Application deadline

Many German stereotypes are more fiction than fact, but the country’s love of bureaucracy and scheduling is absolutely true – and the health insurance system is no exception.

Applying for German private health insurance

If you already have been insured in a German private or public health insurance and want to change your private health insurance provider or switch from public to private health insurance there is a regular notice period of two month to the end of the month after the minimum contract period.

It's recommended to begin the application process as early as possible because you have to do a risk assessment. Cancel your prior insurance only if your preferred new insurance accepted your request.

If you are applying for health insurance as part of your visa or residence permit requirements, it is essential that you do so well in advance.

Although there is no set deadline for this, applications can sometimes take weeks or even months to process – particularly if you have pre-existing conditions or require a medical check-up prior to acceptance if you haven't been insured with a German health insurance before. With ottonova the process is very fast though because the application process can be done entirely digitally. 

Remember: Health insurance is mandatory for everyone living and working in Germany. If you do not have health insurance in place that meets the requirements of Section 257 of the German Social Code Book V (SGB V), your visa or residence permit application will be rejected.

Applying to stay privately insured (following a change in circumstances)

If you have private health insurance and your circumstances change, you may be required to switch to the public (statutory) insurance system – perhaps due to a change in income.

However, you can apply to your health insurance provider (Krankenkasse) for an exemption from this regulation. Section 8 of the German Social Code Book V (SGB V) sets out valid grounds for exemption, including:

The deadline for application to your health insurance provider is three months from the date on which you were required to enter the public insurance system.


We are happy to schedule a call to find out your personal needs and provide you with an initial quote. We will then help you and guide you through our online enrollment.

In the next step you will speak with our medical underwriters regarding health topics and your financial situation. If you have already been insured in Germany for the last three years, we will then provide you with your finalized offer. Otherwise we will organize a medical check-up for you.

We work with a company called Medicals Direct that will send a private (English-speaking) nurse to come meet you at your preferred location. They will do a general check up and take a blood sample.

To get your social security number you need to contact Deutsche Rentenversicherung. They also provide English support.

ottonova is fully regulated by the BaFin and therefore fulfilling the requirements (§ 257 7Abs. 2a Satz 1 SGB V and the § 61 Abs. 5 SGB XI) for you to be able to apply for a visa with your ottonova insurance, which also includes our Expat tariff of course.

ottonova for Expats.

You have so much to do when moving to Germany, don’t let your health insurance slow you down. Let ottonova make your life easier.

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