Any motor vehicle entering Spanish territory must be insured. However, proof of Spanish insurance is not a mandatory document for cars that already have been registered in another European country (including Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and the drivers of which have obtained a so-called automobile ‘green card’ (or certificado internacional de seguro de autómovil). The civil liability to third parties in relationship to such cars and their owners is automatically insured in Spain.
Nevertheless, different particularities apply to car insurance in Spain for UK cars. The case is that British insurance companies usually issue green cards for a limited period of time only (30 or 45 days, with a maximum of half a year), despite the high cost of such insurance policies. For this reason, should you come from Great Britain, it would be wise to obtain an automobile ‘green card.’ If you plan to spend more than six months per year on the continent, it would be best to obtain the European insurance policy or obtain insurance with a local Spanish company. Please keep in mind that, according to the E.U. regulations, all motor vehicles must be insured in the country of their registration. It would therefore be a good option to insure a UK car in Spain with a branch of a British insurance company located here.
In terms of general information, below you can find important points about expat car insurance in Spain:
- It is estimated that around two million uninsured motor vehicles are operated in Spain. The same country registers the highest number of insurance fraud cases among all European countries. However, driving a car without a mandatory insurance policy (seguro obligatorio) is a serious violation of the law. For this serious offense a driver can be fined up to 3000 euros or even be imprisoned. When driving a car on Spanish territory, it is highly recommended that you always have both originals and photocopies of your insurance documents at hand. In case you have purchased car insurance in Spain from a company that does not issue new documents on an annual basis, it would be a great idea to have at least the original certificate of the most recent insurance payment.
- When purchasing car insurance in Spain, it is crucial to remember that the object insured is always the motor vehicle, not the life and health of the driver and passengers;
- Insurance can be with or without a franchise. Franchise is a part of the insurance premium paid by an insurance buyer (the lower a franchise share in the price, the higher the final insurance cost).
- The market for Spanish car insurance demonstrates a particular gradation based on insurance policy types:
– Compulsory insurance. This case refers to the civil liability of third parties. That is, it takes effect in situations when an insurance holder causes a traffic accident, and his or her actions lead to damages for third parties. Insurance policies of this type cover these damages. This type of expat car insurance in Spain is considered a mandatory minimum and, at the same time, it is the most frequently used type.
– Voluntary insurance. The insurance package within the framework of voluntary car insurance in Spain envisages not only coverage of any damages inflicted on third parties, but also compensation in case of car theft, breakdown, or accident. The cost of this insurance type is considerably higher.
- The price range of expat car insurance in Spain varies greatly and depends not only on the insurance package, but also on the specific insurance company provider. Regarding the car insurance cost in Spain, it is important to mention that there are companies ready to sell insurance at 250 euros, while the price list of others might start at 2000 euros.
When it comes to car insurance for rental cars in Spain, those who rent a motor vehicle do not have to do all the paperwork themselves. As a rule, the paperwork is already included in the rental cost, and rental car agencies tend to offer insurance packages.
Expat car insurance types in Spain
- Third party insurance (is a compulsory insurance, the minimum required by the law, and the same discussed earlier). In this case, one can choose also to cover extra expenses (around €35 per each year). This option is highly recommended; it is worth mentioning that a driver and his or her family are not considered third parties and must be insured on a separate policy.
- Car insurance in Spain that covers technical assistance on the roads (asistencia en viajes), glass damage (rotura de lunas), and legal costs (defensa penal) in case of court proceedings related to a traffic accident.
- Expat car insurance in Spain for third parties, insuring against fire and theft (responsabilidad civil obligatoria, incendio y robo). This type includes the following protections: fire protection, natural hazard consequences protection (e.g., stones falling on a car), protection against theft, glass damage, court proceedings, and sometimes even damages or theft of personal possessions from a car.
- Comprehensive car insurance in Spain covers all the risks included in the packages of the aforementioned insurance types, as well as other possible damages to your car, regardless of the cause. One should keep in mind that some Spanish insurance companies do not sell this type of insurance for cars older than 2-3 years. Moreover, in some cases (for instance, when preparing a sale on a credit contract or a rental agreement) comprehensive insurance is compulsory.
- Driver and passenger’s insurance (seguro de ocupantes). This expat car insurance in Spain is optional and covers the risk of physical injuries to a driver as the result of a traffic accident (for medical expenses) and envisages compensation in case of disability or death (the latter case takes the form of compensations to the relatives of a diseased driver). There are different levels of driver and passenger’s accident insurance. On average, the coverage varies, costing from €3000 to €30,000.
- Special car insurance. This type is purchased to insure expensive car accessories, such as stereo systems.
The required documents for obtaining expat car insurance in Spain
The procedure of car insurance in Spain itself is quite simple. First of all, you choose an insurance company based on the list of services and insurance terms that best suit your needs. Then, the company prepares the insurance contract, a document that must contain the following information:
- Information about the driver: includes passport data and driving experience information.
- Information about the motor vehicle, which includes the car brand and model, the vehicle’s age, place, and date of registration, nature of use, the presence of an alarm, etc.
- Information about the number and nature of traffic accidents the driver and motor vehicle have experienced in the past (if any).
- Insurance details. This information depends on the insurance type selected and its coverage range.
In case you have any questions related to obtaining car insurance in Spain, you can always contact INEEDSpain service center, where the specialists will gladly provide you with a detailed consultation and all the information pertinent to you in this field.