A guide to Insurance in Spain

A Guide To Insurance In Spain

Spain, a land of rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, attracts millions of foreigners who choose to work and live in this vibrant country. The allure of Spain lies in its excellent work-life balance, social security benefits, and highly efficient healthcare system that is well-regarded globally.

However, for expats, navigating the Spanish healthcare system and understanding the required insurance coverage can be challenging. Therefore, before joining the ranks of the five million expats already residing in Spain, it’s essential to get familiar with the basics of the country’s international healthcare system.

To begin your journey as an expat in Spain, you must promptly register your new address with the local Padron (town hall) and obtain a registration certificate (Empadronamiento). This certificate is crucial for applying for a health care card. Moreover, if you work, you need to acquire a social security number, which can be obtained through your employer or at the neighborhood social security office if you’re self-employed.

In this guide, we’ll explore the requirements for insurance in Spain and provide valuable insights into the types of insurance you might need to safeguard your lifestyle and protect your family while enjoying the beauty and opportunities this country has to offer.

Essential Steps for Expats to Settle in Spain

If you’ve decided to make Spain your new home, here are some essential steps to help you settle in comfortably:

1. Create a New Address Registrar

As soon as you arrive in Spain, head to the local Padron (town hall) to register your new address. They’ll provide you with a registration certificate (empadronamiento), which is essential for various official procedures, including obtaining health insurance.

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2. Request a Social Security Number

If you’re employed, your company will help you get a social security number. However, if you’re self-employed or haven’t received your number yet, visit the neighborhood social security office (Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social – TGSS) to apply. This number is crucial for signing up for health insurance and other benefits.

By completing these two steps, you’ll lay the groundwork for accessing essential services and benefits in Spain. It’s crucial to sort out these administrative tasks early on to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience as an expat in this beautiful country.

Overview of the Insurance Market in Spain

Spain boasts a robust insurance market, making it one of the top 15 insurance markets globally. In 2018, premiums worth €64.4 million were taken out, representing a 1.5% increase from the previous year.

The three most commonly used insurance products in Spain are car insurance, health insurance, and life insurance. Additionally, many people opt for multi-risk home insurance, which covers the structure, contents, and liabilities of their homes.

The insurance industry in Spain is overseen by the Directorate-General for Insurance and Pension Funds (DGSFP) under the Ministry of Economy and Business. Nearly 98% of Spanish insurance companies are members of the Spanish Association of Insurers (UNESPA).

For expats, it’s essential to explore the various insurance providers available in Spain, and the Expatica company directory is a valuable resource in this regard.

Understanding the landscape of insurance in Spain is crucial to ensure you have the right coverage for your needs. Whether you’re looking to protect your car, health, home, or other assets, exploring the options and regulations in the Spanish insurance market will help you make informed decisions and safeguard your lifestyle in this welcoming country.

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Mandatory Insurance in Spain

When living in Spain, there are two types of insurance that are legally required:

1. Car Insurance

If you own a vehicle in Spain, it is mandatory to have car insurance. The basic type of car insurance in spain required by law is called “seguro a terceros,” which covers damages caused to third parties, including theft and fire incidents. For more comprehensive coverage, you can opt for “seguro a todo riesgo,” which also includes damages to your own car.

To potentially reduce your monthly payments, you can demonstrate a history of no claims or agree to pay a higher excess (franquicia). Some Spanish auto insurance providers include Linea Directa, AXA, and Caser Seguros.

2. Health Insurance

Spain’s government-run healthcare system provides free medical care to its citizens. As a resident, your required social security contributions will cover your access to this state system. However, many expats also choose to purchase private health insurance to gain additional benefits like more options and faster service.

Some well-liked foreign providers of health insurance in spain for expats include Allianz Care, Cigna Global, and Globality Health.

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Having these mandatory insurances in place will not only keep you compliant with the law but also provide essential protection for your health and assets while living in Spain. Make sure to understand the coverage options and choose insurance plans that best suit your needs and circumstances.

Mandatory Insurance in Spain

Optional Insurance in Spain

In addition to the mandatory insurance, there are several optional insurance types available in Spain that can provide additional protection and peace of mind:

1. Dental Insurance

While the government-run healthcare system covers medical care, dental work is not always included. Consider purchasing separate dental insurance or adding it as a supplement to your existing health insurance. Carefully weigh the costs and benefits of dental coverage, as some plans may only offer service discounts. Check if your preferred English-speaking dentist is covered before signing up.

2. Housing Insurance

Though not required by law, building insurance is recommended if you own a home in Spain. Some mortgage lenders might even insist on it. Look for coverage against fire, flood, and other disasters. You can compare prices and find more affordable options than those offered by lenders. For apartment complexes, service fees often cover insurance, but make sure to read the policy specifics.

3. Contents Protection

Contents insurance is not legally mandated in Spain, but it can be vital if you plan to rent out your property or leave it unoccupied for extended periods. This insurance covers movable items inside your home, such as bicycles, laptops, and cell phones. Some insurance companies may charge extra for this coverage.

4. Insurance for Injuries and Unemployment

While the government provides social safety nets for the unemployed, you might consider additional insurance for injuries and unemployment. Look into your eligibility for Spain’s unemployment program and weigh it against the costs of injury and unemployment insurance. These types of coverage can be obtained separately, through pension funds, or via your health insurance company.

5. Life Insurance

Life insurance in spain is not obligatory but can be a wise choice to secure your family’s financial future in case of your passing. It offers a lump sum or ongoing payments to your dependents, helping cover expenses like mortgage payments and burial costs. Compare rates and coverage options to find the best fit for your needs.

6. Pet Insurance

If you have pets in Spain, consider pet insurance, which typically covers medical expenses and may include benefits like theft coverage and assistance in locating lost pets.

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7. Travel Protection

Check if your private health insurance in Spain includes basic travel insurance. If you frequently travel, engage in extreme sports, or stay abroad for extended periods, consider supplementing your coverage. Options include single-trip, multiple-trip, and annual travel insurance, which can cover trips for up to 120 days and provide protection for canceled flights and other issues during your travels.

8. Spanish Commercial Insurance

If you run a business in Spain, ensure you have sufficient business insurance. Options include business liability insurance, premises insurance, contents insurance, and business interruption insurance. Liability insurance protects against accidents, injuries, and property damage, while premises insurance covers property damage due to natural disasters. Contents insurance covers movable devices, and business interruption insurance helps cover operating expenses in case of an unplanned shutdown.

Choosing optional insurance in Spain depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Evaluate the benefits, costs, and risks of each type of insurance to make informed decisions and protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets while enjoying your time in Spain.


As an expat living in Spain, understanding the country’s insurance requirements and options is essential for a smooth and secure experience. Mandatory car insurance and health insurance are crucial for legal compliance and personal well-being. Additionally, consider optional insurances like dental, housing, and contents coverage to protect your assets and ensure peace of mind.

Life insurance in Spain can provide financial security for your loved ones, and travel insurance is vital for frequent travelers. Exploring the insurance market in Spain and selecting suitable policies will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful and welcoming country.

Additional Resources

For further information on insurance in Spain, here are some valuable resources to explore:

  • Read insightful articles on insurance for expats in Spain and learn about the legal requirements and coverage options.
  • Check out the Expatica company directory to find reputable insurance providers catering to expats’ needs.

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By accessing these resources, you can make informed decisions, find the right insurance policies, and ensure your lifestyle and family are protected while enjoying your life in Spain.

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