When registering a car the vehicle owner must be able to present proof of insurance. This is done via an electronic insurance confirmation number (eVB Nummer).
There is a period of time between the issuance of the eVB number and when your actual insurance policy comes into effect. In that time you have provisional coverage (vorläufige Deckung) by law. The scope of the provisional coverage is roughly comparable to that of car liability insurance.
Once you have paid your full insurance premium, your insurance policy comes into effect and (if part of your insurance contract) you then have your chosen partially or fully comprehensive coverage.
Please note that you do not have provisional coverage in all cases, namely if you cancel the insurance, if you don’t pay your insurance premium within 14 days of the insurance start, or if your insurance cancels the contract.