Legal Insurance in Germany: All you need to know

Andreia Ferreira
by Andreia Ferreira
Updated on

Legal insurance can be a huge money-saver.

For an expat like you, it can be confusing and draining to understand how legal insurance in Germany works, if it’s really worth it, and the costs involved. 

One thing is sure, Germans love their rules and have no issues exercising their rights and using the power of their legal resources.

As a foreigner, you may be more vulnerable to encountering legal disputes simply because of miscommunication or misunderstandings, so it’s essential that you take action to protect yourself.

In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about legal insurance in Germany so you feel confident making informed decisions about legal coverage.

Quick Summary

  • Standard legal insurance in Germany protects you in several areas: personal, professional, housing, and traffic. 
  • Legal insurance costs vary from 10€ to 35€ per month, with deductibles and waiting periods being common.
  • Although not mandatory, legal insurance covers a wider range of issues compared to liability insurance and Mieterverein.
  • Several insurance companies offer extensive legal protection: ARAG, Getsafe, Allianz, and HUK.  
  • Legal insurance offers financial support, access to lawyers, and peace of mind.  

Understand Legal Insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung) In Germany

First things first, let’s have an overview of how exactly legal insurance works in Germany, as well as clarify the scope and differences between legal insurance and other types of legal services.

How Does Legal Insurance Work In Germany?

Legal insurance, also known as Rechtsschutzversicherung, works similarly to other types of insurance (such as liability, health insurance, car insurance, dental insurance, etc.).

You pay a regular amount every month to a legal insurer, and in return, they provide you with legal coverage.

This legal insurance doesn’t cover everything, but there are several situations where it can be a lifesaver.

This includes legal representation, access to free lawyers and their advice, as well as financial help with legal fees and court costs.

It’s indeed a powerful resource with wide coverage.

To give an example, let’s imagine this scenario: you decide to leave your rented apartment. You give notice to your landlord in due time and leave everything in order.

You know you have the right to have your deposit back but the landlord is turning things complicated, either avoiding paying you back or falsely claiming that you’ve damaged the apartment.

If you are protected, sometimes it’s enough to tell the landlord that you have legal insurance for them to retract and do the right thing. 

But with legal insurance, you can get legal consultation, a free letter from a lawyer, and, if needed, legal representation in court.

All of these would be covered by your legal insurance. As you can see, it is very helpful.

Legal Insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung) Vs. Mieterverein: What’s The Difference?

Legal insurance and Mieterverein (or tenant association) are two different services, although both can help you with legal matters in Germany.

Legal protection insurance gives you coverage for a wide range of legal issues and legal costs, such as employment and housing disputes, traffic accidents, consumer rights, tax authorities, etc. 

Mieterverein, on the other hand, is primarily focused on housing-related issues, in particular those affecting tenants.

To have access to it, you must become a member of a tenant association and pay annual dues. These fees usually range from 50€ to 100€ per year.

Mieterverein advocates for your rights as a tenant and can give you legal information, and help with rent negotiations, eviction issues, or legal disputes with your landlord. 

Although it’s good for you to be part of a tenant association, legal insurance has the benefit of covering a much wider range of legal issues.

Legal Insurance Vs. Liability Insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung): What’s The Difference? 

Liability insurance protects you from financial liability in case of unintentionally causing harm to someone or damaging their property.

For example, you’re using your friend’s laptop, and spill a drink on it by accident. Unfortunately, it stops functioning. Liability insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged laptop.

Or, for example, you hit someone with your bike and they fall and break a bone. This insurance covers medical expenses or legal costs in case you’re sued.

Liability insurance also covers the damage made by your children (usually only for kids over 6 years old) or your spouse. 

Legal insurance, on the other hand, typically does not cover any liability issues such as accidents and damaged property. 

Is Legal Insurance Obligatory In Germany?

Legal expenses insurance is not mandatory in Germany.

However, considering that a legal dispute can quickly become very expensive, it can be wise to take on this type of coverage. Around 41% of German households are covered by legal insurance.

Why Do You Need Legal Insurance In Germany?

Legal insurance can be a valuable resource to you for several reasons, the main one being financial support when a legal situation arises.

You may think you would never need legal insurance, however, that’s a naive mindset. In fact, legal issues can come to anyone at any time, unexpectedly, so legal protection can make all the difference.

Some of the main benefits of having legal insurance are:

  • Financial support: legal insurance pays for many legal bills associated with legal proceedings, including court fees, attorney fees, and other expenses. It can be a huge money-saver.
  • Wide coverage: legal insurance covers a broad range of legal issues related to several areas, such as employment, housing, family law, traffic, private contracts, consumer rights, etc. 
  • Access to qualified lawyers: legal insurance usually includes access to a network of lawyers who can give guidance and legal representation.
  • Assistance in English: several insurance providers offer assistance in English, which will be of great help to expats like you.
  • Peace of mind: legal insurance gives you priceless peace of mind, knowing that you have legal assistance and financial support when legal issues arise. 

Legal Insurance Cost In Germany 

Now let’s take a look at the costs associated with legal insurance. 

How Much Does Legal Insurance Cost In Germany?

The cost of legal insurance in Germany usually ranges from 10€ to 35€ a month. 

However, the costs will vary depending on several factors, such as the insurance company you select, the type of insurance policy you have (the wider the coverage, the more expensive it’ll be), personal factors (age, occupation, marital status), and your location.

Legal insurance usually uses deductibles, meaning you pay an initial amount before your insurance covers the rest of the cost.

These deductibles tend to range from 100€ to 500€ per individual coverage. The amount can be reduced with time if you stay claim-free. 

Make sure you select the best legal insurance for your specific circumstances and needs. 

How Long Do I Have To Wait Before I Can Use My Insurance To Cover Legal Costs?

Legal insurance in Germany typically has a 3 to 6-month waiting period after purchasing legal insurance, before you can make any legal claim.

This waiting period exists to prevent policyholders from taking out insurance only when they anticipate making a claim.

No waiting period would increase the insurer’s financial risk and the costs for customers would increase.

The waiting periods vary depending on the legal insurance policy you choose. Some legal insurances offer advanced plans with little to no waiting period. 

How Much Does A Lawyer Cost In Germany?

Lawyers in Germany can be expensive.

Lawyer fees typically range from 100€ to 350€ per hour.

The costs will depend on several factors, such as the nature and complexity of the legal matter, the lawyer’s level of experience, and your location. 

The lawyers’ fees are regulated by Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz (RVG), which establishes a fee system for various legal services, so clients are able to have an expectation of the legal expenses they’ll have. 

Despite the regulation, lawyers still have some amount of freedom when it comes to determining their fees according to the complexity of the case.

Legal protection insurance can be of great help in mitigating these big legal fees.

Legal Insurance Coverage In Germany

Now that you have an understanding of what legal insurance is, let’s take a deeper dive into what exactly is covered by legal insurance in Germany.

What Is Covered By Legal Insurance In Germany?

So, what exactly does legal insurance cover in Germany?

Legal protection insurance covers a wide range of legal aspects, such as labor, housing, traffic, consumer protection, family law, legal contracts, etc. The range of coverage will depend on the policy you have.

First, let’s take a look at some of the main services legal insurance can pay you:

  • Legal consultation: you can seek legal advice from a lawyer to understand your rights and options.
  • Legal letters: legal insurance covers the drafting of legal letters to opposing parties, demanding letters, or negotiation letters.
  • Legal representation: This includes legal expenses such as court fees and lawyer costs.
  • Mediation: legal insurance can cover mediation and settlement negotiations when you’re trying to find a mutual resolution, as well as the resulting costs. 
  • Document Preparation and Review: lawyers can prepare and review different types of legal documents, such as contracts or wills.

There are different types of legal insurance that you can choose from. The most common legal insurance types are:

  • Private legal insurance: this covers situations related to travel, defective purchases, consumer rights (issues with utility contracts or a health insurance company, for example), administrative services (like a tax office), hiring a professional for home reparations, etc.
  • Professional legal insurance: this covers legal help for issues such as wrongful termination, wage disputes, workplace discrimination, negotiating severance packages, and any professional German law violation (for eg. Getting a negative letter of recommendation).
  • Traffic offense legal insurance: traffic legal protection helps with situations such as traffic violations, traffic accidents, parking ticket disputes, license suspension appeals, and other traffic issues. However, legal insurance doesn’t pay for your parking tickets. 
  • Home rental legal insurance: this covers issues between tenant and landlord disputes, rent increases, eviction proceedings, noise complaints, property disputes, property management, etc.
  • Criminal protection insurance: some legal insurance policies cover representation for criminal defense if you happen to be accused of a negligent offense.

Important

Be aware that when you buy legal insurance, there isn’t one that covers all of these situations from the get-go.

Usually, legal insurance in Germany follows a package-based system, where you choose and customize the coverage based on your needs and preferences.

What Is Not Covered By Legal Insurance?

Depending on your legal insurance contract, there are going to be situations not covered by the insurance. Basic legal insurance plans typically don’t cover:

  • Legal issues that happened before you bought your insurance
  • Fines or compensation for damages you have to pay
  • Tax evasion
  • Piracy and theft
  • Serious and intentional criminal acts
  • Divorce and other family law disputes (although more advanced plans with add-ons may help)
  • Immigration issues (although more advanced plans with add-ons may help)
  • Cases where you’re extremely unlikely to win in court.

Will My Legal Insurance In Germany Cover Existing Legal Issues?

Typically, your legal insurance will not cover existing legal issues. Legal expenses insurance is designed to protect you from future, unforeseen legal issues. 

That is why you have a waiting period of a few months after getting the insurance before you can make any claims.

Does Legal Insurance Cover Divorce In Germany?

Standard legal insurance plans don’t cover divorce costs.

You may be able to get legal advice covered, but not other costs related to divorce. 

If you wish to have a plan where divorce costs are covered, you have to have a more advanced plan that includes a component for marriage and divorce protection within your private legal insurance.

The other catch is that the waiting period for divorce cases is around 2 to 3 years. 

Legal Insurance Companies In Germany

There are several legal insurance providers that offer legal protection to expats. Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. ARAG

ARAG Legal Insurance

ARAG is a German insurance company, offering a wide range of legal protection. 

It offers a “base plan”, a “comfort plan” and a “premium plan”. Their plans start at 20.58€ a month, and all of them include private legal insurance.

You then can add up to three insurance types: housing insurance, traffic legal protection, and professional legal insurance. 

Except for the base plan, you have worldwide protection. The base plan has a fixed deductible of 300€.

A specificity of this insurance broker is that it offers “builder’s coverage”, made to protect those who are either buying or building a house.

2. Getsafe

Getsafe Legal Insurance

Getsafe is a digital insurance company that offers services and a full claims process in English.

Getsafe legal insurance starts at 15.12€ per month. The insurer has one simple plan that includes professional legal protection, traffic legal protection, and personal legal protection.

Some of the benefits are unlimited coverage for your legal fees and legal expenses and a free initial legal consultation.

They also offer the possibility to add home legal protection as well as criminal protection for an extra price. 

3. Allianz

Allianz Legal Insurance

Allianz is a globally recognized insurance company that offers three plans (Basic, Basic PLUS, and All-in-One) for its legal expenses insurance, covering a wide range of services and litigation costs.

Excluding the Basic plan, you can have advice and legal protection in the private and business sectors.

Some of their main benefits include: choosing your preferred lawyer; insurance coverage worldwide; the possibility to triple the sum insured; and legal advice by phone for urgent cases.

To access the prices for each plan you must send a quote request through their website.

4. HUK-COBURG

HUK-COBURG Legal Insurance

HUK-COBURG is a German insurance group that offers a package of private, professional & traffic legal protection that starts from 161.10€ per year.

They also offer a plan for just traffic protection, starting at 44,10€ a year. 

The main benefits they offer include a 24-hour emergency call service; lawyer recommendations; coverage for single people and couples with or without children; and a good price-quality ratio.

How To Use Your Legal Insurance

Whether you need to fight for your rights against an individual or a company, or legal action is placed on you, legal insurance will greatly support you.  

If you need to use your legal insurance, the first step is to contact your provider. They will check your policy number to verify your coverage. 

Then, you submit your claim, which will be analyzed by the insurance to make sure your issue falls within the scope of your coverage and has a good chance of being successful.  

If all goes well, you will be referred to a lawyer from their network, who will review your case and guide you from start to finish. You’ll follow legal procedures such as negotiations and you’ll either reach a settlement (most common) or go to court. 

Finally, you’ll submit records for all the involved costs, so you can get the expected reimbursement from the insurer. 

This is a general guideline, so make sure you contact your provider to know exactly the steps involved.

FAQs

Many insurance providers have a network of lawyers who are fluent in English.

You’ll have no issue finding a legal professional who can speak English, but make sure you contact your insurance about it. 

Yes, lawyers in Germany are highly qualified and competent.

The insurance provider will connect you with a lawyer with expertise in the relevant legal areas for your case.

Yes, if you’re looking for protection that goes beyond tenant issues.

Mieterverein only helps you with housing-related issues, in particular those affecting renters.

 Conclusion

Is legal insurance worth it? Certainly. For those seeking protection, legal insurance can be a life-saver against an unexpected legal dispute.

As an expat, it can be particularly helpful while you’re still learning about German rules. 

Most legal insurance will cover personal, professional, housing, and traffic-related issues.

By paying an affordable monthly fee, you can feel confident and have peace of mind when legal issues arise.   

Andreia Ferreira
Andreia Ferreira
Andreia is our main writer/researcher here at TwoExpats. She does extensive research on the various products we review as well as writing compelling content that is easy to digest by our readers.

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