Health and safety

We really hope you will stay happy and healthy during your time in Munich. However, sometimes emergencies happen — and when they do, it is good to be prepared!

As an international student here, you’ll notice that Germans place a lot of value in all manner of insurances. Better safe than sorry is our motto! The main one to be worried about is health insurance — you can always get more insurances if you decide to stay longer term. (That said, we do strongly recommend personal liability insurance, so you may want to inquire at an insurer in your home country or at a German insurer when you arrive here.)

Health and wellbeing

If you have a headache, fever, or feel under the weather, your first stop will be to see a general practitioner (Hausarzt). These doctors can recommend treatment for most common illnesses and will refer you to a specialist if required. If you already know that your illness needs to be treated by a specialist, such as a dermatologist, you can contact these specialists directly without seeing a general practitioner first.

You are generally free to choose any doctor or hospital in Germany that you like, as long as they accept your health insurance. Doctors in private practice can be extremely expensive, so you’ll want to check that they’ll take the regular insurance first.

When searching for a suitable doctor, it might be useful to ask friends for recommendations. You can also search online via the yellow pages or local directory (both in German) to find medical practices in your area. All health insurance companies offer online research tools to find doctors and specialists in your region (key word: Arztsuche).

If you’re not that comfortable speaking German, you can certainly find a doctor that can hold a consultation in English and possibly even your native tongue. Munich is a big city with lots of international residents.

Many general practitioners in Germany have an open-door policy, meaning that patients can simply turn up to be treated. However, it’s strongly recommended that you make an appointment in person or by telephone before you go because waiting times can be long. Sometimes you may have to wait a day or two to get an appointment. Take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is valid for acute illnesses only or your insurance card to the appointment. If you have private insurance coverage, you will first have to pay all the bills and be reimbursed later.

Medicine is normally sold by pharmacies (Apotheken). Drug-dispensing laws are very strict in Germany. This means that many medicines that may be prescription-free in your home country (such as painkillers, for example) can only be purchased on prescription here. The regular German health insurance will cover the costs of most prescription drugs, but you may have to pay a prescription fee at the pharmacy.

What do you do if you suddenly get ill at night, on the weekend, or on a national holiday? Don’t worry! There are always emergency services and pharmacies available to help you. Try calling your regular doctor first if the emergency isn’t life-threatening. If they are not available, there is usually a recorded message in place that refers you to the number for an emergency doctor. Alternatively, you could go straight to the nearest hospital or emergency room in case of an emergency.

Emergency numbers (Notdienste) can be found here:

For psychological and/or pastoral counseling, you may contact the following institutions:

Health insurance

In order to register at LMU, you must have adequate health insurance.

Germany has a social security agreement with some countries, such as members of the European Union and the European Economic Area, which means that if you have public health insurance at home, you can get this insurance coverage approved by a public health insurance company in Germany. But make sure you clarify at home which documents you will need to take with you! For students this is usually a European health insurance card (EHIC). You will take your EHIC or health insurance chip card with you to your doctor’s appointment. The doctor will then bill the health insurance provider directly.

Please note: EHIC does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different, services covered abroad can vary. Some healthcare providers only cover emergency treatments in Germany and expect you to travel home for all therapies that do not require urgent action. Please check the conditions with your health insurance provider at home and consider becoming a paying member (student rate) of a German public health insurance even if you have an EHIC card.

The good news for those who have to or who want to insure themselves in Germany is that basic medical coverage for students is fairly affordable. The student rate — guaranteed for students under the age of 30 before the end of the fourteenth semester — charged by a public German insurer is currently about 100 euro a month. This covers doctor visits and prescription medications. Private health insurance is only allowed in exceptional cases. But once you take out private health insurance you cannot revert to public health insurance!

More information on the health system in Germany and health insurance is available on the website of the Studentenwerk München, the Munich Student Union.

If you are from one of the 27 EU countries or from Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, or the UK (??), you can obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the relevant health authority in your home country. These cards are issued by your national health insurance provider.

After arrival in Germany, please present this card to a German state health insurance provider. They will give you a document called Bescheinigung zur Vorlage bei der Hochschule stating that you have sufficient health insurance coverage in your home country.

Please bring this document with you to the International Office for your registration at LMU.

Be aware that EHIC does not necessarily cover all costs for medical treatment in Germany (see above)!

Students from non-EU countries with which a social insurance agreement exists (please check with your home insurance if your country belongs to this group) must also present a foreign health insurance certification (Anspruchsbescheinigung) to one of the German public health insurance providers and request formal proof (Bescheinigung zur Vorlage bei der Hochschule) that your insurance status is sufficient.

Please bring this document with you to enrollment at the International Office. If the health insurance provider decides that your insurance coverage is not adequate, you will need German health insurance. See the Not Insured in Country of Origin section (IV) for more information.

A German state health insurance provider must verify if your home insurance policy is sufficient. If your insurance coverage is sufficient, the German state health insurance provider will issue a document called Bescheinigung zur Vorlage bei der Hochschule.

Please bring this document with you to enrollment at the International Office. If the health insurance provider decides that your insurance coverage is not adequate, you will need German health insurance coverage. See the Not Insured in Country of Origin section (IV) for more information.

Only for the short period between your arrival in Germany and enrollment at LMU is travel health insurance from your home country sufficient. For enrollment (registration), you are required to have proof of insurance with a German health insurance provider.

You will need to purchase German insurance. Again, the benefit is that prices are affordable, at approximately 80 euros per month. The German state health insurance provider will issue a document to you called Bescheinigung zur Vorlage bei der Hochschule. Please bring this document with you to enrollment at the International Office.

Remember to cancel your health insurance with the German provider before returning home. In order to cancel your insurance, you will need to send proof of ex-matriculation to your health insurance provider in Germany. To get this certificate, you will need to visit Studentenkanzlei on the LMU main campus.

Students over 30 years of age are exempt from the mandatory health insurance. We do, however, strongly recommend that you take out adequate health insurance coverage. Failure to do so may result in unforeseen costs in the case of illness. State and private health insurance providers offer a variety of rates. The Munich Student Union (Studentenwerk München) also recommends insurance for international students and can give you advice on public health insurance providers.

Grafik eines kranken Studenten bei einer Ärztin und der Aufschrift Gesundheitskarte - Approved

If you click to view this video your personal data will be transmitted to YouTube and cookies may also be stored on your device. LMU has no influence over how any such data is transmitted or indeed over its further usage.

More information available here: LMU data protection policy, data protection policy from YouTube / Google.

2:13 min. | 23 Nov 2020 | ©LMU

Accident, personal, travel, and third-party liability insurance

We recommend that you have accident, personal, and third-party liability insurance for the duration of your stay in Germany, particularly if you are going to be working in a laboratory.

We also recommend that you make the journey to LMU with suitable travel insurance coverage. Your travel insurance should be valid until the day you enroll at LMU.

Safety

Bavaria is one of Germany’s safest states and it is very unlikely that you will ever feel unsafe here. The state has the lowest crime rates in Germany.

Nevertheless, as in any major city, you should always keep your wits about you, especially when walking on your own. Guard your personal belongings carefully in crowded places, particularly at big festivals like Oktoberfest or the Christmas markets. Also make sure you get a good lock to secure your bike before leaving it anywhere.

In case of emergencies, call

  • 110 for the police.

  • 112 for fire and emergency services.