In Germany, there are three relevant types of insurance for motorists: motor liability insurance, which is compulsory, partial cover and fully comprehensive insurance, which is voluntary. Liability insurance covers damage to other people and vehicles in the event of (unintentional) accidents. But what exactly are partial and fully comprehensive insurance good for, what are the differences between them and what affects the amount of insurance to be paid?
Damage to your own vehicle
Both comprehensive insurances cover, regardless of the differences, in principle damages to the own vehicle, which have not been caused by a direct, classical accident. The motor vehicle liability insurance cannot take effect here, because nature, animals and weather are now once not liable, and there are therefore the comprehensive insurances. Exceptions are man-made losses and damages where the responsible person cannot be found, for example in case of theft or hit-and-run accidents.
Benefits of partial casco
Specifically, the Teilkasko usually covers the following damage:
- fire damage
- Explosion damage
- Wildlife damage
- Marten damage
- Weather damage (storm, hail, lightning)
- Glass Damage
- more information under: (What does the partial cover insurance pay for everything?)
Benefits of the comprehensive insurance
The fully comprehensive insurance automatically includes the above-mentioned benefits of the partial cover insurance, and also offers protection against:
- Accident damage without clear other causer
- Accidental damage in case of own fault
- Accident damage in case of hit and run
- Accidental damage caused by children (not liable)
- more information under: (What does the fully comprehensive insurance pay for everything?)
In short, it can be summarized that the fully comprehensive insurance covers, in addition to natural damage, damage caused by humans, which cannot be included in the sense of motor vehicle liability insurance. Nevertheless, even this type of insurance is not all-encompassing, so engine damage or wear and tear are not covered.
Differences can also occur not only between the two comprehensive insurance, but also in the offer of each provider. Example wildlife accident: For some insurance companies, the term "wildlife" refers to all animals, while for others, damage caused by a dog cannot be covered because dogs are considered domesticated animals. Likewise, of course, there are differences in the discretion and the insurance premium offered.
When is which insurance worthwhile?
For new cars, fully comprehensive insurance is always advisable. In the case of a new car, the financial loss is too great if it is damaged through one's own fault, a hit-and-run driver or wilful damage by a third party. Even for used cars that are only a few years old, it is usually appropriate. Here the damage would be similar to a new car. Since the higher premiums for the insurance are worth it. If a used car is financed by a loan, the insurance can be used to cover the loan costs in the event of a total loss. For an older used car, you will usually settle for partial coverage. (see also: How long fully comprehensive insurance?) It is better not to do without a comprehensive insurance completely. Used cars are also stolen and, especially in the case of older cars, cable fires can also occur.
How are insurance premiums calculated?
The premiums depend on the type of car (type class) and its age. On the other hand, regional classes and age classes of the driver are also taken into account. There are no-claims classes for fully comprehensive insurance, but not for partially comprehensive insurance. For drivers who have been driving damage-free for many years, the premium for comprehensive insurance can therefore be so low that it is worthwhile even for older vehicles. When taking out a partial casco insurance, the claims of the last 24 months are requested. If accidental damage occurred during this period, this increases the insurance premium. With both insurances there is the possibility to reduce the premiums by an appropriate deductible. However, partial coverage insurance with no deductible is usually so expensive that it is no longer economically sensible to take it out. You have to weigh how much deductible you are able to pay in case of a claim.
Type and regional classes: In contrast, there are no differences in the calculation between partial and fully comprehensive insurance when it comes to the classes of vehicles that are insured. The regional class depends on the frequency of accidents in the area where the vehicle is registered – the more accident-free the area, the lower the regional class and thus the lower the insurance premium. The type class is similar, but here the accident frequency with respect to the vehicle type and not the area determines the classification and thus the premium to be paid.
What is a no-claims class?
The no-claims class refers to the years the driver has driven without an accident. It comes into play both with the legally prescribed liability insurance for passenger cars and with the comprehensive insurance for cars, which can be taken out voluntarily. For this there is a table, which is used by all insurers. It begins with the SF0 for novice drivers and ends with the SF25, in which all car owners are classified, who have driven at least 25 years accident-free.
First-time drivers move into the SF½ class after six months of accident-free driving, and into the SF1 class after another six months. From then on, you will be upgraded to a higher class each year if there have been no accidents. No-claims classification goes with a corresponding discount or. For entering classes, come with a surcharge. So insurance gets cheaper with each claim-free year. If a claim occurs, you are downgraded to a lower no-claims class.
The downgrade is based only on the number of claims, not the amount of claims. How the downgrade occurs depends on the insurance company and the specific policy. Therefore, it may be more advantageous not to use insurance for a small claim in order to maintain your current no-claims class.