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Logo: Graduate Academy/Leibniz Universität Hannover
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Logo: Graduate Academy/Leibniz Universität Hannover
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Information on Compulsory Insurance for PhD Candidates: Health, Accident and Liability Insurance

The following details on health, accident and liability insurance are intended as orientation for PhD candidates at Leibniz Universität Hannover. Individual questions on insurance should always be clarified with the appropriate departments. The Graduate Academy takes no legal responsibility.

Health Insurance

The type of health insurance for PhD candidates depends upon how their doctoral studies are financed and upon whether they have a contract of employment at the same time.

PhD candidates who are also employed as research staff

PhD candidates who are employed as research staff at the university during their doctoral studies normally have statutory health insurance within the framework of their contract of employment.

External PhD candidates with a contract of employment

External PhD candidates who have a contract of employment during their doctoral studies are likewise normally insured within the framework of their contract.

External PhD candidates who do not have a contract of employment  

PhD candidates who do not have a contract of employment during their doctoral studies are “insurance-free”. This refers in particular to those PhD candidates who finance their studies by means of a scholarship, mainly freelance work or minor employment. In this context, however, “insurance-free” means only that one may choose between statutory or private health insurance. PhD candidates must in any case take out statutory health insurance.  It should be noted that PhD candidates are not treated as students by the statutory health insurance funds and are therefore not eligible for reduced student rates. The basis for their contribution is their assessable income.

At present, it is unclear whether income from a scholarship or comparable funding may also be judged to be assessable income. The various health insurance funds treat this matter differently; a judicial decision is pending. The German Education Union (GEW) therefore advises PhD candidates to lodge an objection should they be requested to pay contributions which regard funding as assessable income and to pay such contributions only with reservations. This is the only way in which repayment claims remain valid until such time as a judicial decision has been reached.

External PhD candidates who have family insurance

PhD candidates who are not yet 25 years old (possibly older due to national or community service) or live in a civil partnership/ are married and are insured as a family member do not need to apply for health insurance.    

For further information, please see the following brochure of the GEW.


If you have further questions, please contact the Advisory Service of the Student Services Organisation in Hannover.

Accident Insurance

As matriculated PhD candidates, doctoral students at Leibniz Universität Hannover are insured within the framework of statutory accident insurance. All work which is carried out in the organisational area of the university within the framework of doctoral studies is covered by the latter. This includes, for example, presence at lectures and seminars or the use of libraries. The condition for this is matriculation which is legally binding for PhD candidates in Lower Saxony (cf. § 9 section 2, clause 4 Lower Saxony Higher Education Act).

PhD candidates who are employed as research staff at Leibniz Universität have statutory accident insurance cover on the basis of their contract of employment with the university.

For further information on statutory accident insurance, please see the homepage of the Gemeinde-Unfallversicherungsverband Hannover (Hannover Accident Insurance Association)

Liability Insurance

There are also differences in the way in which PhD candidates at Leibniz Universität Hannover are insured against damages which arise within the framework of their doctoral studies. These differences depend on whether PhD candidates are research staff members and thus have a contract of employment with the university or not. 

Research staff

PhD candidates who are employed as research staff by the university are exempt from liability towards their employer, the university. This means that they are not held liable for any damages which they may cause within the framework of their contract, unless they caused these damages through negligence or even deliberately. 

PhD scholarship holders and external PhD candidates

If there is no contract of employment between a PhD candidate and the university, he or she is not insured against any damages which he or she may cause within the framework of his or her doctoral studies.

In the case of damages, PhD scholarship holders and external PhD candidates are not subject to insurance cover from the university. They are therefore urgently advised to take out private liability insurance. Care should be taken that this private insurance also covers damages which arise at the workplace. If he/she is in any doubt, the PhD candidate should have this checked by his or her insurance company.