When you sign up for expat health insurance, you agree to the terms and conditions. You can reference those in your Feather account.
An important detail about the expat health insurance policy is that you have accepted a 31-day insurance activation period or "waiting period".
What is the 31-day waiting period?
The activation period requires the policyholder to have an active policy for at least 31 days before making a claim. Please note that regardless of the waiting period, you would still have some limited coverage (life threatening illnesses/injuries).
Does the 31-day waiting period apply to everyone?
No. There are two reasons why the waiting period can be waived:
1) If you start an expat health insurance policy within 31 days of arriving in Germany, then no waiting period applies. For example: if you arrive by airplane to Germany on the 1st of June then you must sign up for a policy before the end of that calendar month. Keep in mind that if you do file a claim within the first 31 days of your active policy, you will need to show proof that you moved and signed up within 31 days of arriving in Germany. Proof, in this case, could include an airline, train, or bus ticket.
2) Alternatively, if you have previous insurance of equal or greater coverage, and there is no gap in cover (so your expat insurance would start on the day of or before your previous insurance is set to expire), then the waiting period would also be waived. The same situation applies as the first point, in that if you do file a claim within the first 31 days of your active policy, you will need to show proof of your previous insurance without a gap.
Why does this rule exist?
The 31-day waiting period exists to ensure that no policy abuse occurs. If the waiting period did not exist, then it would be easy for someone who had an accident or illness to sign up for insurance and be treated on the same day—and that would make monthly payments grossly expensive for all other policyholders. For this reason, waiting periods are a common feature of many types of insurance in Germany, including health insurance and health insurance add-on policies.
Our expat health insurance relies largely on the honor system to get you insured—generally, we don't require applicants to submit a medical report or have a doctor's exam before taking out a policy with us. That's why we can get you insured in minutes! But we need to put mechanisms in place to ensure no abuse of the insurance policy occurs.
What happens I were to become seriously ill or have a major accident during the waiting period?
In the case of a major incident such as an accident or sudden affliction, the waiting period would be waived and you would receive the necessary treatment. Generally speaking, the waiting period is for small claims such as doctor visits or minor treatments.
What happens after the 31-day waiting period is over?
After the waiting time has ended, you may take advantage of the benefits of your policy.