When do I need a Permit for Filming in Germany?

Usually in public spaces, you'll not need a permit to film if your gear is handheld, however the laws can vary from state to state. Germany has 16 states, figure out where your location is and look for the respective rules.

If a filming permit is required, you'll at least need an insurance, if you're filming near a street, no matter if you are going to use a car, you will likely need a car and traffic related accident insurance, simply because you could be involved in an accident that involves a vehicle or in general "traffic".

Finding the correct public institution for getting a film permit can be tricky, but calling the local, (not emergency 110 or 122) number of the police will probably help you out, since they're responsible for traffic related incidents.

Example for Filming Permits in Berlin

In the city state of Berlin you'll need a permit to shoot in public, especially if you'll have any sort of non-handheld object involved in a public space.

For filming in public spaces you need a permit if you have multiple actors, if you need to place an item like a light or you need to block off a road.

Freely translated from:

Für Dreharbeiten auf öffentlichen Straßen muss in Berlin eine Allgemeine Dreherlaubnis eingeholt werden, wenn bei den Aufnahmen mehrere Darsteller mitwirken, Gegenstände auf öffentlichem Straßenland aufgestellt werden bzw. Verkehrszeichen oder -einrichtungen erforderlich werden. Sie ist die Voraussetzung für alle weiteren Drehgenehmigungen.

List of Photo and Filming Permits per State in Germany

The below list unfortunately mostly is in German, but you should, given you translate the pages, find the right forms to send to the respective cities or the correct office. Do not expect German officials to speak English in general, get a German fixer. Note that the below forms often have additional forms if you have minors / children on set.

Source: bbfc