Moving to Germany for a military assignment brings an abrupt life change, which can include uprooting and relocation. Along these lines, however, there are some benefits. Military personnel can obtain quality cars in Europe at great savings due to no local taxes, and the military will ship the car back to the U.S. at the end of an assignment. This of course brings into the question then how to insure the vehicle while driving around in Germany and Europe.
Regardless of being in the U.S. military, when stationed in Germany and driving, insurance is required. German laws specify drivers must be insured, and military personnel are no exception. At a minimum, a soldier's car insurance policy must have at least 7.5 million euros coverage for personal injuries caused and similar coverage of 1 million euros for property and 50,000 euros for other related damages. Drivers are also expected to produce proof of insurance upon request and carry such documentation when driving. In Germany this proof is called an insurance confirmation card.
U.S. Insurers are Not Automatically International
Despite the fact that American insurance companies generally market that their products will cover you wherever you drive, this is a fallacy. In fact, according to the U.S. military, many providers do not provide insurance for overseas locations as a policy. As a result, before leaving for Germany, make sure to check specifically with your current insurance provider whether they cover in Europe before finding out the hard way.
Where to Go for Service
If you have to secure a policy when already located in Germany, there are number of solutions. First, the standard tends to be USAA. This insurer is specifically in the business of insuring military personnel and their families. They provide coverage products and services for U.S. military worldwide. And USAA has a number of offices specifically in Germany for assigned personnel.
Second, Geico Insurance is another American company that can provide car insurance overseas as well, including Germany. Similar to USAA, they can be contacted via the Internet or phone, and they have a physical office in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Finally, military personnel can choose to work with local outfits and purchase from German companies directly. Outside of many urban bases there are number of companies and agents who can provide policies that will meet military personnel needs.
Costs of policies fluctuate quite a bit since there are number of insurance provider market players for military personnel. In addition, there are the usual factors included that influence coverage price. These include the amount of driving experience, age, the strength and model of the car to be covered, location of typical travel, and accident history.
Further, living and working Germany is not cheap. In fact, compared to the U.S. cost of living and with the euro's strength against the U.S. dollar, Germany is fairly expensive. This cost creep is reflected in insurance prices, with costs ranging from 400 to 1,000 Euros annually, according to U.S. military newcomer guides. New military members are strongly advised to compare prices before buying.
Prevention is the Key
Driving safe, obeying traffic laws and being proactive about vehicle safety can avoid many insurance problems. Germany has a number of road risks, including high-speed areas, significant weather changes seasonally, and common drinking practices with an inclination for beer, all of which increase the risk of accidents.
Third Party Liability
In addition to basic coverage, the option of third party liability is available. German law does not require a driver to have third party liability, but it's not a bad idea if the price can be afforded. Different options exist similar to the U.S. policies, including comprehensive, partial and limited coverage in case significant physical harm or death is caused.
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