Ultimate guide to expat insurance in Spain


Updated on May 05 • 6 minute read

There’re many types of expat insurances in Spain, some of which are required by law. And while taking up health insurance might seem obvious, insuring your pet could be something that didn’t cross your mind.

New laws in a foreign language can be tough to navigate, especially when dealing with language barriers. So, if you’re relocating to this sunny country, you should familiarise yourself with all the ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones against unexpected events.

To save you hours of search and Google Translate, let's get to the nitty-gritty of what types of insurance you must and should have as an expat in Spain!

What insurance do you need to live in Spain?

In Spain, you’re legally obliged to take out:

  • health insurance
  • car insurance
  • home insurance (only if you have a mortgage)
  • pet insurance (for dog owners in Madrid or if your dog is included in the potentially dangerous list)

Other popular types of insurance in Spain include:

  • life insurance
  • liability insurance
  • contents insurance
  • travel insurance

You’ll also come across multi-risk insurances. For example, some insurance companies offer multi-risk home insurance that includes building, contents, and liability insurance.

Home insurance Spain

Home insurance (seguro del hogar) in Spain isn’t a requirement unless you have a mortgage. However, it’s still a good idea to have one if you own a property in Spain.

Property insurances in Spain fall into two categories:

Building insurance (seguro de construcción): for property structure

Basic building insurance usually covers damage to walls, floors, ceilings, and bathroom and kitchen units against fire and water damage.

Policies range from limited coverage to all-risk. All-risk often means that the insurer will pay the cost of a full rebuild. Such coverage can also include items such as garden fixtures, heating and air conditioning units, etc.

Contents insurance (seguro de contenido): for furniture and other valuable items

If you’re renting in Spain, you can only insure the contents of your apartment. Such type of insurance is called content insurance.

Content insurance protects all the movable contents of your home (including furniture, jewellery, laptop, etc.) against fire, natural disasters and theft. So if you have any valuable items at home, it's a smart idea to take out the contents insurance.

If you own a house, it’s recommended to get full coverage under a Home and Contents insurance package.

Some of the best property insurances in Spain for expats are provided by:

  • Linea Directa
  • Caser Expat Insurance
  • Luko

Health insurance in Spain for expats

You’re legally obliged to have health insurance when you live in Spain.

The only difference is that if you come from a non-EU country, you must already have private health insurance to get your visa. Once you’ve a job in Spain or become a freelancer, you’ll need to pay social security contributions which will entitle you and your dependent family members to get free public healthcare in Spain__.

If you’re an EU citizen, you can make use of your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for your first 3 months in Spain. But if you’re planning to stay longer you need to apply for Spanish health insurance.

Getting access to the public health system in Spain is pretty easy. Once you register in your town hall, you can apply for the Spanish healthcare card (TSI).

You can also opt for private health insurance in Spain. Some benefits of private health insurance include:

  • availability of English-speaking doctors,
  • shorter waiting times and flexibility,
  • specialist add-ons at a small cost (e.g. dentist or ophthalmologist).

Some of the popular health insurance providers in Spain for expats:

  • Caser Expat Insurance
  • Cigna Global
  • Sanitas
  • AXA

Car insurance in Spain for expats

Spanish law requires all vehicle owners to have a minimum level of car insurance that covers damage to third parties. This includes car, truck, RV, motorbike or scooter owners.

If you come from another European country, you can probably continue using your existing insurance if you have international coverage.

If you come from a non-EU country, you might be able to use your existing insurance for a limited period of 3-6 months. But you should register your car and take out Spanish car insurance before this period ends.

Now let’s take a look at all the 3 levels of car insurance in Spain:

Third-party (seguro a terceros): for old or second-hand cars

It’s the minimum car insurance package required by Spanish law. It covers damage to other people’s property but it doesn’t cover any of your own costs in case of an accident.

Extended third party (seguro a terceros ampliado): for cars older than 3 years, cars parked outdoors

This type of insurance covers third-party claims included under the basic package plus a certain amount of damage to your own vehicle. Depending on your insurer, it can cover fire damage, natural disasters, accidents, theft or vandalism.

We recommend taking the extended party insurance if your car already lost some of its market value. If your car is normally parked outside, the extended coverage is preferred to the basic third party liability insurance.

Fully comprehensive/ all-risk (todo riesgo): for high-end, new and leased vehicles

This is the most complete insurance package. On top of the claims included in the extended third party insurance, the all-risk insurance covers damage to your own vehicle even when you’re the one responsible.

It’s highly advisable to have full coverage for new and leased vehicles. It’s also a good idea to go for all-risk if you own a high-end vehicle, repairing which requires expensive, high-quality materials.

It’s always a good idea to check how much the insurance would cover in 3-5 years from now.

Some of the popular car insurers for expats in Spain:

  • AXA
  • Caser Expat Insurance
  • Eurocenter
  • Linea Directa

Liability insurance in Spain for expats

Similarly to the liability insurance for cars, you can take personal liability insurance in Spain. Personal liability insurance covers damage compensation claims against you in case of injury or damage to someone’s property.

Civil liability or Public liability insurance in Spain is a commercial equivalent of this insurance. So, if you own a business or freelance in Spain, you can choose to protect yourself from claims against your company.

Expat life insurance in Spain

Life insurance in Spain (seguro de vida) financially protects your loved ones when you’re not capable of providing for them. Usually, in the event of death or terminal illness. When that happens, your family will receive a lump sum payout or payments in instalments.

It works just like any other insurance; you can choose the desired coverage and monthly payment amount. The coverages that life insurance can have are:

  • death,
  • permanent and absolute disability,
  • temporary disability,
  • funeral expenses,
  • repatriation.

Some of the popular providers of expat life insurance in Spain are:

  • AXA
  • Liberty Seguros

Pet insurance in Spain

Are you moving to Spain with your furry friend? In most cases, you don’t need to take out pet insurance.

However, if your dog is included in the list of potentially dangerous dogs in Spain (PPP), you must obtain liability insurance with a minimum coverage of €120,000.

The only city in Spain that requires all dog owners to take out basic third-party liability insurance is Madrid. The desired amount of coverage will usually depend on the type of dog you have.

Besides third-party liability, pet insurances in Spain usually include free vaccinations, veterinary consultations and other medical expenses. Some policies might also cover burial or cremation expenses, theft and assistance in finding a lost pet.

Some of the best pet insurance providers in Spain include:

  • Caser Expat Insurance
  • SegurosVeterinarios
  • Protectapet

Travel insurance for expats living in Spain

As soon as you get your Spanish health card (TSI), you can travel to other EU/EEA member countries without taking out travel insurance (seguros de viaje).

However, your public health insurance won’t cover:

  • repatriation,
  • lost items and luggage,
  • cancelled flights,
  • private healthcare.

If you’re insured by a private healthcare provider, your plan might cover a minimal level of travel insurance. But if you regularly travel or do extreme sports, you should certainly consider adding extra coverage.

Travel insurance will be required to get a visa for some of the non-EU/EEA countries. So you should get familiar with:

  • Temporary travel insurance: covers trips up to 120 days, from the date you leave Spain until you return.
  • All-year travel insurance (for frequent travellers): covers all international trips you make from Spain throughout the year.

Commonly requested documents to get an insurance in Spain:

Legal aid in Spain

Some things you can’t foresee. You might get in trouble with a tricky landlord or maybe your visa renewal gets rejected. In a worst-case scenario, you find yourself in a situation where you need legal assistance in Spain. But not everyone can afford that, right?

Luckily, Spain has a law that gives all its residents the right to free legal aid if they can prove they have insufficient financial means to pay for a lawyer.

You can also get free legal help regardless of your financial situation if you've become a victim of gender violence, terrorism and human trafficking.

Please reach out to content@housinganywhere.com if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.

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