Driving Your Car in Spain
Introduction – anyone that has worked in a motor insurance brokerage will advise you that up until quite recently it was necessary for green cards for foreign motor travel and in addition for a trip to Spain, an additional requirement for a document known as a Spanish Bail Bond. The Spanish Bail Bond provided a surety against either detention of the vehicle being impounded. Although most insurers will no longer issue this style of documentation (as you do not have to produce them) you do need to check up on the extent of your cover. Some United Kingdom motor insurers now issue pan European wordings and you may find that you have the minimum amount of cover without taking out any extra insurance. However the minimum cover is not a good way to proceed as minimum cover is only to the level of the requirement of the appropriate Road Traffic act or similar in your destination country.
Things to Remember – always check with your insurance broker if your UK policy needs to be extended before your travel to Spain. Citizens of the EU are entitled to take their vehicles to another member state without any addition requirements providing that the car is used for no more than 6 months by the owner or any other user. So if you own a Holiday Home in Spain and you are just visiting for a few weeks at a time, you may find that you fall within these limits and providing you have checked the scope of cover with your Motor Insurance provider that all should be in order. However, remember that if you are going to drive in Spain, you will be expected by the Spanish authorities to have the following documents WITH YOU. If you are subject to a police check, you may receive an on the spot fine:-
A valid passport until the date of your return to the United Kingdom
2 approved red warning triangles.
Approved reflective jackets or coats, that must be worn outside of the vehicle at any time day or night, if you stop by the side of a highway ( rules does not apply to urban lit areas)
A set of spare car lamps/bulbs for the car and the appropriate tolls to change them
If you have to wear glasses for driving, you must carry a spare pair in your car
An EU number plate stating the country of origin or a sticker
All the vehicle documents(certified copies are allowed)
New Residents – if you are resident in Spain for a period of in excess of 6 months, then you are deemed to be resident and must make arrangements to have your vehicle registered in Spain. Although in the past the Spanish authorities have been quite lenient towards foreign registered cars, they are now stopping more and more residents and requesting proof that you are not in breech of the 6 months rule. Having some proof to back you up is a good idea. If you are emigrating to Spain, you will have to adopt the import process, your vehicle documents will have to be returned to the DVLA in Swansea and form V561- Certificate of Permanent Export obtained.. When in Spain, you will need to obtain the Spanish equivalent of our MOT. This is called ITV. The Intervals for technical inspection is an annual or semi annual inspection for all on road vehicles in Spain. These centers are easy to locate, and at the same time as your test, you will need to have your headlights adjusted to meet Spanish regulations.
EU Law – European Union regulation (1995) state that your vehicle should be insured in the country in which it is registered. If you re register your car in Spain, you will need to take out Spanish Insurance, this is very easy and most of the major companies are represented. You should find the premiums quite a bit cheaper although the cover may not be as wide and the excess ( the first portion of the loss that you will have to pay) may be quite a bit higher. If you are unlucky enough to have a motoring accident within Spain, you should obtain the name address and telephone number of the Third Party, it’s a good idea to write down the car make model and registration number and some people even carry a cheap disposable camera in the car to take pictures of any incident. Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible.
Driving Tips – Tips on car driving in Spain:-
The use of mobile phones whilst driving is banned in Spain. You may use a completely hands free kit but not a headset.
A Green UK driving licence is not acceptable in Spain unless you are on holiday but you should obtain a translation. The Spanish Embassy in London may be able to help you with this.
A pink EU licence is valid but if you take up residency in Spain, you will be required to register with the Provincial Traffic Headquarters who will advise on transferring your licence.
Expect on the spot fines in Spain for motoring offenses, so make sure you have cash or a credit card.
The use of your full head lights is banned in build up areas, you must use sidelights or dipped headlights depending on how well the road is lit.
The following speed limits apply in Spain, standard legal limits may may be changed by signs, these speeds are for private vehicles without trailers In built-up areas 31mph (50kph), outside built-up areas 55mph (90kph) on a second-category roads 62mph (100kph) on first-category roads and on motorways 74mph (120kph) Minimum speed on motorways 37mph (60kph). Beware – on the spot fines are imposed.
Spanish Holiday Home Insurance from Assetsure