Review your business idea


Prepare a business plan


Financing & public support


Business or liberal profession


Legal structure


Taxes & Accounting


Company insurance


Social insurance


Networks & contacts

Social insurance

Please inform yourself and get proper advice. As a self-employed person, you alone are fully responsible for your social insurance and pension plan. Calculate the precise costs involved and incorporate them into your business plan.

Statutory or private health insurance

In Germany, health insurance is compulsory even for self-employed persons. If you had statutory health insurance before starting your business, you can keep it in future. Essentially, you can choose between statutory and private health insurance if you have already had statutory health insurance for a sufficient period in advance. When taking out health insurance, you are automatically covered by long-term care insurance “Pflegeversicherung”.

Please note: If you switch to private health insurance, it is difficult – and might be impossible – to return to statutory health insurance later on. It always makes sense to obtain professional advice!

Statutory health insurance “gesetzliche Krankenversicherung”:

  • Premiums are linked to your income.
  • Minimum and maximum income thresholds.
  • Family insurance is possible.

Private health insurance:

  • Premiums depend on individual risk factors, medical history, age, the level of coverage you choose etc.
  • Premiums are not linked to your income.
  • Family insurance is not possible.

Statutory pension insurance
“gesetzliche Rentenversicherung”

Statutory pension insurance is compulsory for certain occupational groups such as  teachers, artists, nurses, licensed craftsmen and commercial agents who only have one client. All other self-employed persons still have the option of paying voluntary premiums for statutory pension insurance. You can pay either the full amount (18.6% of your gross income) or an individually agreed amount. Please seek professional advice!

Private pension insurance and retirement plan

Self-employed persons must plan for retirement and work out the costs involved right from the start. To do so, you can combine various options, such as statutory and private pension insurance as well as other forms of retirement plans.

Voluntary statutory unemployment insurance
“Freiwillige gesetzliche Arbeitslosenversicherung”

Under certain circumstances, individuals who decide to leave self-employment can contract voluntary unemployment insurance. The cost is around EUR 80 per month, although start-up entrepreneurs pay only half of this premium.

Statutory accident insurance
“Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung”

Statutory accident insurance is one of five mandatory insurances within the German social security system. It covers accidents at work or on the way to or from work, and recognised occupational illnesses. This insurance may be compulsory for the entrepreneur. It is always compulsory if you employ people. The German Social Accident Insurance Institutions “Berufsgenossenschaften” are organised according to sectors. An entrepreneur founding a new business in Germany must register it within one week with the responsible Social Accident Insurance Institution. If you are unsure which Social Accident Insurance Institution is responsible for you, please either contact one of the institutions directly, or dial the toll-free phone number 0800 60 50 40 4 or send an E-Mail to obtain further information.

Artists’ Social Insurance
“Künstlersozialkasse KSK”

The KSK covers people that exercise a freelance artistic or journalistic profession. It is compulsory with a focus on pension and health insurance. If you fulfill the requirements to join the KSK you only pay half of the premium and are in as good a position as employers. Please inform yourself!


Special feature: A1 certification for cross-border activity

If you work temporarily in an EU country, in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you will always have to carry an A1 certification with you. It is proof of your existing social security protection in Germany. It is valid regardless of the length of your business travel. Other certifications may be required for other countries.

More information

Video: Social insurance


Deutsche Rentenversicherung Service
[German Statutory Pension Insurance Scheme]
Phone: 0800 1000 4800


The municipal “Versicherungsamt” offers Munich citizens free advice on the statutory

The German Consumer Organisation “Verbraucherzentrale” offers fee-based advice on statutory and private health insurance.


Federal Employment Agency
Service line: 0800 4 5555 00


Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund
[German Statutory Pension Insurance Scheme]
A1 certification