Understanding Germans – No. 4: Life is risky and a risk should be insured.

Pic by Rainer Sturm / Pixelio.de

This is an extraxt from a most awesome article published by Adam Fletcher:

"Everyone knows it’s a jungle out there. Hence why we created the phrase. So, before you go out into the jungle and start swinging from its high branches, it’s wise you be sensibly insured. Germans, being imaginative people, run a little wild with the concept of being sensibly insured.

Don’t be surprised if the Germans you meet all have personal insurance advisors. My girlfriend communicates with her insurance advisor more often than I do with my mother. If someone invented insurance insurance, an insurance against not having the right insurance, we’d all be treated to the sight of 80 million people dying of happiness."

Errrr. Yes.I am probably quite German.

Well - I mean, just imagine you cause an accident because you thought at that very moment that you really NEED to take a sip of your latte. And -uups - I didn' t see it coming, the car in front of me stopped and ... crawoom. My whole front is crashed. And so is the rear end of the other car. I look from my latte (I didn't even spoil it) to the other car and back and slowly recognise that the car in front is a Porsche. And it looks quite new.
To tell the truth, car insurance is not actually something that needs discussion - if you drive a car you are obliged by law to contract insurance ("Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung"). So drink your latte, as long as you feel responsible enough to choose the right moment.

We all have private liability insurance ("Haftpflichtversicherung") covering our asses in case we do something stupid, like breaking the Ray Bans of our best friend, dropping a Ming vase in a shop or "accidentially" throwing a stone into our neighbors Porsche front window. I mean, private liability next to never is used. Your friend would never complain about the sun glasses, you'll keep a respectful distance to the Ming vase and you will never throw a stone (you'd be pushing a slime bomb into the letter box of your neighbor instead - preferably pink or green slime, no fingerprints). What may happen though is that you decide to park your car in fornt of a garage that you either ignored because you really, really needed to get into the post office before it closed, or that you haven't seen, for whatever reasons. So someone needed to get out and the 45 minutes it caused the tow car to come by and move your car away made him miss his flight to NYC where he was supposed to attend a court hearing and because he did not appear he had to pay a fine of some 50.000 USD. That does not happen? Well, seldom, but it actually does at lower scale. Private liability is something  90% of well-off Germans have contracted. So it is probably something very useful. I personally am a fish in the swarm here.

Accident insurance ("Unfallversicherung") is another beloved insurance. It is so easy to suffer from an accident. You could be rolled over by a car. You could fall off the platform on your way to work. You could fall of your horse. You could break your neck watching a plane passing your roof top. Whatever. But actually, most accidents are covered by the most useful healthcare insurance or other insurances. Although, I admit, sometimes it works: as a child I broke my left arm 4 times in 4 different accidents. My parents then decided to buy accident insurance for me and I never broke anything again thereafter!

Legal Insurance ("Rechtsschutz"). Another hot topic. And we actually recommend our clients to contract one. Not because they may need to claim someone, but because it is not entirely unlikely that they are claimed by their neighbors. It is unbelievable about what mimicries Germans can fight about.  Our perception of what's our right is unbreakable. It is a good that is probably similar important as freedom. We do believe especially in our personal freedom which comprise the freedom to live and be left in peace. And this peace can be distroyed by oh so many things: your cat not stopping to using neighbor's sand pit, your dog barking at uncomfortabe hours, your hedge being too high (or too green), your floor-scratching chairs, your midnight showers...the list is endless. Legal insurance comes in handy when a big telephone and internet provider believes he does not need to accept your extraordinary cancellation because you are moving on to your next assignment. Or in case your landlord thinks he can use your deposit to replace a sink that wasn't broken.

You can also insure your bike against theft, your glasses against damages, your iphone against loss, your household belongings against breakage - do that and be assured, it will never happen - unless you have paif more insurance than your bike is worth ;)

Posted in Understanding Germans.