What is legal expenses insurance and why do you need it in Germany?

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Legal expenses insurance in Germany which is also referred to as legal insurance or legal protection insurance is designed to ensure that insurance policyholders can protect their legal interests and to help cover any associated costs.

Legal expenses insurance in Germany: Life happens and you might find yourself in a legal situation. At which point you’ll need a lawyer. Cost of legal representation in Germany is high. That’s why having legal expenses insurance is such a plus!

Legal expenses insurance helps, for example, with:

  • neighborhood disputes
  • tenancy dispute
  • enforcement of claims for damages
  • Tax matters in court
  • labor law disputes
  • traffic accidents

Legal expense insurance can be individually designed with various service modules that correspond to your personal life situation (see below). In case you need protections, contact a legal protection insurer or a consultant who can make a comparison for different tariffs.

legal expenses insurance

Legal expenses insurance usually covers the following costs up to the amount of the agreed sum insured:

  • the  legal fees of a lawyer chosen by the insured
  • court costs
  • Witness fees  and  court expert fees
  • Opponent’s costs,  insofar as the insured person has to bear them
  • Mediation costs 
  1. In the case of partial success in court:
    If the costs are divided between the parties by the judge.
  2. If the opponent is insolvent:
    Your own legal/court costs if you win a case – but the opponent is insolvent.
  3. In the case of out-of-court disputes:
    If the opponent is not obliged to reimburse the third-party legal fees.

Costs that have been assumed without legal obligation will not be reimbursed. These include, for example, lawyers’ fees that are above the statutory fee rates or costs of the opponent that you have voluntarily assumed.

Depending on the individual situation, only the professional, only the private or both areas can be insured.

If the legal situation changes in questions of family and inheritance law and you seek legal advice, for example if you want to know what claims you have after an inheritance.

You can choose between a “large” and a “small” insurance package, insure yourself additionally for rental and real estate matters or, as an older person, exclude the professional area. Insurers offer various legal protection packages for this, which consist of different service modules.

The insurance cover can be limited to disputes relating to the vehicle.

If a process becomes necessary because of taxes or other charges, such as fees or customs duties, for example because the tax office does not want to recognize the income tax return.

For disputes relating to the employment relationship, e.g. B. if you get fired or your employer owes you money. Or in the case of service and pension claims in a public-law employment relationship, for example disputes regarding classification in a specific salary group, promotions, transfers or assistance in the event of illness.

If you have to assert your interests as a house, apartment or property owner or as a tenant, for example in the event of rent increases, terminations or disputes over utility bills.

If you have to assert or defend against claims from everyday contracts in the private sector, for example from a purchase contract, a repair order or a travel contract.

If, as a victim of a violent crime, you want to assert claims in a criminal court process as a joint plaintiff. Example: As a passenger on public transport, you are seriously injured as a result of an attack.

If the driver’s license is involved in an objection procedure before the administrative authority and in a subsequent procedure before the administrative court, for example if your driver’s license is revoked for violating traffic regulations.

Disciplinary and professional legal protection

For example, if a civil servant is threatened with disciplinary action for an alleged misconduct.

If you have to defend yourself in criminal proceedings for negligent violation of criminal regulations or in proceedings to pay a fine, for example if you are accused of driving in violation of the rules or of having negligently injured a person.

In proceedings before a German social court, for example if the statutory health, accident, pension or unemployment insurance does not provide adequate benefits.

For enforcing claims for damages, e.g. after a traffic accident.

legal expenses insurance

The following are usually insured:

  • the policyholder
  • the spouse or, if desired, the non-marital partner
  • all minor children
  • unmarried children of legal age up to the age of 25 – as long as they do not yet have their own profession. In the traffic sector, children of legal age need their own legal protection, provided that a vehicle is registered for them.
  • In professional legal protection for the self-employed, employees are also protected in their professional activity. Attention: The persons co-insured in a contract cannot take action against the policyholder or against each other.

The exact scope of the insurance cover results from the insurance contract and the general conditions of the insurer.

What to do in the event of a dispute?

In the event of a dispute, you should first contact your insurance company. It informs about:

  • the insurance cover/specific benefits
  • the further procedure and
  • the possibility of mediation


If necessary, the insurance company will recommend a competent lawyer.

Who bears the costs?

  • If the insurance company agrees to cover the costs, he will assume the costs directly within the framework of the agreement. The insurance customer does not have to advance any money.
  • If the insurance company refuses to cover the costs, you can have the refusal reviewed – out of court via the insurance ombudsman. By the way: The insurance customer can also have a refusal due to a lack of prospects of success or willfulness checked out of court in a special procedure.

How can you save on insurance premiums?

In order to keep the insurance premium as low as possible, you can agree on a deductible with the insurer. It is usually 150 or 200 euros per insured event. In the event of a dispute, the insured person then pays this share himself. Exception: the opponent is defeated and must reimburse the entire costs of the legal dispute.

With legal expenses insurance, there are waiting times for some service modules. This means the period between the start of the contract and the start of the insurance cover. The waiting time is usually three months. This is to avoid that an insurance contract is only concluded shortly before a foreseeable legal dispute.

Mediation – a fair solution for both sides

In mediation, both parties to the dispute, with the help of a specially trained and neutral mediator, try to find a solution together at an early stage that is fair to all parties involved. Legal protection assumes the costs for the policyholder.

Successful mediation saves time, nerves, and possibly a lot of money. Because through a successful mediation process, the parties to the dispute find a solution that is acceptable to both sides. Mediation is particularly suitable for everyday disputes, for example in civil law with tenancy law or neighborhood disputes. This means that you can still live next door to your neighbors even after the dispute.

It is best to ask your insurer whether mediation can help in your case. If the conflict cannot be resolved through the mediation process, you can choose legal recourse at any time, which is then usually also financed by legal expenses insurance.

In Germany, legal expenses insurance policies only offer coverage for future disputes. Insurance coverage cannot be provided for legal disputes caused before the policy inception date or occurring during a waiting period. For example, the terms and conditions of legal expenses insurance contracts typically stipulate that the insurer is not required to provide coverage for pre-contractual events (Vorvertraglichkeit) or events that occur during an agreed waiting period (usually lasting three to six months) after the policy inception date.

This allows insurers to protect themselves against claims made by clients who take out legal expenses insurance only when a conflict is to be expected or has already arisen.

3 month wait for…

  • labor legal protection
  • Apartment and property legal protection
  • Legal protection in contract and property law
  • Tax legal protection in court
  • Social court legal protection
  • Traffic administrative
  • legal protection

No waiting for…

  • Legal Protection for Damages
  • Disciplinary and professional legal protection
  • Criminal and administrative offenses legal protection
  • Protection of interests in purchase and
  • leasing contracts for a brand new vehicle
  • Advice on legal protection in family and inheritance law

Legal expenses insurance for the private, professional and transport sectors is available from as little as 11 euros per month. In comparison to legal protection insurance with a higher monthly premium, however, cheap tariffs often offer lower insurance cover.

Good legal protection insurance costs between 15 and 17 euros per month. These tariffs offer comprehensive protection in the areas of private, professional and transport and also meet the criteria of the Stiftung Warentest.

You can recognize good legal protection tariffs  based on the following criteria:

  • Stiftung Warentest minimum protection (Finanztest, 05/2020) – This minimum protection defines quality standards in the areas of private life, work and transport. In the online comparison, you can simply select the “Stiftung Warentest” filter.
  • CHECK24 tariff rating – The tariff rating shows how efficient a tariff is. Our experts do not rely on external rating agencies or information from insurance companies, but analyze and evaluate each tariff individually.
  • Customer ratings – The ratings provide information about the user-friendliness and performance of a tariff. They are recorded both after completion and through regular satisfaction surveys.

Recommendation: Look for tariffs with a sufficiently high number of positive customer reviews and a good tariff rating. You can find this together with the filter of the Stiftung Warentest minimum protection in the CHECK24 legal protection comparison

The exact cost of legal protection insurance depends on a number of factors, including:

  • desired building blocks and scope of services
  • age and place of residence
  • professional status and marital status
  • Amount of the chosen deductible in the event of damage
  • selected payment method (monthly or annually)

Legal protection cannot cover all areas – after all, it should remain affordable. For this reason, procedures in the following areas are generally not insured:

  • the house building
  • copyright and trademark law
  • Gaming or betting contracts and promises of winnings
  • capital investments
  • Stopping and parking violations on the road

In inheritance law, often only the costs for a consultation with a lawyer are covered if a change in the legal situation (e.g. due to the death of a testator) requires this.

Does the insurance cover also apply while on vacation?

Yes. The benefits of legal expenses insurance apply without restriction in Europe and the Mediterranean countries. Many insurers offer worldwide insurance cover – but usually only for private (not work-related) stays abroad of up to six weeks.

Please note: The insurance contract regulates the amount up to which legal protection covers the costs.

legal expenses insurance

Can my insurer terminate the contract at the end of the policy period even though only few or no insured events have occurred?

Yes. Legal expenses insurance contracts may be terminated at the end of the policy year on three months’ notice without stating any reasons. In such cases, the contract is terminated on the normal expiry date of the policy.

My previous insurance company terminated the contract because I frequently submitted claims. Can i be blacklisted? and do insurers share data in this way?

Yes. When taking out insurance, policyholders are provided with the terms and conditions of insurance and a leaflet on how data is processed. This leaflet states that insurers may pass on data to the Notification and Information System of the German Insurance Industry (Hinweis- und Informationssystem der Versicherungswirtschaft – HIS) when a contract is terminated. This data comprises information that you are legally required to disclose when signing a new contract.

Can a policyholder or insurer terminate a legal expenses insurance contract following a claim?

Both the policyholder and the insurer may terminate the insurance contract early after a claim under certain conditions. The German Insurance Association (Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft e.V. – GDV) has set out non-binding sample terms and conditions for legal expenses insurance (Allgemeine Bedingungen für die Rechtsschutzversicherung – ARB 2012). These terms and conditions lay down the ways in which a contract may be terminated after an insured event has occurred. Most insurers have incorporated the German Insurance Association’s terms and conditions as they stand into their own sets of terms and conditions. However, insurers are still free to impose terms and conditions that differ from those stated above. It is therefore impossible to give a general answer to the above question, as it always depends on what has been agreed with your insurer in your specific case. For this reason, please consult the terms and conditions provided by your insurer.

The following are the 45 legal expenses insurance providers in Germany operating in 2022 and offer the “legal expenses insurance” product :

  1. AZ
  2. ADVOCARD Legal Expenses Insurance Ltd
  3. Allianz Insurance Corporation
  4. ARAG SE
  5. AUXILIA legal protection insurance company
  6. AXA Group Ltd
  7. BA the Bayerische Allgemeine Versicherung AG
  8. Badische legal expenses insurance company
  9. Bavarian homeowners’ insurance company based on mutuality
  10. BGV Insurance Ltd
  11. Concordia mutual insurance company
  12. Condor Allgemeine Versicherungs-Aktiengesellschaft
  13. Continental property insurance company
  14. DA German General Insurance Corporation
  15. Debeka Allgemeine Versicherung Aktiengesellschaft based in Koblenz am Rhein
  16. DEURAG German Legal Protection Insurance AG
  17. DEVK legal protection insurance company
  18. DMB Legal Protection Insurance AG
  19. ERGO Insurance Ltd
  20. Driving Instructor Insurance Mutual Association
  21. GVO Mutual Insurance Oldenburg VVaG
  22. HDI Insurance Ltd
  23. HUK24 AG
  24. HUK-COBURG Legal Protection Insurance AG
  25. IDEAL Insurance Ltd
  26. Itzehoer Insurance/ Fire Guild from 1691 mutual insurance association
  27. LVM Agricultural Insurance Association Münster aG
  28. Mecklenburg Insurance Company aG
  29. New legal protection insurance company AG
  30. Public fire insurance in Saxony-Anhalt
  31. Public Life Insurance Institution Oldenburg
  32. ÖRAG Legal Protection Insurance AG
  33. Provincial Versicherung AG The insurance of the savings banks
  34. ROLAND Legal Protection Insurance AG
  35. R+V General Insurance Ltd
  36. R+V Insurance Ltd
  37. SIGNAL IDUNA Allgemeine Versicherung AG
  38. Sparkassen-Versicherung Sachsen Allgemeine Versicherung AG
  39. Uelzen General Insurance Company aG
  40. Insurer in the area of ​​Kirchen Sachversicherung AG
  41. Verti Insurance Ltd
  42. VGH Regional Fire Fund Hanover
  43. VHV General Insurance Ltd
  44. WGV Insurance Ltd
  45. Württembergische Versicherung AG
  46. Zurich Insurance plc branch for Germany

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Expaturm
Expaturmhttps://www.expaturm.com/
Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany

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