Health and insurance

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Social Insurance

The German social system includes health, long-term care, pension, unemployment and accident insurance. Find out how you can be insured.

Video Social Insurance

Most employees working in Germany are obliged to take part in the statutory social insurance system and are therefore protected against financial risks, for instance due to unemployment, getting ill or needing long-term care.

Five branches of social insurance

Health Insurance

Health insurance covers necessary costs in case of illness as well as many healthcare costs and rehabilitation measures. As an employee you're generally obliged to take part in the statutory health insurance scheme. If you are self-employed or if your annual income is higher than the compulsory insurance threshold (as of 2021: EUR 64,350), you can decide whether you wish to insure yourself by public health insurance or private health insurance.

Long-Term Care Insurance

You can benefit from long-term care insurance in case you are unable to take care of yourself due to illness or old age.

Pension Insurance

The pension insurance pays a monthly pension when you retire.

Unemployment Insurance

When you become unemployed, the unemployment insurance system provides financial support for a certain period of time. The prerequisite is that you have been insured for at least one year in the past two years, and that you continue to look for work.

Accident Insurance

The accident insurance covers all costs in the event of an accident or occupational illness.

Who is insured?

  • In principle, all employees are subject to compulsory statutory social insurance.
  • For self-employed persons, the insurance obligation does not apply to pension insurance, unemployment insurance and accident insurance. Self-employed persons have to insure themselves in a public or private health and long-term care insurance.
    However, not exempt from the obligation of insurance are the following groups: Craftsmen, homeworkers, teachers, midwives, educators and care workers, artists and journalists, self-employed persons with a client, sea pilots, coastal skippers and coastal fishermen. They are subject to compulsory statutory social insurance.


  • The social security system is financed by contributions of employers and employees, usually divided equally between them. Only the contributions to accident insurance are fully paid by the employer.
  • The employee’s contributions are deducted from their gross salary. The employer’s contributions to the social insurance are paid directly by the employer.

Social Security Number

As soon as you take up employment, your employer needs to register you with a collecting agency for social security contributions. Depending on the type of employment, the relevant collecting agency is either a statutory health insurance company, the artists’ social insurance (Künstlersozialkasse) or the central agency for mini-jobs (Minijob-Zentrale).

These institutions will pass on your data to the other  and apply for a social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) on your behalf. Social security number assignment occurs centrally through the German statutory pension insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung). Normally you’ll receive a letter from Deutsche Rentenversicherung stating your personal social security number within four weeks after the registration.

The 12-digit social security number consists of letters and numbers and is used for personal identification in the social security system. The number remains the same throughout your whole life – even when you change your employer or health insurance provider.

Moreover, your social security number is connected to your personal pension account. The pension account contains a list showing when and how many contributions you've paid towards the state pension insurance. Based on these data, your future retirement pension is calculated.

If you haven't received your social security number yet, you can directly contact Deutsche Rentenversicherung. Please state your date of birth, place of birth, your birth name and your current postal address, and you will receive your social security number by post. In case you're already covered by statutory health insurance, you can also contact your health insurance company.

Contact Deutsche Rentenversicherung

Deutsche Rentenversicherung Nord
Friedrich-Ebert-Damm 245
22159 Hamburg
Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg

Phone: 0800 1000 48022
Website: Deutsche Renten­versicherung Nord in Hamburg