurance. It also covers occupational illness. The contributions are paid in full by the employer.

Please note that you must report an accident immediately or as quickly as possible. The requisite forms can be found on the website of the "staff units": Operational Safety and Ecology & Waste Management as well as the "Unfallkasse NRW" (statutory accident insurance provider, NRW):  Internetseite der Unfallkasse NRW.

Here you can find more information about accidents occurring at work at the University of Duisburg-Essen, forms and contacts.

Nursing Care Insurance

Nursing care insurance, which is directly linked to health insurance cover and automatically taken out with it, is another element of statutory social security. Nursing care insurance helps people who are in need of care and dependent on the assistance of others. Contributions to nursing care insurance are deducted at source from the employee's gross salary.

Statutory Health Insurance Companies: Campus Duisburg

AOK Student Service
Lotharstr. 80
47057 Duisburg
Phone: 0203 393 22 33
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 9 am – 2 pm

TK – Techniker Krankenkasse
Schifferstr. 166
47059 Duisburg
Phone: 0203 992 41 50
Opening hours:
Monday + Wednesday: 9 am – 6 pm
Tuesday: 9 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 9 am – 6 pm
Friday: 9 am – 2 pm

Statutory Health Insurance Companies: Campus Essen

AOK Student Service
Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 49
45141 Essen
Phone: 0201 201 16 70
Email: ass.essen@rh.aok.de
Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday: 8 am – 6 pm
Friday: 8 am – 4 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 1 pm

TK – Techniker Krankenkasse
Lindenallee 43 - 45
45127 Essen
Phone: 0201 811 45 07
Opening hours:
Monday + Tuesday: 9 am – 5 pm
Wednesday: 9 am – 3 pm
Thursday: 8 am – 6 pm
Friday: 9 am – 1 pm

Tip: Find your Pension

On this portal you can find information about the pension schemes and pension institutions in the various countries of Europe. The website is designed for mobile researchers and provides information on future pension rights you can accrue in Europe.

Lists and brochures

Here you can find a list of statutory health insurance providers.

Here you can find links and information on social security and a list of social security agreements.

Useful brochures:

Statutory Accident Insurance at Universities: „Gesetzlicher Unfallversicherungsschutz an Hochschulen“

Information for academics on fixed-term contracts: "VBLspezial Wissenschaftler West" (English)