Can I cancel private health insurance?

Private health insurance can be canceled with a notice period of 3 months. Everything about important deadlines and special reasons for canceling private health insurance here in the guide.

Medizinisch geprüft - Siegel
reviewed by our pkv experts

Table of Contents

cancel private health insurance - short overview

  • two ways how to cancel your private health insurance: ordinary termination or extraordinary termination
  • possible with a notice period of three months to the end of the insurance year
  • There are various reasons why insured persons cannot or do not want to stay in private health insurance

Under what conditions is it possible to cancel private health insurance?

There are two ways to cancel a private health insurance contract:

  1. ordinary termination
  2. extraordinary termination (also known as special termination)

But when is which type of termination of private health insurance possible and who has which right of termination?

Ordinary termination: Can you cancel private health insurance at any time?

According to Article 205 of the German Insurance Contract Act (VVG), ordinary termination of private health insurance is always possible with a notice period of three months to the end of the insurance year.

The insurance contract with the private health insurance company specifies when the insurance year ends. It may be identical to the calendar year, in which case notice of termination must be given by September 30 at the latest, but it may be different.

If the private health insurance company with which the contract exists has minimum contract terms, it is only possible to cancel the private health insurance contract at the end of this period. Information on this can be found in the insurance conditions.

Extraordinary termination: Who has a special right of termination in private health insurance?

Under certain circumstances, policyholders have a special right of termination and can cancel without notice. In these cases, the special right of termination applies to private insurance policies:

Special right of termination means that the period of notice may be shortened under certain circumstances. The notice period differs depending on the reason (e.g. premium increase, change to statutory health insurance) for extraordinary cancellation with the health insurer.

How to cancel private health insurance

There are a few points to consider when canceling with insurance companies:

The following sample letter "Termination of private health insurance" can serve as a template for the termination of contracts with private health insurance. Incidentally, no reason for termination needs to be stated

Common reasons for canceling private health insurance

There are various reasons why insured persons cannot or do not want to stay in private health insurance (PKV) and therefore consider canceling their health insurance:

Canceling private health insurance should always be carefully considered, but is possible under certain conditions and in compliance with certain deadlines.

Sample cancelation of private health insurance: What should be included in the termination letter?

§ Insured person number (can be found in the insurance documents)

§ Explicit declaration of termination

§ Date of termination

§ Signature

§ Proof of new insurance, if required

Example text for termination of private health insurance:



((policyholder number))


Dear Sir or Madam

I hereby cancel my insurance policy with due notice, alternative to the next possible date.

Please send me a written confirmation of cancellation stating the date of termination. I do not wish to be contacted by you for the purpose of return advertising. I kindly ask you to please refrain from doing so.

Yours sincerely


What notice periods are there for private health insurance?

The following table shows which regulations apply to policyholders with regard to the notice periods for private health insurance:

Type of termination


ordinary termination

3 months before the end of the insurance year

Special termination: Falling below the compulsory insurance limit

within 3 months retroactively to the start of compulsory insurance, later to the end of the current month

Special termination: Family insurance

within 3 months backdated to the start of compulsory insurance, later at the end of the current month

Special termination: Entitlement to military welfare

within 3 months (also backdated)

Special termination: Premium adjustment

two months after notification at the time of the increase*

Withdrawal from the contract

2 weeks after conclusion

When switching to statutory health insurance, it is possible to cancel the contract at the end of each month after the three-month notice period has expired. In the event of premium adjustments, the contract ends on the date of the premium increase.

*Insurers are obliged to inform their customers about the premium increase at least one month before the increase.

What should I keep in mind when canceling my private health insurance?

Insurance is compulsory in Germany. Therefore, insurance cover must remain uninterrupted even after canceling health insurance. Anyone without health insurance would otherwise have to pay medical bills themselves, which they may not be able to afford.

Compulsory insurance also means that insured persons who cancel their health insurance must provide proof of a new contract with another health insurer within two months. Otherwise the termination of private health insurance is invalid.

Insured persons who cancel their private health insurance have two options under certain circumstances.

change to statutory health insurance

up to the age of 55: if you fall below the annual income threshold, have the option of family insurance, are unemployed and receive unemployment benefit I

From the age of 55: switching is more difficult (e.g. if family insurance is possible)

If self-employed (up to age 55): only if employed and income is below the annual income threshold

2. change private health insurance

Which disadvantages can a termination of private health insurance have?

Canceling private health insurance and switching to another private health insurer can have some disadvantages for policyholders.

The consequences for private patients can be higher premiums. The decision to switch should therefore be made on an individual basis.

Old-age provisions are lost

When you change private health insurance, some of the aging provisions you have saved are lost. These reserves are a savings component in the premium for insurance, which makes it possible to keep private health insurance premiums stable in old age. For contracts concluded with the PKV before 2009, these provisions are completely lost when switching.

When switching to ottonova, policyholders receive a money-back guarantee on their old-age provisions. This means that they can take the transfer value with them if they cancel at the end of the minimum term and switch to another private insurer within two years. In this way, the benefits can be tested for two years without obligation and there are no disadvantages. This is only available from ottonova.

New health check required

With the new private health insurance, applicants must pass a new health check. The new higher age and any pre-existing conditions are then taken into account when calculating the premium. This can result in higher risk surcharges than with the old private health insurance because illnesses have occurred during the insurance period.

Limits on the amount of coverage

If you change insurer, you may not be able to claim all benefits in full from the outset. This is because some private insurers have limits on the amounts of certain services, such as for dental treatment.

Premium increases possible even if you change provider

Premiums can of course also be increased with the new provider. However, when switching to ottonova, policyholders opt for private health insurance with more stable premiums thanks to a future-proof actuarial interest rate of 1.25 percent. The standard market rate is 2.5 percent.

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In Germany, the private health insurance income threshold for employees working in Germany is set by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).

Unfortunately, we're not able to offer you private full-comprehensive health insurance, due to the information provided.

If you live in Germany and work remotely for a foreign employer, please contact us.

If you are insured in the public system in Germany, we can offer you our excellent top-up dental insurance - to cover the gaps in your public health insurance.

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Is it possible to return to the old private health insurance tariff?

If you wish to return to private health insurance (stay abroad or temporary switch to statutory health insurance), it may make sense to take out a qualifying period.

A qualifying period means that contracts are frozen. The insured person then pays a reduced premium per month, but is not entitled to benefits.

Advantages of a qualifying period:

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Not all companies keep the old-age provisions if there is no qualifying period. At ottonova, however, they are, which lowers the premium on return.

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When is it worth switching to another private health insurance provider?

Switching private health insurance providers can be particularly worthwhile if the contract with the current private health insurance company has not been in place for long and not many old-age provisions have been saved up.

It is also advisable to consider to cancel the contract with the insurer if the current tariff is very weak and there are tariffs with more benefits for the same premium with another insurer.

You should also consider how many provisions are set aside and what actuarial interest rate the private insurer uses to calculate its policyholders' premiums in order to keep them stable in old age.

Are there alternatives to canceling private health insurance?

There is not always an alternative to terminating the contract with the PKV. If an insured person becomes subject to statutory insurance, for example if their salary falls below the annual income threshold, there is often no alternative but to switch to statutory health insurance. Only in certain cases is it possible to be exempted from compulsory insurance and remain in private health insurance.

However, if the policyholder wants to reduce costs, an alternative to terminating the contract is to change tariff within the PKV, for example to a tariff with fewer benefits.

The advantage of this is that if the change is made with the current insurer, the old-age provisions are retained and there is no need for a new health check (except when changing to a higher-benefit tariff).

Please note: If the insured person then wants to switch from the lower-benefit tariff back to the original tariff, a new health check is also required. The same applies if the deductible is to be reduced.

Take out private supplementary insurance when switching to statutory health insurance

People with statutory health insurance usually have the option of taking out supplementary health insurance. In this case, no health check is necessary and the old-age provisions previously saved are not lost. They can often be partially credited to the supplementary insurance.

For what reasons may the PKV cancel the contract?

Due to the health insurance obligation in Germany, the PKV itself may only terminate the contract in special cases and not ordinarily (§ 206 VVG).

In these cases, the private health insurance company may cancel the contract:

In the worst case, the insurance company will not only cancel the contract or withdraw from the contract with the insured person. It is also possible that benefits received/prohibited must be repaid to the private health insurance company.

The private health insurance company must also comply with notice periods. The notice period is one month after the breach of contract becomes known.

In the event of fraudulent intent or deliberate deception, termination is possible within ten years.

In the event of a serious breach of contract, termination is possible within 5 years.

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Our ottonova team of experts has over 40 years of experience in private health insurance and answers questions about it every day. What are old-age provisions and for whom does private health insurance make sense? What is the actuarial interest rate and which tariff is right for you? They know!

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We can help you write your cancellation letter for your current insurer and send it to you by email. You simply need to add your insurance number and signature and then send it to your insurer. We are unfortunately not allowed to contact your current insurer directly.

Health insurance is a mandatory requirement for all residents in Germany, including expatriates. The choice between the two main types of health insurance, the statutory health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV) and private health insurance (private Krankenversicherung, PKV), is a personal one with pros and cons for both options. Expats in Germany must have health insurance. Ultimately, the best choice depends on individual needs and circumstances.

Public health insurance is the predominant option in Germany and is funded by contributions from both employees and employers. Employees in Germany are automatically enrolled in statutory health insurance, and the costs are based on income and household size. Private health insurance is an alternative for individuals earning more than €66,600 per year or those who are self-employed. Private health insurance offers more extensive coverage options compared to statutory health insurance.

Germany has several private health insurance companies. It is essential to compare policies and coverage options, ensuring the chosen company is reputable and financially stable. Your health insurance card of your insurance company is crucial for accessing medical care in Germany. Always carry it with you when visiting doctors or hospitals.

You need more information about the advantages of both options? Check out our article public vs. private health insurance!

Of course you can terminate your contract with us as soon as you leave Germany for good. But if you plan to come back, you also can just freeze your contract with us and continue your contract when you're back in Germany.

You then would have to pay a small premium so you can re-enter to the private health insurance without a health check and good conditions. That would be a goos solution when you know you want to come back.

But if you don't know if you'll come back to Germany, you can terminate your contract with when leaving and when you are coming back you can either join the public health insurance or you can re-new your contract with us or another private health insurance under new conditions (age, health and the services you want.).

The ottonova Clinic 2-bed and ottonova Clinic 1-bed tariffs contribute to your old age reserves which allows your premiums to be as steady as possible over the entire term of the contract.

As steady as possible means that we won’t change your premiums as a result of your age, but only in the event of changes to medical costs. If providing accommodation in 1-bed rooms becomes more expensive, for example, we must then take this into account when calculating premiums and adjust them if necessary.

On the other hand, the Flex option for younger adults is calculated without contributing to your old age reserves. This means that your premiums can change as you get older. Feel free to get advice from our experts.

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