bs8008 asked this question 2 years, 7 months ago:

Help- New hire Civilian under contract with the DOD arriving to work in Landstuhl hospital.

Just got my orders and leaving DC, 2nd week in Jan. I am a new hire to the GS system and Europe so I could use some help.A sponsor is supposed to pick me up, and  arrange temporary housing. That's all the information I could get that isn't written down. I could use some help in getting the lay of the land.

Which is the better medical and dental  insurance? FSBP, blue cross or other plans?   Should I get temporary insurance till the real thing kicks in?

I'm assuming that I will be in temporary housing till I can find something permanent. Any place you would recommend if I don't like what my sponsor arranges.

Should I use the housing office ? I was informed that the housing office will provide me with furniture before and after my stuff arrives? What will happen if I don't use them? If I look for myself, any recommendations and where  should I look? I am single and not a youngster.

Any recommendations on Car Ins, cell phone ,cable and internet to be able to access shows from home and locally? should I bring my own router any recommendations on the best that will work there? 

Thank you. Any help  would be appreciated.

 



2 years, 7 months ago

Quote by bs8008:

Just got my orders and leaving DC, 2nd week in Jan. I am a new hire to the GS system and Europe so I could use some help.A sponsor is supposed to pick me up, and  arrange temporary housing. That's all the information I could get that isn't written down. I could use some help in getting the lay of the land.

Which is the better medical and dental  insurance? FSBP, blue cross or other plans?   Should I get temporary insurance till the real thing kicks in?

I'm assuming that I will be in temporary housing till I can find something permanent. Any place you would recommend if I don't like what my sponsor arranges.

Should I use the housing office ? I was informed that the housing office will provide me with furniture before and after my stuff arrives? What will happen if I don't use them? If I look for myself, any recommendations and where  should I look? I am single and not a youngster.

Any recommendations on Car Ins, cell phone ,cable and internet to be able to access shows from home and locally? should I bring my own router any recommendations on the best that will work there? 

Thank you. Any help  would be appreciated.

 

I am going to answer a few of your questions, and leave the others up to the folks that are still over in Germany.  Regarding car insurance, we found our best price with USAA.  German car insurance requirements are far different than in the U.S.  USAA knows the requirements and can help you with that. 

Regarding Internet... That is a big question mark.  Some areas have faster Internet than others.  When I was in Germany, we had to deal with 3Mbps speed.  It was like watching paint dry.  Some areas have cable Internet and blazing fast speeds.  So, as you look at different places to live, inquire about Internet speeds.

Regarding temporary housing.  TDYHOMES!  www.TDYHOMES.com  Definitely!  Call USA-44-HOMES (872-444-6637).  Ask for Hans or Mike.  Most likely, Mike will answer or call you back if you leave a message.  DO NOT GET SCREWED by Pia Fisher, who has stolen the name from TDYHOMES and called her business TDYHOME (without the S).  She's a real piece of work.  

Good luck with your sponsor.  Sponsors are not exactly the strong point of a PCS to the KMC.  

Also, please consider helping us out by purchasing your Emergency Car Kit from this site.  It is a requirement in Germany to have one in each car you drive.  www.everythingkmc.com/eck is the place to get it.  Thank you.

Check back for recommendations regarding your other questions. I am sure you'll get your information. It is a holiday, so it might be tomorrow before you see another reply.



This company is a proud sponsor of EverythingKMC.
2 years, 7 months ago

Lots of good things heard about FSBP. 
https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/open-season

As far as internet and TV....QUIX and for TV viewing...take a look at this...these things are awesome.
https://www.everythingkmc.com/18672/tv-black-box/

Internet Service Provider - https://www.myquix.de/

Definitely second TDYHOMES...those folks and their properties are awesome....American owned and operated.

2 years, 7 months ago

Quote by bs8008:

Just got my orders and leaving DC, 2nd week in Jan. I am a new hire to the GS system and Europe so I could use some help.A sponsor is supposed to pick me up, and  arrange temporary housing. That's all the information I could get that isn't written down. I could use some help in getting the lay of the land.

Which is the better medical and dental  insurance? FSBP, blue cross or other plans?   Should I get temporary insurance till the real thing kicks in?

I'm assuming that I will be in temporary housing till I can find something permanent. Any place you would recommend if I don't like what my sponsor arranges.

Should I use the housing office ? I was informed that the housing office will provide me with furniture before and after my stuff arrives? What will happen if I don't use them? If I look for myself, any recommendations and where  should I look? I am single and not a youngster.

Any recommendations on Car Ins, cell phone ,cable and internet to be able to access shows from home and locally? should I bring my own router any recommendations on the best that will work there? 

Thank you. Any help  would be appreciated.

 


bs8008: If you are a permanent full time new GS employee that will be receiving all the basics, LQA, full per diem, PCS etc...I would suggest you arrange your own temporary housing as you might not want to stay on base at Landstuhl/Vogelweh/Ramstein etc. I will say that it would be more convenient to stay on Landstuhl base if it takes you a while to get you a car and a license. You should see about taking the USAREUR driver's test online before you arrive (if eligible). See the threads about drivers test. As far as temp lodging, I used TDY Homes. I did not have to worry about paying hundreds/thousands of dollars until I settled my claim. The guys at TDY Homes were great. Y When you are prepared to move into permanent housing, remember you will have to pay deposit and first months rent up front. I know for me that was 5,000Euro.

I live in Landstuhl and my internet and cell phone is through Telekom. The off base Telekom personnel in Landstuhl all speak English. I wish I would have gotten my cell phone through the Telekom provider off base instead of the one on base at Ramstein AB (food for thought)

As far as cable...I have SKY TV (you can find the provider(s) in the Finder's Guide) and AFN. If you watch sports, AFN is a good and more importantly free option (off base) once you are all setup with AFN Decoder, Satellite etc. The guy that setup my SKY TV also installed my AFN. I ended up paying about 600 Euro for everything that I needed (I have a 7 bedroom, 5-bath house) if that sounds like a lot. You can bring your own router, but if its not 220V compatible It would be useless to you, unless you want to run a converter 24/7 for it, which will negatively affect your utility costs.

Anything that is 110V, there is no need bringing those items (iron, toaster, small fans, heaters, small freezers, lamps etc). Most people by them on the local economy, or thrift stores on base, or Ramstein Bookoo.

You can get reliable hoopties over here. They are everywhere. When I arrive I bought a 1999 BMW 318i for $2500. The mechanic I bought it from guaranteed it would pass inspection. Of course, you must have your USAREUR license before you can register the car.

I would focus on my temporary lodging, Overseas ID CAC Card, USAREUR license before and when I arrive. Quick tip...as far as your ID Card I would go ahead and schedule an appointment for a couple of days after you arrive at rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil/  because ID Card places are really busy and it could become a nightmare.

Good luck!

1
2 years, 7 months ago

about finding a home.... some posibilities. If you like small city-live, Landstuhl is nice. If you like it quiet, the little villages like Gerhardsbrunn or Mittelbrunn are the place to chose. If you like it more city - ceck-out Kaiserslautern.

If you have problems with lungs like Astma - go up to the Hoehe like Martinhohe, Rosenkopf - very good air.......


if you have more questions - feel free and invited to contact!!

1
2 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for the information.  So far everything is set up on this end.

I will probably get a car when I come over. I am talking to MCS right now.

Any recommendations on where I can get a Hooptie?  Can I check on line? 

Any recommendations on a bank account and or German credit card?


thanks

2 years, 7 months ago

hi again,


german bank: Kreissparkasse Kaiserslautern

Volksbank Glan-Münchweiler

and   Postbank

you can get money out of the atm in the villages without charge - as well you get an EC-Card, that is more accepted with the PIN in germany (less cost for the companies, when you payed = more welcome then Credit-Cards).

If you take an Internet-Bank, check out the fee for getting money out of ATM.


used cars... my neigbour selling his A3 - Familycar no. 4 for about 1600 euro....

passed german-Tüv last april.....

1
2 years, 7 months ago

Quote by diwil:

hi again,


german bank: Kreissparkasse Kaiserslautern

Volksbank Glan-Münchweiler

and   Postbank

you can get money out of the atm in the villages without charge - as well you get an EC-Card, that is more accepted with the PIN in germany (less cost for the companies, when you payed = more welcome then Credit-Cards).

If you take an Internet-Bank, check out the fee for getting money out of ATM.


used cars... my neigbour selling his A3 - Familycar no. 4 for about 1600 euro....

passed german-Tüv last april.....

Hi,

Thanks for your feedback.  Do you think it is better to go w a local bank over someone like Deutsche bank which is larger?

Are the bedrooms big enough to accommodate a king size bed?

Thanks for the offer of the car but I will be touring a lot and I will need to have a good vehicle just in case. I'll come back if i have any other questions.

thanks

 

2 years, 7 months ago

Quote by diwil:

hi again,


german bank: Kreissparkasse Kaiserslautern

Volksbank Glan-Münchweiler

and   Postbank

you can get money out of the atm in the villages without charge - as well you get an EC-Card, that is more accepted with the PIN in germany (less cost for the companies, when you payed = more welcome then Credit-Cards).

If you take an Internet-Bank, check out the fee for getting money out of ATM.


used cars... my neigbour selling his A3 - Familycar no. 4 for about 1600 euro....

passed german-Tüv last april.....

Hi,

Thanks for your feedback.  Do you think it is better to go w a local bank over someone like Deutsche bank which is larger?

Are the bedrooms big enough to accommodate a king size bed?

Thanks for the offer of the car but I will be touring a lot and I will need to have a good vehicle just in case. I'll come back if i have any other questions.

thanks

 

2 years, 7 months ago

Quote by bs8008:

Quote by diwil:

hi again,


german bank: Kreissparkasse Kaiserslautern

Volksbank Glan-Münchweiler

and   Postbank

you can get money out of the atm in the villages without charge - as well you get an EC-Card, that is more accepted with the PIN in germany (less cost for the companies, when you payed = more welcome then Credit-Cards).

If you take an Internet-Bank, check out the fee for getting money out of ATM.


used cars... my neigbour selling his A3 - Familycar no. 4 for about 1600 euro....

passed german-Tüv last april.....

Hi,

Thanks for your feedback.  Do you think it is better to go w a local bank over someone like Deutsche bank which is larger?

Are the bedrooms big enough to accommodate a king size bed?

Thanks for the offer of the car but I will be touring a lot and I will need to have a good vehicle just in case. I'll come back if i have any other questions.

thanks

 

Regarding the king size bed, you should not have a problem.  Guess it really depends on what you rent, but we lived in a 4 bedroom house.  Every bedroom was plenty large for a king size bed with plenty of room to spare for furniture.

Regarding the bank situation.  I found it very easy using Kreissparkasse in my village.  I didn't have to walk for more than about 3 minutes to get to the bank, and my ATM card worked anywhere.  It is more a matter of what you find convenient, than anything else.

When the time comes to choose between Service Credit Union and Community Bank, I highly suggest SCU.

2 years, 6 months ago

Quote by JOFTAA:

Quote by bs8008:

Just got my orders and leaving DC, 2nd week in Jan. I am a new hire to the GS system and Europe so I could use some help.A sponsor is supposed to pick me up, and  arrange temporary housing. That's all the information I could get that isn't written down. I could use some help in getting the lay of the land.

Which is the better medical and dental  insurance? FSBP, blue cross or other plans?   Should I get temporary insurance till the real thing kicks in?

I'm assuming that I will be in temporary housing till I can find something permanent. Any place you would recommend if I don't like what my sponsor arranges.

Should I use the housing office ? I was informed that the housing office will provide me with furniture before and after my stuff arrives? What will happen if I don't use them? If I look for myself, any recommendations and where  should I look? I am single and not a youngster.

Any recommendations on Car Ins, cell phone ,cable and internet to be able to access shows from home and locally? should I bring my own router any recommendations on the best that will work there? 

Thank you. Any help  would be appreciated.

 

Regarding car insurance, we found our best price with USAA.  German car insurance requirements are far different than in the U.S.  USAA knows the requirements and can help you with that. 




JOFTAA,




   You have got to be kidding about USAA!!!  I have had USAA for about 15 years and have several products with USAA - mortgage, credit cards, auto loans, etc., but still got a huge-discount (70% less on monthly premiums) by going local with ABC Thayer and Allianz.  They insured both my vehicles, wit the higher premiums and full coverage, and saved me over a $1K a year, tahn if I have went with USAA.  When I told USAA they said they would have to do a new-market survey.  They still have my business, just not for car insurance.  A dollar-saved is a dollar-earned.




2 years, 6 months ago

Quote by OPLAW11:

Quote by JOFTAA:

Quote by bs8008:

Just got my orders and leaving DC, 2nd week in Jan. I am a new hire to the GS system and Europe so I could use some help.A sponsor is supposed to pick me up, and  arrange temporary housing. That's all the information I could get that isn't written down. I could use some help in getting the lay of the land.

Which is the better medical and dental  insurance? FSBP, blue cross or other plans?   Should I get temporary insurance till the real thing kicks in?

I'm assuming that I will be in temporary housing till I can find something permanent. Any place you would recommend if I don't like what my sponsor arranges.

Should I use the housing office ? I was informed that the housing office will provide me with furniture before and after my stuff arrives? What will happen if I don't use them? If I look for myself, any recommendations and where  should I look? I am single and not a youngster.

Any recommendations on Car Ins, cell phone ,cable and internet to be able to access shows from home and locally? should I bring my own router any recommendations on the best that will work there? 

Thank you. Any help  would be appreciated.

 

Regarding car insurance, we found our best price with USAA.  German car insurance requirements are far different than in the U.S.  USAA knows the requirements and can help you with that. 




JOFTAA,




   You have got to be kidding about USAA!!!  I have had USAA for about 15 years and have several products with USAA - mortgage, credit cards, auto loans, etc., but still got a huge-discount (70% less on monthly premiums) by going local with ABC Thayer and Allianz.  They insured both my vehicles, wit the higher premiums and full coverage, and saved me over a $1K a year, tahn if I have went with USAA.  When I told USAA they said they would have to do a new-market survey.  They still have my business, just not for car insurance.  A dollar-saved is a dollar-earned.





Nope.  Not kidding.  We compared pricing at several insurance agencies in the KMC area, and they were way out of line compared to USAA.  

Having said that, when we first got to Germany, we went with a German insurance company because the USAA rates were out of line.  When we requested a quote again after a year, the rate was much lower.  I certainly would not have paid premiums to USAA if they're rate was higher.

What is sad is that now, as I write this, I am fighting with USAA. One of their insured drivers hit my son's car hard enough to destroy it beyond repair.  USAA has been low balling me on payment for my car.  I can't say my experience has been stellar with USAA, but for the one year we had them, they were definitely the lower premium.

Perhaps your coverage was not the same as ours?  

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