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Compulsory insurance

Under certain circumstances, even freelancers are subject to compulsory insurance. In this section you will find out what special features apply in liberal professions without licence requirements with regard to the following insurances:

  • Pension insurance
  • Health and nursing care insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Unemployment insurance

The question of self-employment plays a key role when classifying within the individual classes of insurance. Freelancers work more frequently particularly in new occupational fields than employees on a freelance basis. Employees working on a freelance basis however are not automatically “true” self-employed people, as they can also be in a dependent employment.

Please make sure both as an employer and also as a contractor that the activity does not become a so-called "pseudo self-employment”, where in reality there is an employment relationship and the contractor becomes dependent on the employer as if he/she were an employee. If there are any queries regarding social security classification of an occupation as a self-employed activity, the status determination procedure (Statusfeststellungsverfahren) of the Deutschen Rentenversicherung Bund will provide legal certainty for all those involved.

Tip: In addition to the insurances described below, you should think about concluding occupational disability insurance depending on the activity. It might also be advisable to conclude company insurances (e.g. pecuniary damage liability insurance, business interruption insurance and insurance covering the operating costs).

Pension insurance

Freelancers working as employees are generally subject to the statutory pension insurance.

Self-employed persons, who do not employ staff which is subject to social insurance contributions and who work mainly only for one customer, are also subject to the statutory pension insurance

As a self-employed artist or publicist you are compulsory insured through the artist’s social welfare fund (Künstlersozialkasse (KSK)).

Health and nursing care insurance

Self-employed persons are not compulsorily insured in the statutory health and nursing care insurance. In certain circumstances, they can be insured in the statutory health and nursing care insurance as a voluntary member or contribute to a private insurance.

Agriculturists and also artists and publicists are exceptions. The agricultural health insurance schemes are responsible for agriculturists. Artists and publicists have to be insured through the artist’s social welfare fund. The procedure description offers further information on this subject area.

Furthermore, persons without any other health insurance coverage are subject to compulsory insurance in the statutory health insurance, if amongst other things they were last covered by statutory health insurance. This compulsory insurance also applies for self-employed persons.

Accident insurance

Work accidents and occupational diseases are insured claims.   Work accidents not only include accidents suffered in the company while carry out the actual work, but also travel accidents (covering the distance from your home to your place of work and back).

There is normally no compulsory insurance for the liberal professions which do not require a licence. However you can conclude a voluntary accident insurance with your responsible employer’s liability insurance association.

As employers, freelancers are obliged to insure their employees in an accident insurance accordingly.

Unemployment insurance

Self-employed persons have the possibility to contribute to the unemployment insurance. This is an optional continued insurance.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wirtschaftsministerium and the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Baden-Württemberg released it on 08.08.2019. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts. In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.