How useful is disability insurance?

There is always the risk that at some point you will no longer be able to do your job for health reasons. If you have disability insurance (AU insurance), you can receive a monthly pension in this case. For this, however, certain conditions must be met.

How useful is it to take out insurance of this type?

What is disability insurance?

The principle sounds convincing at first glance: insurance against loss of work capacity. However, disability insurance is not generally referred to as a stand-alone insurance product. As a general rule, this means work disability insurance (BU) with an inability to work clause, often also called an AU clause.

The AU clause is not always included in the basic benefits of an occupational disability insurance. With some insurance companies, it must therefore be booked as an optional extra. If it has been agreed, the insurer will pay you a temporary pension corresponding to the BU pension even if you have a longer certificate of incapacity for work.

Disability insurance as a stand-alone insurance product is quite unusual and therefore only offered by a few insurance companies. For more information, see

What is the difference between incapacity for work, incapacity for work and invalidity?

The terms incapacity for work, invalidity and inability to work sound very similar. Colloquially, therefore, they are often used synonymously. But that’s actually not correct: the terms do not have the same meaning. It follows that disability insurance is different from disability insurance.

The differences are as follows:

inability to work

One may be considered unfit for work with an acute upset stomach or a a flu-like infection they are valid. This is the case as soon as a doctor determines that a person is temporarily unable to carry out his professional activity and issues a certificate of incapacity for work. This form of attestation is popularly known as a health insurance certificate.

The employer continues to pay employees the agreed wage for up to six weeks in the event of illness. For people with compulsory health insurance, health insurance covers 70 percent of salary for longer sick leave from the seventh week for a maximum of 78 weeks.


Invalid in the sense of private invalidity insurance is someone who can no longer pursue his last long-term occupation. Regardless of whether the deficiency is due to physical injury, illness, or signs of old age.

Disability insurance has more advantageous regulations: to be considered disabled, it is enough to have 50 percent disability to perform your original job. If this condition is expected to last 6 months, the durability criterion is already met.


An inability to work or a reduction in earning capacity exists if a person who is unable to work can no longer perform any other work. If the statutory pension insurance institution determines a reduction in earning capacity, the reduced earning capacity state pension applies. All conceivable activities are checked, not just the last occupation.

A full disability pension is granted if the person concerned is able to work less than three hours a day. However, state benefits only represent a small part of the latest earned income. Free-lancerswho do not pay any contribution to the mandatory pension fund do not benefit from this protection at all.

Does it make sense to take out AU insurance?

There can be a variety of reasons for the inability to work. In physically stressful occupations, deficiencies of the musculoskeletal system are the dominant cause. Mental illnesses are more common in mentally demanding and stressful jobs.

According to Deutsche Rentenversicherung, one in five employees fails to work full-time until retirement age. Therefore, this group of people receives a disability pension for part of their working life. However, this state protection is very limited.

Therefore, additional protection against loss of one’s ability to work can be valuable to every employed person. That is why it makes sense to take out disability insurance with an AU clause for all professional groups. Those who are at lower risk of work disability also pay lower insurance premiums.


No matter how healthy you have been so far in life, no one is immune from accidents or illness. Purchasing disability insurance can provide you and your family with financial security in the event of an unfortunate event.

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