It’s not a legal requirement for UK nationals to have travel insurance when visiting Germany, unlike those who require a visa to enter the country. However, it really is as essential as packing your passport.
The right travel insurance can provide comprehensive medical cover, as well as paying out if your luggage is significantly delayed, wallet is stolen, or your holiday is cut short by any emergency. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you decide to forgo travel insurance, you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket, which can be eye-wateringly expensive.
The cost of a policy is really nothing compared to the protection it can give you.
Getting the right travel insurance starts with picking the type of policy you require.
Single trip – Covers you solely for one trip to Germany only
Multi-trip – You can choose this type of policy if you’re planning to visit more than one country during your holiday, or if you’re going to take multiple trips during the year. You’ll have to decide whether you’ll need travel insurance which includes cover for USA, Canada and the Caribbean, which is more expensive
Backpacker – Got a severe case of wanderlust? Backpacker insurance will cover you for travelling to multiple countries on a continuous trip lasting up to 18 months (depending on the policy)
All the above types of travel insurance are available for individuals, couples, families and groups.
Picking the right policy is easy when you know what you’re looking for.
Medical cover – Look for policies that provide cover for up to £5 million worth of healthcare
Cancellation or curtailment cover – If an emergency requires you to cancel your holiday or fly home sooner than expected
Luggage cover – This will pay out if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged on your holiday. Keep receipts for any replacement items you buy as a result of lost luggage. Your insurer may ask for them if you need to claim.
Repatriation cover – Pays for returning you to the UK if you’re seriously ill or injured
Delayed departure cover – Provides compensation if your flights are significantly delayed
Personal liability cover – Helps pay for legal fees if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while on your trip
The level of cover you receive will depend completely on the insurance you choose, which will differ between providers and policies. Read the terms and conditions carefully to find out exactly what you’re getting.
Typically, a travel insurance policy won’t cover:
Pre-existing conditions – If you try to claim for medical treatment that you failed to mention in your application, you won’t be covered. Always declare any medical issues that you have. You may need to find a specialist policy for certain conditions
Travelling against government advice – Deciding to still take your trip after the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has advised against it can void your policy
Insufficient cover – Planning to partake in winter sports or high-risk activities while on holiday? You’ll need to have the right insurance in place. This could be a case of purchasing an add-on to your travel insurance or taking out a specialist policy
Excessive drinking – Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs will cause any claims to be rejected
Breaking the law – Any claims that are a result of you engaging in criminal activity will be void
National incidents – This includes acts of terrorism or natural disasters
Again, check the policy documents to see the exact exclusions.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and its replacement, the General Health Insurance Card (GHIC), are accepted in Germany.
This means you can receive state-provided emergency medical treatment on the same terms as a German national would. You’ll pay a small amount for this type of medical care while in Germany.
It isn’t a replacement for travel insurance though.
Before you hop on that plane, here’s all the info you need:
Take cash – You may not get very far with just a card in Germany. Many shops, restaurants and bars still only take cash. Take a card as backup but make sure you always have some money on you
Skip shopping on a Sunday – A lot of shops and supermarkets are closed on a Sunday, so perhaps arrange that shopping spree for another day
Respect the cycle lanes – Cycling is an extremely popular way to get around German cities, just make sure you’re only in the cycle lanes if if you’re actually cycling. Walking in the cycle lane can cause accidents and injuries
Catering to vegetarians and vegans – Outside of cities, you may find it harder to find plant-based options
Validate your train tickets – You still need to buy train tickets when travelling around Berlin, even though there are no gates or inspectors. Validate your ticket as you travel to avoid being fined
No jaywalking – Cross at designated crossings and when the light turns green
Get in the zone – A number of German cities use a zone system for their transport, you’ll need to know which zone you’re travelling in to get the appropriate ticket. Take advantage of group discounts on travel tickets
Passport control – Your passport needs to have been issued less than 10 years before you arrive in Germany and must be valid for at least three months after you leave
No visa required – You’re not required to have a visa to take a holiday to Germany, but you’re only permitted to remain in the Schengen Area (a group of 26 EU countries including Germany) for 90 days within a 180-day period
All covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted in Germany. Currently there are no requirements to have vaccinations or quarantine if exposed to covid-19.
UK nationals must have health insurance in place when living in Germany. This could either be through your workplace or taken out by you directly with the insurer.
It will need to be in place before you can register as a resident or apply for a visa.
No, excessive consumption of alcohol and the use of illegal drugs will invalidate any claim that you make on your travel insurance.
No, but if you have a valid EHIC or GHIC, you’re able to receive emergency healthcare at a reduced cost.
It all depends on you and the type of holiday you’re taking. For instance, if you’re taking to the Alps for a spot of skiing, you’ll need winter sports cover.
Those with pre-existing medical conditions may need to find cover that suitably covers any issues that arise as a result of their medical issue.
Whatever your trip entails, always be sure to compare policies to find the cheapest option that has the cover you need. Read policy details carefully and use Defaqto star ratings to see how they stack up against each other.
Page last reviewed: 18 January 2023
Page reviewed by: Jasmine Hembury