If you’re new to driving in Spain, you need to read this!

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If you're new to driving in Spain, you need to read this!

A HUGE part of getting settled when you move to Spain is having a car. Whether you bring it over with you from home and get it registered or you buy a Spanish car while you’re out here, you’ll need to get insured. So if you’re new to driving in Spain, this guide should help.

Where can you get Spanish car insurance? What type of coverage is there? How much does it cost? We answer all these questions and more in this brief guide to how car insurance works in Spain with the help of insurance expert Emma from Golden Leaves Insurance.

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Driving in Spain with car insurance from another country

As a general rule, vehicles insured in any European country are covered when driving in Spain. Sometimes, the insurance provider will be able to offer you specific rates for special coverage for driving in another country.

There also exists the so-called Green Card, the ‘Carta Verde’, officially named the International Motor Insurance Certificate, which is a document that certifies the validity of insurance across all European borders. You will be given this slip of green paper when you contract the insurance, and if not, you can request it at any time. It’s not mandatory to have it with you, but it helps.

Driving in Spain with Spanish car insurance

To be able to get car insurance in Spain from a Spanish insurer, whether it’s for your own car or a rental car, there are two basic things you need:


  • Driving licence: All driving licences from EU countries are valid in Spain, as are permits from any other country that are accompanied by an official Spanish translation. However, for those that decide to obtain Spanish residency, they have six months from that point to exchange their driving license for a Spanish one or have their current one officially certified in the Spanish system. You can do this through the government driving agency, the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico), whose website is in Spanish but has some information in English.
  • NIE/residency permit: Non-Spaniards must have either a residency permit or a Foreigner Identification Number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero or NIE number) to insure a car that doesn’t have a Spanish number plate. If your car is not Spanish and you don’t have an NIE or resident’s permit, you won’t be able to insure it with a Spanish insurance company. If your car has a Spanish number plate, you can get insurance without an NIE, just using your passport.

What type of car insurance is available in Spain?

Spanish insurers offer all the same types of car insurance as elsewhere in the world, and the one you choose to contract will depend on your specific needs:

  • Third-party: Known in Spanish as seguro a terceros, this is the basic insurance package which covers damage to other people’s property.
  • Third-party fire: This type of insurance coverage, called Seguro a terceros ampliado in Spanish, insures against certain damages to your car and fires. Depending on the insurer, it may cover theft or not.
  • Fully comprehensive: Todo riesgo coverage is the most complete insurance package, covering all the above and more, such as theft and damage caused to both drivers and the vehicle.

As with any insurance, the exact amount of the premiums you have to pay for the coverage will depend on the type of insurance coverage you want, what car you have and other personal factors.

However you decide to insure your car, whether it’s a Spanish one or one that you’ve imported, the important thing is to be safe and sure when you’re on the road.


Contact Golden Leaves Insurance by clicking here and they will give you a free no-obligation quote and help you with any questions you may have. 

1 COMMENT

  1. So a non-resident can insure a Spanish registered vehicle without an NIE just using their passport, but it’s my understanding that without an NIE you cannot buy a new vehicle in Spain, or register it.

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