Insurance - Stay with a Scholarship
If your stay in Germany is based on a fellowship and not an employment contract you will usually be exempt from statutory social security contributions. You must ensure that you have adequate health insurance cover. Barring certain extremely exceptional cases, you will have to take out private insurance cover.
When taking out private health insurance, you have two options:
- Private Travel Health Insurances: As private comprehensive insurances are very expensive, many providers offer special cheaper tariffs for international researchers who are only staying for the duration of a research visit. It is very important to note that most costs incurred for illness predating the stay in Germany will not be covered. We cannot recommend you a particular provider, but known providers are e.g. Mawista, Care Concept and Educare 24.
- Private Substitutive Health Insurances: This option is often considerably more expensive than private travel health insurance, but offers more comprehensive insurance cover. There are several tariffs which are specially designed for international scientists without an employment contract and which differ, for example, in the age group addressed or the coverage of pre-existing conditions. A detailed overview of the individual tariffs can be found on the website of the Deutsche Gesellschaft internationaler Studierender.
For a stay of more than 90 days, we recommend that you take out private substitute health insurance.
Fellows registered at university are covered by statutory accident insurance. If, however, you are neither enrolled at a university nor have an employment contract, you may not be insured by the university and may have to arrange your insurance cover yourself. It is, therefore, advisable to find out well in advance whether statutory accident insurance applies to you. Further information on statutory accident insurance at universities can be found in this brochure.
As you do not have an employment relationship you will usually not be liable for statutory social security payments. In order to avoid gaps in your pension contributions during the fellowship period you can pay voluntary contributions to the "Deutsche Rentenversicherung" (statutory pension scheme). The "Deutsche Rentenversicherung" will advise you on the matter, you will find their offices through their website.
If you cause damage to other people's property in Germany, you must pay for the damage. We therefore recommend that you take out private liability insurance to cover the costs incurred in such cases. Private health insurance providers often offer combination packages that include liability insurance or you can add liability insurance for a small fee.
EU citizens should initially enquire with their health insurance provider at home whether their domestic insurance cover will continue to be valid during the stay in Germany. If this is the case, you can choose a German statutory health insurance provider as a representative to settle the costs of any doctors' visits with your domestic provider.
If it is not possible to continue being insured with your domestic health insurance provider, you have the choice of either registering voluntarily with a statutory health insurance provider in Germany or taking out a private travel and comprehensive insurance. Particularly if you are only making a short visit, you can also use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when consulting a doctor.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
To facilitate treatment during temporary visits abroad, every health insurance scheme is obliged to issue its members with a European Health Insurance Card. In case of illness in another EU country or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, medical services are provided according to the laws of the host country an reimbursed according to the charges applying there.
The EHIC only has limited scope which means it is advisable to take out an additional insurance if you are staying for a longer period of time. The European Health Insurance Card is, for example:
- only valid for essential medical services (the relevant doctor will decide what is essential)
- not valid for trips abroad specifically for the purpose of treatment
- not valid for the cost incurred in transporting an invalid home.