Disability insurance (BU)-Germany

Disability insurance is considered the most important insurance in the area of ​​pension provision. But why is the BU so indispensable? Every fourth employed person in Germany has to give up their job before reaching retirement age. More than ten percent are affected before the age of 40. The health insurance center has prepared these and other valuable facts for you to understand. As soon as you are looking for BI insurance, you can find out more here and benefit from our latest insider tips!

?What is disability insurance

With disability insurance, policyholders protect themselves against the risk of permanent disability. If disability occurs, the BU insurer pays a monthly pension until the regular retirement age or for the duration of the disability. Whether the inability to work is caused by illness or an accident is irrelevant. Disability insurance pays if you are at least 50 percent unable to work.

?When is disability assumed

Incapacity to work is assumed if the insured person is likely to be unable to work in part or in full in his last occupation for a period of 6 months due to illness. Alternatively, occupational disability is also assumed if someone has been unable to work in their profession for more than 6 months.

?Who is disability insurance for

The conclusion of a BU offers protection for anyone who can no longer secure their livelihood due to an inability to work. The main goal of disability insurance is to compensate for loss of income. Since the statutory and company benefits are usually insufficient, private insurance protection through a BU is becoming increasingly important. It continues even if the job is lost or the insured person changes occupation.

Every fourth person becomes disabled at least once in their life!

The question of the point of disability insurance does not really arise when you take a look at the facts:

Low benefits: In the event of a reduction in earning capacity, you will receive around 36 percent of your last gross income from the German pension insurance - High risk: Every fourth person in Germany will be unable to work in their lifetime - but only around 20 percent have private insurance cover. If this is not the case, there is a risk of social decline if income collapses.

An interview with Patrick Hamacher - How to safely take out disability insurance. An interview with Versicherung mit Kopf - How a BU secures your standard of living

The health insurance company has asked.

Find out more about disability insurance in our podcast.

Why disability insurance makes sense for every profession

Above all, employees with a comparatively less physically demanding job in the office tend to believe that they are not affected by the risk of occupational disability - true to the motto: I will always be able to sit at my desk somehow. A misjudgment, as a look at the graphic above with the most common causes of occupational disability shows: The risk of developing mental illness, developing health problems in the musculoskeletal system or having cardiovascular problems may be greater or less in one or the other profession be strongly pronounced. In the end, however, it can affect anyone – regardless of their professional activity.

The fact is therefore

Disability insurance makes sense - no matter what you do professionally!

Disability insurance: exception for certain groups of people

Under certain conditions, employees can also be insured for disability via the statutory old-age pension without a medical examination. This has been possible since January 1, 2001 for people born before January 2, 1961. The previous two-tier system of occupational and disability pensions was replaced.

According to § 240 SGB VI , this regulation only applies as a reduction in earning capacity in the event of occupational disability and is only secured as such. However, due to stricter requirements , far fewer people receive disability pensions than before the 2001 reform.

The occupational pension options are also usually available with no or only a few questions about health. In most cases, however, only employees in the chemical industry, in the construction industry or in publishing companies benefit from such disability protection.

Unlike employees, civil servants do not become unable to work for health reasons, but “unable to work”. For this reason, there are special tariffs that are tailored to the special needs of civil servants.

The current occupation has a decisive influence on the frequency and duration of incapacity to work. For example, a craftsman has a higher risk of injury in the workplace than an office worker due to different health-related risks .

This emerges from the annual health report of the technicians (TK), which summarizes the evaluations on the subject of incapacity for work in the first part.

In 2017, the labor force was less likely to be on sick leave than in the previous year, but it was a little longer. Traditional respiratory diseases are still the most common cause of incapacity to work. Disorders of the musculoskeletal system took second place, followed by infections. Mental illnesses still account for 4.8 (men) and 8.4 percent (women).

Unemployed : 74.1 cases of incapacity to work (back pain as a single diagnosis: 187 days of sick leave)

Transport and warehouse occupations: 46.5 cases of incapacity to work (back pain as a single diagnosis: 175 days of sick leave)

Metal production and processing : 46.1 cases of incapacity to work (back pain as a single diagnosis: 193 days of sick leave)

Chemical workers : 44.1 cases of incapacity to work (back pain as a single diagnosis: 159 days of sick leave)

Construction, ancillary construction and wood trades : 43.5 cases of incapacity to work (back pain as a single diagnosis: 167 days of sick leave)

Linking disability insurance with pension makes sense

When choosing the right occupational disability insurance, consumers are often faced with the decision of combining the BU with supplementary insurance with old- age provision . But does the latter option make sense? In fact, this variant of BI is often discouraged, even if it can offer advantages for certain groups of people.

Linking the BU with the pension insurance in the form of supplementary insurance can therefore make sense if, for example, the focus is on tax advantages and this also pays off with a corresponding income. However, if you want dynamic insurance cover that optimally serves both variants, it is advisable to take out two separate pension benefits.


Contributions are tax deductible

BU contribution may be slightly lower

In the event of disability, the old-age pension will continue to be paid


The pension is later fully or partially taxable

The BU pension in the event of a benefit must be set higher in order to be able to compensate for the tax loss later

state-subsidized old-age provision mostly without BU contribution dynamics

Tax advantages usually only pay off in later years when the salary is higher. However, a BU should be completed as early as possible

Changes to the contract always apply to both components (BU and AV)

Riester pension

Rürup pensionLife insuranceTerm life insurance

Disability insurance costs

I don't need a BU - I won't become disabled. Such statements are often heard when it comes to the reasons why many people do not insure themselves against impending disability. Disability insurance is one of the most important forms of protection – a protection that very few people have. The financial losses caused by the loss of work are simply underestimated.

If you earn 2,000 euros net today at the age of 25 and your salary only increases by 1 percent a year, you will have earned around 1.2 million euros by your 65th birthday! If you become unable to work tomorrow and remain so for life, you will incur a loss of over one million euros without BU insurance, which you would have to compensate from another source. As an office clerk, it costs you just 60 euros a month to secure these 2,000 euros – that’s not even 30,000 euros over 40 years! In the "worst" case - disability - you will receive more than 1 million euros in benefits and you will no longer have to pay any contributions in the event of disability! There are now numerous policies that even cost far less than 60 euros per month. In plain language:The bottom line is that it sounds as if disability insurance could not make more sense!

Contributions based on the office clerk profession, insured pension of EUR 2,000, term up to 65 years, net contributions, maximum benefit calculation.

Disability insurance with premium refund

An insurance where the premiums paid are repaid at the end if the insurance has not been claimed – everyone would like that. Such an option would also be desirable for a BU. In fact, there are disability insurance policies with premium refunds. If you are happy now, you can quickly be disappointed - because this tariff model does not always keep what it promises.

Anyone who completes a BU with repayment pays higher monthly contributions. These additional premiums are invested by the insurer in savings accounts with interest. This generated surplus is then paid out at the end of the call. It is therefore not really a repayment of the BU contributions, but rather a profit sharing.

Disability insurance without premium refund

The alternative to the BU with premium refund is therefore the occupational disability insurance without premium refund. The monthly BU costs  are much lower - but without a repayment guarantee.

BU without contribution refund makes more sense?

On the one hand, the monthly contributions are much lower. On the other hand, a BU with a premium refund is usually only worthwhile for very young insured persons, since the difference to a "normal" BU is not that great. In addition, policyholders should note the following:

A BU is important because every fourth person becomes disabled in their lifetime

BUT: A BU with contribution refund only pays if there is no  occupational disability.

BU costs BU starter tariffs

Tips and advice on disability insurance

Young adults & BI protection

Disinterest : “I have never dealt with the issue of disability before.” (46 percent)

Financial reasons: "I don't have enough money for that." (33 percent)

Misjudgment : "I don't think the risk of disability is that great." (16 percent)

Incomprehension : "The topic and the information on it are too complicated for me." (14 percent)

Distrust : "I don't have enough confidence that the insurance company will pay in the event of disability." (9 percent)

Carelessness : "I trust that in case of doubt I will be adequately covered by my employer or the state." (7 percent)

Disability insurance despite previous illnesses

In addition to age, hobbies, job and BMI, any previous illnesses also play an enormous role in taking out disability insurance. Here, illnesses can both cause higher contributions and be the reason for a rejection of the BU. That is why a number of health questions are asked before taking out disability insurance.

Effects of pre-existing conditions on BI protection

consequence of previous illnesses Importance for BI protection

No consequences Some previous illnesses, such as some allergies,

have no effect on the BI protection and this can be taken out

without disadvantages and according to the life situation.

BU with risk premium The BU can be completed,

but higher contributions are due for the insured person - the so-called risk surcharge.

BU with exclusions The BU can be completed, but with the exclusion of

certain benefits. If the BU occurs because of the named previous illness

, the insurance company does not have to pay a pension.

rejection of the BU The previous illness means that the insurer assesses the risk as too high

and rejects the BU application.

Terminate disability insurance - what to consider

Disability insurance is not compulsory insurance and can be canceled at any time, subject to the relevant notice period. But beware: the termination of the BU  should only take place if a new BU policy has already been chosen.

How useful is the termination of the BU

In general, there is nothing wrong with terminating your BU. One reason may be better conditions. The insured person is therefore looking for disability insurance with a longer term, a higher pension or a cheaper tariff. It is and remains important: Before the termination, the new BU insurer should be known, if not even the BU policy should already have been taken out. In this way you avoid the risk of becoming unable to work during the insurance gap and thus having no protection. The termination and the BU change are therefore closely related.

Disadvantages of a BU termination

The costs of disability insurance  depend, among other things, on the age at entry and possible previous illnesses. If you only change your disability insurance after many years and your state of health has changed, for example, the BU tariff may become more expensive. In order to determine the amount, so-called  health  questions are asked. The new policies should therefore be thoroughly checked before switching.

The BU can be terminated with the notice period agreed in the contract at the end of the contract (usually annually). If the payment is monthly, quarterly or semi-annually, the contract can usually be terminated at the next payment date with a notice period of one month.

If the insurer increases the contributions to occupational disability insurance without the benefits being adjusted accordingly, consumers have a special right of termination with a notice period of one month. Agreed changes within the framework of a contractual dynamic are excluded.

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