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Kreis Schleswig-Flensburg

Bank and insurances

Current account

Most of the payments in Germany are being handled by so called „Girokonten“ (current accounts). A „Girokonto“ is an account managed by a bank, that is being used for cashless payments and cash deposits. Regular receipts and outgoing payments are being booked here. Additionally, this account is used for recurrent payments on a monthly basis such as: rent, power, heating, insurances. If the amount for these bills remain the same, it is wise to arrange a standing order for them. Having done this, the bank will automatically book these.

Be aware that terms and conditions of banks can differ enormously. You may choose a bank of your liking. Be sure to compare the costs and terms of each bank before opening an account. There are banks, which charge a monthly user fee. A current account is not always free of charge.


Overdraft credit

Upon opening a current account, an overdraft credit is often being granted by the bank. This is an overdraft loan, which means, that you can freely dispose over additional money, which you currently do not have. The bank sets a limit and charges a high interest rate for the amount loaned. You have to be careful, so that you do not start by building up a debt.

Personal credit

Banks are offering a personal loan to purchase certain items. As said before with the overdraft loan, the same can be said for the personal loan or credit. The bank does charge a high interest rate. The duration of the contract depends also on the amount of the credit, as well as the amount of the monthly rate.

Enquire for terms and conditions at several banks in order to get sensible offer and make sure that you can stem the monthly payment.

If you are not able to pay for the credit any more, look for an appointment at the debtors advisory service (Schuldnerberatungsstelle). You can find additional information about credit counselling at the website of the county of Schleswig-Flensburg.

Compulsory social security insurance

In Germany, the compulsory social security insurance is the most important social safeguard. It offers general financial protection, as far as illness, unemployment, need for care and when needing, elderly care, are concerned. Because of the social security insurance, those concerned are guaranteed a humane and dignified existence, even if one may not be able to pay for it by oneself.

The social security insurance is a compulsory one. Half of it's premium is paid by the employer, the other half by the employees themselves . All premiums are subtracted directly from the institution. How much has to be paid, depends on how high the salary is.

Pension insurance

The pension insurance serves the financial security, when you have become elderly and after having stopped working receive a pension. In general, everybody is compulsory insured in the statutory pension insurance. Until the year 2012 it was possible to start receiving pension when reaching the age limit of 65. Since 2013 the retirement age is slowly raised in steps to 67. From 2029 onwards, the age limit of 67 years will apply for everybody who was born after 1964.Special rules can be approved.

The contributions for the pension insurance are deducted from the gross salary and payed in half by the employer. How much has to be paid, depends on how high the salary is. However, from a certain salary size upwards, the contributions does not rise any more.

The state pension will be less than the regular income. Because of this you should consider to hedge additionally, while you are still actively working. For instance, with a private pension insurance.

Health insurance

The statutory health insurance belongs to the mandatory insurances and covers medical costs and check ups. In addition, it takes care of other costs that are health related. In case the illness lasts longer than 6 weeks, the health insurance takes over your salary by paying you a salary replacement benefit.

If you are self employed, you can either insure yourself statutory or by means of a private heath insurer.

In case you would like to be using a private heath insurance, be advised, that there are tremendous differences. Do inform yourself extensively about the scope of services and how high the monthly premiums are. In the end, comparing offers will be your personal gain and may save a lot of money.

Nursing care insurance

The nursing care insurance ensures that you, as all mentioned insurances before, can retain your existence. It will offer financial support when you have become elderly. The insurance will also cover you, when you need care based on an illness and require care that has to be provided by others. In addition, people are being compensated monetarily by the nursing insurance, if they provide nursing care for relatives and at the same time cannot finance their own livelihood. Statutory health insured people are automatically nursing care insured. Privately health insured people have to cover this particular risk extra.

Accident insurance

The statutory accident insurance covers financial consequences of accidents at work as well as occupational diseases. Accidents can happen travelling to work or to school. These accidents also qualify as being accidents at work. Additionally, also the way back home again from school or work, qualifies.

Unemployment insurance

In case of involuntary unemployment, financial support is provided by the state. In addition, you are entitled to more offers, for instance counselling, continuing educational seminars and all kinds of assistance. The competent authority for the unemployment insurance is the Federal Labour Office.

Unemployment benefit

Entitlement to unemployment benefits is only earned, if the last employment was subject to compulsory insurance and did last for at least 12 months. The application has to be filed personally at the competent Federal Labour Office. Before receiving any unemployment benefits, it has to be checked if conditions are fulfilled. Unemployment benefits are paid for a maximum duration of 12 months. If you are aged 50 and above, it is paid for a maximum of 13 months. If you are aged 55 and above, the time period increases to 18 months. Finally, if aged 58 and above, the duration reaches its longest period of 24 months.

If you have a temporary contact, you must register yourself as seeking employment 3 months before the contract ends.

Please keep in mind, that if you do not register in time, a blocking period can be implemented. During this time you are not entitled to any benefits. If you have been given notice by your employer (written confirmation ), you have to report in personally at the Federal Labour Office as soon as possible. However, at the latest, this has to be done on the 3rd day after.

Unemployment benefit

Entitlement to unemployment benefits is only earned, if the last employment was subject to compulsory insurance and did last for at least 12 months. The application has to be filed personally at the competent Federal Labour Office. Before receiving any unemployment benefits, it has to be checked if conditions are fulfilled. Unemployment benefits are paid for a maximum duration of 12 months. If you are aged 50 and above, it is paid for a maximum of 13 months. If you are aged 55 and above, the time period increases to 18 months. Finally, if aged 58 and above, the duration reaches its longest period of 24 months.

If you have a temporary contact, you must register yourself as seeking employment 3 months before the contract ends.

Please keep in mind, that if you do not register in time, a blocking period can be implemented. During this time you are not entitled to any benefits. If you have been given notice by your employer (written confirmation ), you have to report in personally at the Federal Labour Office as soon as possible. However, at the latest, this has to be done on the 3rd day after.

Unemployment benefit II

If you have been unemployed longer than 12 months, you are still entitled to financial support provided by the state. Information concerning unemployment benefit It can be found under the menu item „social benefits“.

Private insurances

Besides the statutory insurances there are multiple insurances that are also very important to have. These insurances are taken out by consumers them-self and they are not financially subsidised. Keep in mind that every insurance costs money.

Before taking out an insurance, you have to enquire about its services and conditions that are included and covered by the premium. Detailed counselling is offered by the consumer advice centre. Please contact your local consumer centre for your counselling needs.

A summary of the most common private insurances is listed below:


Personal liability insurance

By acting careless, reckless or just by accident, someone else may suffer damage because of you. For this you are held liable with your assets.

These cases are covered by a personal liability insurance and as such takes care of the inflicted damage. Sometimes the damage sum is not a small one, but so high that it is financially unbearable. As such the personal liability insurance belongs to and must be seen as one of the most important safeguards that can be recommended.

The case a claim must be made, the following costs are covered by the insurance:

  • hospital bills
  • rehabilitation costs
  • doctor bills
  • compensation
  • pension payments

Home insurance

Home furnishings within a house or apartment are covered by the home insurance. If you were the victim of a house burglary or a house fire, all furnishings are covered up until a certain amount which was decided on, when the insurance contract was concluded. The insured sum should realistically equal the value of the home furnishings so that all costs are covered by the insurance company.

The insurance covers:

  • Hail damage, storm damage, tap water damage
  • Burglary, robbery and vandalism

Additional costs, such as clean up work or accommodation costs are also part of the insurance. However, damages caused by flooding, for example a storm surge, an earthquake or an avalanche. Meant are events caused by natural phenomena. These are normally not covered by a home insurance policy. In order to cover these events, an additional home insurance has to be concluded.

In case damage occurs, the customer has to contact the insurance company as soon as possible (most of the time, there is a contact person or a kind of hotline service. Check your insurance contract for details). The damage that happened should be depicted as faithful as possibly can be done. Witnesses can be named as well. Afterwards, when you have filled the claim report, the carrier of your insurance will inform you about the settlement process of your claim and proceed with all further necessary steps.

The way this proceeding by the insurance has been described, can be seen as an example for many damage claims, not only for home insurances. In case that you need help, the consumer advice centre is always a good place to visit.

An insurance Check-Up (counselling by a specialist) is something that is recommended. Taking the counsel into consideration enables you to get the optimum protection and as such to have the good feeling that you have covered the unforeseeable damages that might occur.


Motor vehicle liability insurance (For one vehicle)

This kind of insurance covers several damages that may be caused by owning a vehicle. For everyone who owns a motor vehicle it is obligatory to conclude a motor vehicle civil liability insurance policy.

As for how high the insurance premium turns out to be, depends on a number of different factors. Most of them are listed below:

  • No claims class (depends on when the driver's license was made, number of filed claims to date, duration the contract has been in existence etc).
  • Type classification of the vehicle (frequency of accidents by a particular type and brand of vehicle)
  • Place of registration

Additional factors for the premium calculation amongst others are the age of the policy holder, the occupation, or the milage driven.

Premiums for the vehicle insurance differ greatly. Knowing this is always worth the effort to compare more than one insurance offer and to get advice, before signing. The internet may provide easy and uncomplicated possibilities to compare different insurance offerings online.

Besides civil liability insurance which is statutory, you may add on a voluntary basis partial coverage or an all risk policy. Partial coverage covers damages that may happen to your own vehicle (to mention only a few: theft, fire, severe weather).

All risk also covers damages and accidents that were caused due to one's own fault and other damages.


Occupational disability insurance

In case of becoming unable to work, an occupational disability insurance will have you covered and provides financial aid. It will balance the monthly difference between the reduced earning capacity pension and the salary. The insurance is relevant for employed as well as for professionals. How much and which protection is required, has to be calculated on an individual basis. Everybody generates a certain income and normally also has as such different financial obligations. How high the premiums should be, has to be adapted to the individual circumstances. Annually all employees in Germany receive a compilation of their personal pension contributions, among other things the current actual amount of their reduced earning capacity pension. Generally and as a rule it can be said, that not even half the amount needed in case of an occupational disability, is being covered. As a consequence the private provision is truly essential.

The mentioned insurance may be combined with a pension scheme, for instance. This way you will get payed out a certain amount at the end of the term.

An insurance check up is urgently recommended! Once again a good place to go to or to contact is the consumer advice centre. Also start researching for yourself! Offers may be requested free of charge from any insurance company.


Life insurance

In Germany, there is a diverse number of quite different types of life insurances which are build up also in different ways and which cover certain events. The worst case scenario covers death by means of a term life insurance. Another possibility is to save a specified amount of money and put this sum into a life insurance for one's very own old age provision. Once retired you get this money in addition to your state pension.

If you are interested to get yourself a life insurance (no matter which kind) ,be sure to check out at least several different insurance companies and advice centres. Life insurance contracts are generally set up long term based (decades). Termination or cancelation of life insurance contracts is often not possible immediately, and the financial burden has to be carried on until the termination of the contract is possible. So do be careful.