Spanish Insurance Explained

If you move to Spain, either in the long term or the short term, then it is essential that you secure adequate insurance to protect both yourself and your family in the event of a home emergency, accident, or unexpected health problem. There are many different types of insurance available in Spain. Some of these are considered to be mandatory whilst some are considered to be optional extras. As an expat, this might seem confusing, so here is a simple breakdown of Spanish insurances explained.


Mandatory Insurances in Spain

Car Insurance – if you own or drive a car whilst you are in Spain then it is a legal requirement that both you and your car are protected by car insurance. Just as in the UK, there are a variety of levels of coverage available. The legal minimum requirement is third party, fire and theft coverage (in Spanish this is called seguro a terceros). Alternatively, you can opt for seguro a todo riesgo, or comprehensive insurance, which will cover all of the above whilst also offering you financial protection in the event of damage to your car or damage to another car that is your fault.  No claims bonuses are available if you have gone several years without making a claim, which will lower the costs of your monthly premiums further.

It’s important to note that most vehicles in Spain will require you to have insurance to operate them, including boats, RVs and campervans, and motorbikes or scooters. You will also need a Spanish driver’s license if you decide to drive in Spain.

Social Security – Like many European countries, Spain operates a social security system. This means that all residents in the country that are earning at least minimum wage (whether they are employed or self employed) are required to contributed social security payments from their earnings on a monthly basis. This should be seen as a form or insurance, as it will offer you access to the Spanish healthcare system as well as protection in the event of work related sickness or injury, disability, parental leave, unemployment benefits and access to a state pension.

Health Insurance – As part of your social security payments, you will receive access to Spain’s state-run healthcare system. If you qualify to access the state system as a resident then paying for this, through your social security payments, is mandatory. The Spanish healthcare system is considered to be one of the best in the world and your national health insurance providing access to state run hospitals and state run healthcare centres. Most public healthcare is free, but you may be required to pay a proportion of your prescription charges, and certain specialist medical procedures may also carry a charge.

Optional Insurances in Spain

Private Health Insurance – Whilst there is a free healthcare system in place in Spain (provided you pay into the Social Security system) many Spanish citizens and residents choose to pay for additional healthcare coverage. The benefits of this are shorter waiting times, a wider choice of hospital and clinic availability, and the option to choose an English-speaking doctor. For this reason, private insurance is popular amongst the ex pat community, whilst around 19% of the Spanish population have some form of private healthcare coverage. You can expect to pay between 5-200 euros for your private health insurance, and can source it from one of the following providers:

Private Dental Insurance – Dental care is not covered as part of the state-run healthcare system in Spain. If you need to visit a dentist then you will be expected to pay for the cost of your treatment yourself. Whilst dental treatment is more affordable in Spain than in other European countries, this can still be pricey and some people choose to pay for dental insurance instead. This offers some treatments (such as cleaning and check ups) for free, and some treatments at a discounted cost. It is up to you to decide how often you’ll use to policy and whether it will be good value for you and your family. The cheapest dental insurance packages start from between 10-20 euros in price, whilst more comprehensive policies are more expensive.

Home Insurance – Whilst buildings and content insurances are not mandatory in Spain, they are both stongly recommended if you choose to buy property in the country. Your mortgage provider may insist that you secure building insurance as a condition of providing you with your mortgage, but remember that you don’t have to use their provider if you can find a similar level of coverage for a cheaper price. By contrast there is no requirement at all (either from the state or from the bank) to secure contents insurance in Spain. As a result, round eight million Spanish homes don’t have contents insurance and those that do are underinsured. However insurance can be a very useful tool if you are letting your property and want to protect the contents inside, so this is certainly something worth considering.

Life Insurance - Unlike contents insurance, which is not well-received, life insurance is very popular in Spain. It is not compulsory but it provides for your dependent family relatives (e.g. spouse and children) in the event of your death, either as a lump sum or regular payments. Life insurance can cover things such as mortgage payments after your death and one-off costs such as funeral costs. It is sensible that anyone living in Spain secure a life insurance policy.

Pet Insurance – If you take your pet to Spain then you should know that insurance for domestic animals typically covers their medical expenses, including their regular check ups as well as any vaccinations and emergency treatment. In addition to this, it may also cover burial or cremation expenses, travel and theft, but it is likely that you will pay an additional premium for these services.

Travel Insurance – As with any other country, if you will be regularly travelling overseas whilst you are living in Spain then it is recommended that you secure travel insurance. If you regularly undertake extreme sports (including skiing or cycling) or visit for extended periods, you might consider topping up with specialized travel insurance too. These policies are rarely expensive but they will protect you from health problems overseas as well as lost luggage, cancelled flights, and other common travel problems