a girl sitting on a car buying a Car Insurance in Spain

Choosing car insurance in Spain can be complex with so many choices. It is a legal requirement to insure all vehicles in Spain to at least a third-party liability level. And the penalty for anyone caught driving without insurance can be up to €3,000. Remember, car insurance is applied to the vehicle, not the driver, so you need a policy for each vehicle. So, if you do choose to buy a car in Spain, you’ll need to insure it. Read on to learn more about car insurance in Spain to choose the perfect cover.

Types of Spanish Car Insurance

Mandatory 3rd party Car Insurance (seguro a terceros)

Third-party car insurance covers all damage and costs incurred by third parties. This includes vehicle damage, personal injury, and legal expenses. But typically, it won’t cover any damage to you or your vehicle.

You can, however, pay for add-ons to include extras such as roadside assistance.

Third-party insurance is generally a good option if you have an inexpensive car, so it is not too risky. If the repairs are too costly, replacing the vehicle with something similar will not cost you much.

Third-party fire and theft (responsabilidad civil obligatoria, incendio y robo)

Add write-offs from fire and theft to your third-party coverage. This does not include any damage to your car in a collision or accident.

Comprehensive Car Insurance (seguro a todo riesgo)

With comprehensive insurance, even if the accident was your fault, you are covered for all costs incurred by both yourself and third parties.

Premiums will be higher than third-party insurance, but you can drive with peace of mind. If your car is a newer model or expensive, it is generally worth taking out full cover.

Remember, if you cause an accident by driving illegally, your insurance will not cover you. For example, if you were over the legal alcohol limit or speeding, you would not get paid out.

What is an insurance excess?

A car insurance excess is the amount you must pay if you make a claim. The lower the excess, the higher the premium you will pay. This gap may be €300 or €500, for example.

You may want to avoid filing an insurance claim for small claims. It can affect your future premiums, and is it worth the hassle? Your view of this amount should be your excess.

Is an excess of a few hundred euros reasonable? If it is as high as €1000, you may feel it is an uncomfortably large sum to fund yourself. 

The trade-off of lower premiums for a higher excess depends on your risk profile. The decision is yours when choosing your car insurance in Spain.

Car insurance in Spain for Non-Residents

Are you moving to Spain from another EU country? You can continue using your existing car insurance policy but ensure you have international coverage.

Citizens from non-EU countries, including the UK, can use their insurance from their home country for a limited period (3-6 months). However, if you are moving to Spain, you must register your car and purchase Spanish car insurance when the grace period expires.

Spanish Car Insurance Comparison

It is worth getting quotes from several insurance companies as car insurance prices in Spain vary widely. The good news is that it has got cheaper since 2006.

As a rough guide, budget around €350-€550 for comprehensive insurance coverage for a year. But of course, this will depend on all the usual risk factors, such as vehicle value, driver profile, and age. In Spain, where you live is also relevant, with higher premiums imposed in larger cities.

Hire Car Excess Insurance in Spain

Many rental car drivers in Spain have a horror story about paying an excess at the end of their hire. If your rental car is damaged, you may have an excess you need to pay before the insurance kicks in. This can be the case even if the damage is not your fault.

What is an excess? An excess is a pre-agreed amount you must pay your insurer in case of a claim. Generally, the higher the excess, the cheaper the insurance premium.

The excess could be anything from €500 to several thousand, depending on the company and the type of vehicle you hire. The hire car company will usually offer you two options when you collect the car.

  1. They can block a large sum on your credit card (often around €1000) and charge the card for any damages on return.
  2. They offer you excess insurance. The costs vary widely but are generally very expensive. And many car rental companies (especially GoldCar) use scare tactics and hard selling to get you to take the most expensive cover.

If you use hire cars more than a couple of times in a year, then an annual policy can save money. Most policies include cover for excesses of up to €10,000 or so. They may also cover you for ‘extras’ the rental company charges, such as damage to tires, undercarriage, and windscreen. We use iCarHire when we are renting cars.

Be aware that the car rental company will still block an amount on your credit card if you have excess insurance. And you’ll have to cover the initial damage payment in case of an accident. They will charge your card, and you will then claim back from your insurance after the trip.

Only taking the excess insurance at the desk will stop the car rental company from blocking an amount on your card. However, car hire company excess insurance is usually much more expensive than buying from a specialist company before your trip.

Choosing Car Insurance in Spain – A Guide For Expats

Compare the small print! What exactly is covered, and what isn’t?

  • Compare the excess amount on the policies.
  • Are tires, undercarriage, and windscreen covered?
  • Does it include a no-claims protection policy?
  • Is roadside assistance included, or how much extra would it cost?
  • Does the policy include any personal accident coverage to pay for medical expenses?

Check out our guide to Insurance in Spain for other recommendations.

Applying for Car Insurance in Spain

If language is a barrier, selecting a company that allows you to complete the application online is probably best. This choice will simplify the process for you a great deal.

  • You will need a driver’s license that is valid in Spain. So, you can use your license until you are required to swap or obtain a Spanish driving license or a license that can be used in Spain (such as an EU license). Since BREXIT, a UK driving license will no longer suffice.
  • You will need your Spanish residence card (NIE or TIE)
  • You will require proof of your Spanish address.
  • You will need your Spanish bank account details.

Thanks for reading our guide to Car Insurance in Spain. You now have everything you need to select the perfect car insurance policy.

FAQ – Spanish Car Insurance Guide

Do I need car insurance in Spain?

Yes, it is a legal requirement to have car insurance in Spain. The minimum level of insurance required by law is third-party liability insurance, which covers damage or injury to third parties in the event of an accident.

Can I use my UK car insurance in Spain?

No, your UK car insurance is not valid in Spain. You will need to purchase car insurance from a Spanish provider that meets the legal requirements.

What types of car insurance are available in Spain?

Three main types of car insurance are available in Spain: third-party liability insurance, third-party fire and theft insurance, and fully comprehensive insurance. Third-party liability insurance is the minimum legal requirement, while fully comprehensive insurance provides the most extensive cover.

How much does car insurance cost in Spain?

The cost of car insurance in Spain can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of insurance you choose, your age and driving experience, and the make and model of your car. Generally speaking, third-party liability insurance is the cheapest option, while fully comprehensive insurance is the most expensive.

Can I insure my car in Spain if I have a foreign driving license?

Yes, you can insure your car in Spain if you have a foreign driving license. However, you may need to provide additional documentation to the insurance provider, such as a translation of your license.

How do I choose a car insurance provider in Spain?

When choosing a car insurance provider in Spain, it’s important to do your research and compare different providers and policies. Look for a provider that offers the level of cover you need at a price that fits your budget, and check online reviews to see what other customers have to say about their experiences.


  1. I keep hearing that you need a Spanish drivers license to get car insurance in Spain. We’re planning on buying a vehicle in Spain and would rather not have to wait until we can get our Spanish driver’s license to do so.

    1. Hi Mely. I confirmed this with our insurance broker, and you need a valid driver’s license. Foreign driver’s licenses are valid when you arrive in Spain; this means you can buy car insurance when you arrive. We’ll update this article with our partner details next week to make getting car insurance quotes easy for Expats. All the best, Alastair

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