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Berlin service providers

Before you can really settle down in your new apartment you have to make sure you’ve got everything you need, like:

- Electricity
- Gas
- Insurance
- Telecommunication

If you’re not renting a new apartment, but live in a dorm, you’ll probably just be interested in internet, mobile contracts and insurance.

Electricity

Moving to an apartment means you will definitely need electricity as well. But which company to choose? The table shows the main electricity providers in Berlin and may help you to make a decision (effective December 2010, prices may change).


Company

Basic Charge [€/month]

Price per kWh [Cent]

Other Comments

lekker

5.80

21.75

50,- € bonus

Lichtblick

8.95

23.64

environment-friendly energy sources

Vattenfall

5.90

19.98

no minimum contract duration


Each company offers different products. This table is based on the “classical” product. Please check every website individually! Additionally, there are many more providers, for example eprimo, FlexStrom, E wie einfach, ...
The easiest way to find out the best suitable provider and product is the comparison on an independent website like Steckdose.de, strom.idealo.de or check24.de. You just have to enter your zip-code and your estimated consumption of electricity (websites only in German).

Once you’ve chosen a provider you can fillout an application either online or by mail. You need to have a German bank account. Also, the number of your electricity meter is needed. If the electricity meter is in your apartment you can easily check it on your own, but sometimes they are in the entrance hall or in the basement, then you have to ask your landlord.

Gas

There are some apartments where water and cooking is connected to a gas line. In this case you also have to place a contract with a gas provider. You may ask your landlord for help. Sometimes they place the contract for you, but that’s not always the case.

The main gas provider in Berlin is GASAG where you can choose among four products. We would recommend GASAG-Komfort as it offers a notice period of 1 month, although it is a little more expensive.
Many electricity providers also provide gas and there are also different website where you can check the several gas providers: gas.idealo.de, Stromvergleich.de or check24.de.

Insurance

Besides having health insurance it might be useful to think about getting another insurance. We provide an overview of available insurances and base the suggestions we make on our own experience. Therefore we want to point out that it is necessary that you consider on your own if you need a specific insurance or not

Indemnity Insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
An indemnity insurance covers claim for damages by third parties.
Recommendable is for example AXA.

Health Insurance for Abroad (Auslandskrankenversicherung)
If you are planning to travel not only in Germany but also in other countries, it is highly recommendable to get a health insurance for abroad. Among others, it includes compensation of expenses for drugs that you need to buy during your vacation and it only costs 10,- € per year. (e.g. HanseMerkur)

Legal Costs Insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung)
This kind of insurance is advisable every time you need a lawyer or expert witness. Especially when you have a car, this insurance can save a lot of money in the case of a car accident (e.g. ADAC).
IIf there are problems concerning the law of tenancy you can also join the Mieterschutzbund Berlin e.V..

House and Content Insurance (Hausratversicherung)
To be honest, not every student concludes this kind of insurance.
But it provides insurance coverage to your household, for instance if there is  damage by water. The coverage is dependent on each insurance and what you include or exclude.

Other insurances like pension insurance or life insurance are very diverse. The necessity and scope depends on each person’s circumstances.

Comfortplan and Versicherungsvergleich.de are idenpendent companies providing a comparison of insurances. Please check their websites for more details. Also insurances for electronic devices and bicycles are available in the German insurance market.

Telecommunication

As a student it is important to be within your friends’ and classmates’ reach. This section helps you find the appropriate provider for mobile phones as well as internet and landline telephone.

Mobile Phones

There are a lot of companies providing contracts for mobile phones.

We recommend Fonic, especially for international students. You just pay 0,09 €/min for calls to all German numbers (mobile and landline) as well as landline numbers in 50 countries in Europe, USA and Canada. For text messages (in Germany it’s called SMS) you have to pay 0,09 € per text message in German mobile networks. Please check the detailed price list here (only in German).

The website Studis Online offers a detailed overview of the various providers, as for example BASE, O2, Vodafone or T-Mobile, which you can check here (only in German).

Internet and Telephone

If you are looking for an internet provider we can recommend 1&1 and Alice.
1&1 has the most affordable plan beginning with 9.90 € for the Notebook-Flat. But this stick only provides a quite slow connection (1GB/month up to 7.200 kBit/s, then just 64 kBit/s) and might not be working at every place.
In case you want to have a better and faster connection, Alice is a good choice. Alice light is a package including DSL + phone line for 14.90 € per month and an additional setup charge for 39.90 €. It can be cancelled anytime.

There are also more providers that offer a package including both internet and telephone (for example Vodafone,, Kabel Detuschland, Congstar, etc.)
But most of the time you will not need to have an extra telephone at home and they often have a contract commitment for one or two years. The website DSL-Anbieter.com (only in German) compares the different providers and may give you some guidance.