Spain Explained

Expat car insurance in Spain: Everything you need to know

Last updated on March 31st, 2020 at 10:26 am.

If you’re relocating to Spain, it’s likely you’ll want to take your car with you if you currently live in Europe. Considering measures put in place in the European Union and the EEC, many people may assume that they don’t need to buy Spanish car insurance. To a certain extent, this is true, as expat car insurance from your home nation will include third party cover. However, there is a limit to the amount of time you can drive your car in Spain without notifying the Spanish authorities

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From here, the law requires that you purchase Spanish car insurance. In Spain, every car and trailer that enters and remains the country must be insured. You can face fines of up to €3,000 or even imprisonment if you drive without insurance. In this article, we explain how to insure your car in Spain, the associated costs and how it’s calculated.

How do I insure my car in Spain?

If you have taken out an insurance policy in the UK or another EU country, you will have third-party insurance in the EU, EEC and Switzerland for a limited period. Most insurers will offer up to 90 days of inclusive cover in a foreign country. In the UK, some insurers will offer cover for up to six months of the year. However, after this point, you have to register your car with the Spanish authorities. Furthermore, if you intend to apply for residency, you should register your car with the local traffic department within 30 days of arrival.

It is important to note that you cannot insure a foreign-registered car with a Spanish insurance company. In order to obtain legitimate Spanish insurance, you must first register the vehicle with the authorities. Remember, EU rules require all vehicles to be insured in the country in which they’re registered. From here, the process of purchasing car insurance is very similar to the rest of the EU, with options including:

  • Third-party (seguro obligatorio – which is the minimum required by law).
  • Third-party, fire & theft or part comprehensive (responsabilidad civil obligatoria, incendio y robo).
  • Comprehensive (todo riesgo).
  • Roadside assistance (asistencia en viajes).

How much does expat car insurance cost?

The good news is that insurance premiums in Spain are amongst the lowest in the EU. Therefore, you may even save some money compared to expat car insurance. However, costs will vary depending on the provider, the type of cover you choose and your vehicle. In Spain, cars fall into eight categories based on their age, repair costs and engine size. Some companies will also take into account how much the car is driven per year, whether the car is used for business or leisure, and if it’s kept in a garage overnight. 

Furthermore, as you might expect, the record of the driver will be taken into account. Drivers under 25 or with less than three years’ experience are likely to have higher premiums. Equally, if you have any drink or dangerous driving convictions your premium will be higher. However, there is one variable that might surprise you; if you live in a rural area, your insurance is likely to be cheaper. By contrast, premiums in areas like Madrid tend to be higher.

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Make sure you’re covered

Certainly, the EU has introduced many useful regulations that allow drivers to cross borders with expat car insurance. However, if you are moving to Spain, it essential to make sure you take out Spanish insurance on your foreign vehicle. Although it might seem like an intimidating bureaucratic landscape to navigate, there are in fact many similarities between Spain and other European nations. Once you’re covered, you can be confident you fully comply with Spanish law and are covered in case of an accident.

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T J Birtwistle

3 June, 2020 10:16 am

I have a Spanish registered Opal Zafira in Spain at a friends villa in Rojales, the car broke down in January and has now been repaired, a neighbour collected the car and has locked it and left it behind locked gates at the villa. Despite two attempts to reach Spain over past two months to check on the car (i.e.due to cancelled flights), I have not been able to renewed the car insurance, personally, and I will not be returning to Spain for some time to come, no one will be using it until I eventually get there. Does this car in Spanish Law require to have compulsory insurance although it wont be driven on public roads for a while?

Oscar Paoli

3 June, 2020 11:54 am

Thank you for your message.

All cars in Spain must have, as a minimum, a Civil Liability coverage or insurance by law even if the car is not in use. So we would recommend you get this compulsory insurance. Also important that if you have no insurance and the car gets stolen you will not have any coverage for this issue.

Hope this answer is helpful.

With kind regards,

Ábaco Advisers


30 July, 2020 2:27 pm

I have a German registered car. If I change to Spanish plates will it be insured on the Nürburgring as UK insurers specifically don’t. I use the car there regularly so need cover

Oscar Paoli

30 July, 2020 11:34 pm

Hi Neil,
Unfortunately I believe you will have to check with different companies as they might vary, sorry for not being able to give you a better and clear answer. But as Nürburgring is a racing track there could be some exemptions from the insurance companies.
With best of luck.
Kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Jay - Ireland

7 September, 2020 11:49 am

I am looking to travel to Spain but do not have more than 30 days of European insurance and may be there for longer than 6 months. What are the costs and processes involved. I drive a three litre jeep and it may be cheaper to buy a second hand car rather than having to pay a 1500 euro import charge. I just want to get Spanish plates so I can get Spanish insurance. The car will be returning to Spain next year.

Oscar Paoli

8 September, 2020 8:39 am

Hi Jay,

Unfortunately we do not deal with these matters, sorry for any inconvenience caused. Nevertheless should you wish to get any further assistance in the matter please contact our partners Orke Servicios (located in Los Montesinos) who do specialize in this matter. Please find their contact details below:

Let them now you have been recommended by Ábaco Advisers.

With kind regards,

Ábaco Advisers


15 July, 2021 2:07 pm

Can Spanish car insurance check your driving record from UK insurers to validate your claims of no claims bonus and will be about accidents or not

Oscar Paoli

25 July, 2021 10:02 pm

Hi Jon,
No unfortunately they can not.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers