From lost luggage on arrival to cancelled flights on your trip home, avoid any excess costs on your upcoming trip to Germany by making sure you've got the right travel insurance coverage, so you can indulge in currywurst without fearing the worst.
Before you pack your bags and start making a list of things to do in see across the county, take a few minutes to lock in your travel insurance policy.
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*Quote of $3/day is based on a 30-year-old traveller going to Germany for 15 days and taking out a basic travel insurance policy. Quote retrieved on 4 September 20178.
Why do you need travel insurance for Germany?
From the Black Forest and the Berlin Wall to the beer halls of Bavaria and everything in between, there’s so much to see, do and experience in Germany. However, if you’re planning a trip to Germany or any part of Europe, you need to make sure you have an appropriate travel insurance policy.
Imagine the nightmare of dealing with a foreign medical system in a language you don't speak, without the guidance and financial backing of a travel insurer. Travel insurance provides a range of financial protection against many travel risks in Germany, as well as the common travel concerns such as:
- Cancellation costs
- Lost luggage and damaged items
- Overseas medical emergencies
- Rental car accidents
How do I get travel insurance for Germany?
Compare travel insurance policies online and if you are unsure how, continue reading our guide. Once you decide on a travel insurance policy, you will have to nominate the appropriate region to include Germany. Policies will usually cover Germany in the Worldwide region or the Europe region.
- Terrorism risks. Terrorism is a threat across Germany as well as much of Europe. The Department of State says that medium to high rating for terrorism exists in all German cities where a U.S. diplomatic presence exists.
- Pickpocketing and theft. While the level of overall crime is quite low, pickpocketing and the theft of items account for roughly 40% of all cases of crime in Germany. Due to a rise in pickpocketing in recent years, German police have warned visitors to Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf to take particular care of their valuables
- Drink spiking. If you’re going to nightclubs or some of Germany’s famed Christmas markets, DFAT suggests that you be aware of drink spiking
Road conditions. OSAC suggests that the older roads of Eastern Germany require extra safety precautions
- Extremist and ethnic violence. According to German authorities, far-right extremist were responsible for over 17,000 reported crimes, and 800 violent crimes in 2011. While Germany is a safe country, an unexpected violent protest, will interrupt your travel plans.
If you do everything within reason to avoid such risks but still encounter trouble, travel insurance will cover you financially with respect to the conditions of their policy.
Sandy's stolen bagSandy went to Europe in late 2014, to have a white Christmas in Berlin. While she was walking back to her hotel from the Christmas markets, her bag was snatched by a thief. Not only did the bag contain Sandy’s wallet and credit cards but it also contained her passport and travel documents. Luckily, Sandy had taken out comprehensive travel insurance before departing Australia and was reimbursed for the $250 cash that was stolen, as well as for all of the costs associated with replacing her passport, credit cards and travel documents.
German adventure activities
Travel is the time to try new things, push your comfort levels in order to get the most authentic experience. For travellers to Germany this may include:
- The German Motorcycling route. Riding a motorbike is risky anywhere, let alone a country with different road rules.
- Scuba diving in Central Germany. If you plan to explore the lake and its underwater city, then travel insurance is essential.
- Hiking in the Black Forest or the Bavarian Alps. High altitude, exhaustion and sudden changes in weather may leave you in need of medical attention.
- Cycling the Elberadweg. Cover yourself if you plan to ride this popular cycling route.
- Skiing and snowboarding. Ensure you're covered for hitting the slopes because not all policies cover winter sports as standard.
Remember to check your policy
Many of these activities are not automatically covered by insurers, so read the fine print before taking out a policy. Some providers will allow you to take out for these activities for additional premium.Back to top
I'm studying for a year in Berlin, do I need travel insurance?
While your destination school in Germany will usually include a health insurance plan for the duration of your semester, it is wise to get additional travel cover to protect you medically during your travels as well as for cover against other travel risks such as flight cancellations.
While Oktoberfest is a time a of celebration and undoubtedly one of the world’s biggest festivals, it is one event that you must take care of both your belongings and yourself. As you are likely to be under the influence of alcohol, travel insurance will not cover you for any losses that occur.
Staying safe at Oktoberfest
If you plan to have a few beers in Munich, follow these tips to avoid a sticky situation:
- Leave your belongings at home. The alcohol induced festivities make it easy to lose and misplace items, and the large crowds can invite petty thieves
- Hydrate. The tents can get very hot and sweaty inside, and beer is hardly known for its hydrating qualities - so sip on a stein of water every now and then to avoid dehydration and worse yet, alcohol poisoning
- Bring a friendly attitude. We all know how a combination of alcohol and conflict can easily escalate into a violent mess. Enter Oktoberfest with the right mindset and avoid ending up in the hospital with a concussion, unable to claim insurance for the medical costs or worse yet, liable for someone else's injuries
- Have an exit strategy. Make sure you have money for the cab and the address of your hotel written down to get home safely after the event
European travel insurance cover
European countries normally covered by travel insurance include:
- the Azores
- the Balearic islands (Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Canary islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Gomera, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma)
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Ireland
- FYR Macedonia
- San Marino
- Republic of Montenegro
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
Check official government warnings
The Department of Foreign affairs currently suggests that travellers exercise a high degree of caution if travelling to Kosovo, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Make sure you stay up to date to changes to the status of these countries as well the rest of Europe.
Hold onto all documents
If an event or incident occurs that could lead to a claim, you need to contact your insurer as soon as possible. You’ll need to fill out a claim form, and the insurer will also request you provide supporting documentation. This may include:
- Police or medical reports
- An admission of fault from your airline if they have misplaced your baggage
- Receipts for emergency items purchased while your luggage has been delayed
- Proof of ownership of valuable items that have been lost or stolen
The German medical system
If you incur medical costs while in Germany, it’s worth pointing out that the Australian Government does not have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Germany. This means you won’t be able to receive Medicare-like cover for your medical expenses. As the cost of medical treatment in Germany is considerably high, you will quickly rack up an expensive bill if you’re hospitalised on your holiday.
German hospitals require confirmation that you have the necessary travel insurance cover or available funds to cover your medical bills and in some cases, cover them upfront.
Your travel insurer
If you need help, most insurers operate 24/7 emergency assistance lines that you can call from anywhere in the world. They can help you find a medical provider, report stolen goods and find the assistance you need far from home.
Friends and family
Alternatively, in certain circumstances (for example if you lose your wallet) you may be better off contacting family and friends and having them wire you emergency funds
German emergency services
If you need help from the German emergency services, the national emergency numbers in Germany are 110 for police and 112 for fire and ambulance. If you require consular assistance you can get in touch with the Australian Embassy in Berlin or the Australian Consulate-General in Frankfurt.
Although cover varies depending on the insurer and the policy, comprehensive travel insurance typically covers:
- Overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits when unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel your trip
- Lost or stolen luggage and travel documents
- Luggage delay and travel delay
- Personal liability expenses when you cause injury or property damage to someone else
- Theft of cash from your person
- The rental vehicle insurance excess when your rental car is stolen or damaged.
However, there are a range of circumstances when you will not receive any cover, such as:
- If you leave your luggage unattended in a public place.
- If you ignore a warning from the Australian government or in the mass media about travelling to a certain destination.
- If it arises from a pre-existing medical condition.
- If you fail to take reasonable steps to prevent yourself suffering a loss.
- If you’re planning to travel to Germany, make sure to take out an adequate level of travel insurance cover before you go. This will give you the protection and peace of mind you need when you set out on the trip of a lifetime.
Before buying cover you should ask yourself:
- How long are you planning on being away? This will help you determine how long you will need to buy cover for an annual, multi year or a backpacker policy
- What are you doing during your trip. Decide whether you will be skiing down German slopes before you go so you can take it up as extra's cover
- Are you taking any valuable items? If you plan on taking your Go-Pro to shoot your moments in Berlin, make sure you look for a policy that covers its value
- Do you pre-existing medical conditions to declare? Declare early to find if and to what extent a policy will cover you pre-existing medical condition.
- Are any travel risks specific to your destination? Germany is known for poor road conditions in the east, and has had protests in Munich in the past. Make sure you assess the travel risks
Taking the time to work through these five steps will give you a much clearer idea of the right insurer, policy and level of cover for your trip to Germany
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Picture: barnyz, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
Picture: Thomas Depenbusch, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
*The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing travel insurance policies.