laws in spain for english residents


What to do if your car is stolen: complete guide

One of the biggest fears that owners of a vehicle have is that it will be stolen. Nowadays it is possible that the car can be taken from anywhere, not only from streets with bad reputation or unknown.

For this reason, at BMI Spain we tell you what to do if your car is stolen.

Check that your car has been stolen

If you want to know what to do if your car is stolen, first check that it is in another street or area and not that it has been stolen.

We often get into the habit of parking our car in the same street or area, and maybe because of some mistake you think it should be there and you actually park it in another street. We recommend that you go around the block before taking the next step. 

Another reason why your car is not where you had it parked, other than theft, is the possibility that it has been taken away by a tow truck because it was parked in a prohibited area.

Normally the operator who has taken the car in the crane leaves a sticker attached to the floor, sign or nearest wall, indicating where your vehicle is located, the license plate and a contact phone number. You can also call the town hall to check the status of your car.

Report the theft

If you don’t know what to do if your car is stolen, you should go to the police to report the theft.

You should go to the nearest police station and file a report of the theft of your car and any other personal belongings you may have inside.

Reporting the theft of your vehicle is very important, since not only will a search request be issued to locate it, but also if a crime or traffic infraction is committed, with the report you will be able to demonstrate that it was not in your possession and thus exempt yourself from any type of responsibility.

The police station must provide the following data: identification document, either DNI, residence card or passport, registration number, brand and model of the vehicle, as well as other characteristics like the color.

Do not worry if at the time of presenting the report you forgot to include some personal object, you always have the possibility to return to the police station and extend your report.

Report the theft of your vehicle to the insurance company

Once you have filed a report at the police station and been given a copy of it, what to do if your car is stolen is to report the theft of your vehicle to the insurance company.

Once you have informed the insurance company of the facts and sent them a copy of the report, it will open an incident for the theft of your vehicle.

If you have comprehensive insurance against third parties, including theft, the insurance company will cover the event, and in case the theft is not included, you can at least suspend the insurance policy.

You will have to wait at least 30 days until the company declares the vehicle as missing, and from then on start with the procedures for the compensation.

Discharge the stolen vehicle at the traffic office

Once you have filed a report and informed the insurance company of the theft of your vehicle, you must go to the corresponding traffic office and have it cancelled.

Normally, once you file a report, the police take care of this procedure, but it is better to make sure and do it personally.

Cancelling your vehicle at the traffic office will prevent you from being sanctioned in the event that some type of infraction is committed with your vehicle.

For this procedure you will be asked for the following documents: the car theft report, the driving license, an identification document and the car’s technical sheet, if it has not been stolen.

In the event that the car appears, you can re-register the vehicle at the traffic office.


Communicate the theft of your vehicle to the City Hall

Another step we must take to know what to do if your vehicle is stolen is to inform the Town Hall that it has been stolen.

This procedure is mainly to avoid paying the car’s circulation tax, since we cannot use it.

How do I manage the compensation for the theft of my vehicle?

If it’s been 30 days since the car disappeared and you have already done all the previous steps, this is the next thing to do if you don’t know what to do if your car is stolen.

In order to do so, you must go to the insurance company’s office, where you will be asked to provide the following documents: the original report of the car’s theft, an identification document (ID card, passport or residence card), the receipt of temporary cancellation of the vehicle from the traffic office, the receipt of payment of the last municipal road tax, a report with the owners who have had the car and the keys.

Once the insurance company has ruled out fraud or theft, has the required documentation, with the type of policy and the age of the vehicle, the experts will make an assessment and establish an indemnity.

Normally, companies indemnify with the market value of the car. In other words, the insurance companies economically compensate with the value that the car has in the moment before the theft and what it would be have for sale.

This value depends on the brand, characteristics and age of the vehicle, but does not take into account mileage or maintenance.

In case you do not agree with the value of the compensation, you can claim it before the defender of the Insured Party (Defensor del Asegurado).

What happens if the stolen car shows up?

In the case that once the insurance company has paid you the compensation of the car and it appears, you have two options, either keep the money of the compensation, or return it and keep your car.

In the second case, the insurance company will appraise the car and will take care of the repair of the damages that have been caused by the theft.


Even though coverage for vehicle theft is not mandatory it is highly recommended as it saves you a lot of hassle.

If you are looking for the best insurance company to insure your car against all risks, at BMI Spain we can help you find the one that best suits your needs. 

For more information, visit our website, or contact us.


How does the direct debit system work in Spain?

If you want to know how the direct debit system works in Spain, we invite you to continue reading this article:

What is the direct debit system?

The direct debit in Spain, also known as SEPA debit, is the order that a bank receives from its client so that they periodically effect the payment or debit a determined amount.

In other words, the direct debit system in Spain avoids the requirement that the customer of a bank have to authorize or intervene in the payment or the charging of a bill, since the bank has been authorized to proceed to do the payment or the charging.

Some of the bills, such as electricity, water and gas, are periodically charged every month and with the direct debit system in Spain it is possible to avoid having to wait to make the payment constantly.

Advantages of direct debit in Spain

It is very easy to set up a direct debit of your bills into a bank account, which you can do with your insurance policy by requesting it from BMI Spain.

The bank branch can provide you with the necessary forms.  In addition, most of the companies also provide a template when subscribing to their service or can set it up for you upon request.

There are many banks in Spain that offer the possibility of direct debiting bills through the Internet and electronic banking. In this way you can manage your payments and also follow up on payments from your home in Spain or abroad.


With direct debit in Spain you ensure that the supply of public services is not interrupted if the deadline for cash payment is not met.

Direct debit does not involve any type of loan or financing, nor does it imply an advance payment by your bank.  The amount of the bill will be debited from your account on the day of payment.

There are many advantages that make the direct debit system in Spain, the most common being the following: being able to make free SEPA transfers within the Euro zone, eliminating commissions on an account,  being able to use credit or debit cards without any cost, return or discounts of a part of the household bills or a part of the amount of the purchases, discounts in gas stations and big brands or gifts for domiciling the salary, among others.

These advantages depend on the Spanish bank with which you set up the direct debit of your bills, so we recommend that you consult the advantages offered in advance.

Can I set up a direct debit in Spain in any bank account?

In this case, the answer is no, since you can only have your bills paid by direct debit into your current accounts or into your salary accounts.

How can I cancel the direct debit of a bill in Spain?

When you pay your bills by direct debit in Spain, the charges made to your account will remain in force until they are canceled out by the account holder.


Can I return a receipt that has been collected by direct debit?

As we have discussed, the possibility of direct debiting allows us to be up to date with payments and not have to worry about having to order the bank to make the payment every month, and most importantly, not to miss any payments.

Sometimes your bank account may be charged for services that you no longer use, or for amounts that do not correspond.

It is important to note that under Spanish law, the bank account holder has 8 weeks (58 days) to return an authorized receipt. In the case of non-authorized receipts that have been charged by the bank, the time limit increases to 13 months from the time the company made the charge.

This is to protect your rights as a consumer in case of disagreement with the amount that has been charged to the bank account.

You can cancel the payment simply by contacting your local bank branch or through their Internet banking services.

The deadline for the return of the amount that has been charged to the account after the request is 10 working days.

Normally the bank turns the amount paid into the invoice when a receipt is returned, but it may happen that it refuses the return and requires the customer to continue the claim by starting a legal or extrajudicial process.

This is how the direct debit system works in Spain.

One of the bills you can also manage through direct debit is the insurance policy, so you do not have to worry every month about forgetting to pay so you do not lose the insurance.

If you are looking for an insurance policy that suits your requirements, at BMI Spain we can help you with the management so that you do not have to worry about anything.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts or questions, we will be happy to help you find the ideal home insurance for you and your family.


How to buy a car in Spain: everything you need to know

Knowing how to buy a car in Spain can be tricky sometimes. Did you know that Spain is the second largest producer of motor vehicles in Europe?  In BMI we understand that bureaucracy is not an easy matter, and it is even more difficult when you are an expat in a foreign country.

In the following post we will explain to you all you need to know about buying a car in Spain: the paperwork, what documents are required for an expat, what you should ask for from the seller and how to make sure that you are choosing the right car insurance.

At BMI Brokers we can help you to find the best car insurance in Spain for expats. If you are considering buying a car in Spain, then keep this in mind. We will find the best car insurance company and do all the hard work for you. If you are interested, check all our services!

Keep reading to find out how to buy a car in Spain!

How can you buy a car in Spain?

There are two different ways to buy a car in Spain: either from a dealership or from a private seller. Both methods are available for everyone, it does not matter whether you are an expat or not.

If you buy a car from a dealership

It will be easier because the dealer will take care of all the paperwork and the contracts. You will also get a guarantee of one year if the car has any failure. However, usually buying a car from a dealership will cost you more than doing it from a private seller.

When buying a car privately

Buying a car from a private seller is usually cheaper and it will be easier for you to find a real bargain. However, you will have to take care of all the bureaucracy and paperwork and you will not get any warranty on the car.


How to buy a car in Spain: paperwork you will need

First of all, there are certain things that they will require from you when buying a car. Normally, for Spanish nationals they would only ask for your driving license. However, if you are an expat there are a couple of things more that they will require you to have everything in order.

Requirements to buy a car for expats

Here are the things you need to make sure you have if you want to buy a car in Spain:

  • Your NIE, in other words, your tax identification number.
  • To have a registered address in Spain, so you will have to provide proof you are recorded with the local town hall by producing a “Certificado de empadronamiento”
  • You will need to own a property or to be renting one for more than one year. This means that you will have to show also a proof of permanency in the form of your house deeds or in rental contract.

Once you have all these documents in order, you will be able to buy a car in Spain.

How to buy a car in Spain: documents you need to ask for

Having all your paperwork in the right place is very important. We know that the bureaucracy concerned when buying a car depends on each country.  Sometimes we might feel a little bit dizzy among all the different documents that are needed. Do not worry, we are here to help you!

Here are the documents you will need to ask the dealer or the private seller for:

  • The Log Book of the car or Permiso de circulación. This document is meant to be like the identification card of your car and it has the important information regarding the number plate, the model, the name of the owner, etc.
  • You will need the transfer of the ownership. This document is proof of the transfer of the car from the last owner to you. For this, it is also very important that the vehicle has passed the ITV, the Spanish test that makes sure your car is still roadworthy.
  • Proof that the road license fee (Impuesto sobre Vehículos) has been paid.

How to choose the right car insurance

Now that you have everything you need, it is time to think about finding the best car insurance in Spain for expats. There are hundreds of insurance companies, searching for the right one can be sometimes feel a little bit complicated.

Types of expat car insurances in Spain

There are two main types of car insurances in Spain. One is third party the other is fully comprehensive. With the latter you can reduce the cost by accepting an increased excess.  Each insurance company will have slightly different cover.

Third Party Cover or Terceros

This is the minimum legal requirement. It is also the cheapest option. It covers any damaged done to a third party car in an accident, including also any personal injury that the accident might have caused to the person.

However, it does not cover the damages caused to you or your car.

Fully Comprehensive Cover or Todo riesgo

These types of car insurances will cover most of the eventualities that might occur to you. It includes the material damage to your car and the injuries to the driver and the people who were in the car during the accident.

Normally, it will also cover the damage caused by fire and theft.


→ Things to consider when buying a car in Spain

  • Some car insurances can cover theft and fire and others might not
  • Km0 cars are cheaper than new ones because they have already been used for test drives
  • In Spain it is the vehicle that is insured, not the person
  • When buying your car privately, you can rely on a “Gestor“, a professional who specialises in red tape who will help you with all the bureaucracy.

Count on BMI to help you find an expat car insurance

Searching for the right insurance is difficult, we know. There are lots of different car insurances out there and we understand that choosing one is difficult. The money you will have to pay, what it will cover, the conditions…

In BMI we want to help you and make it easier for you. Just get in contact with us and we will start working to find the car insurance that fits your needs the best.

Electric scooter insurance

DGT about electric scooters and similar transport


There has been an explosion in the use of electric scooters across our cities in Spain. A good number of places have seen an influx of companies competing to offer electric scooters for rent for the use of locals and tourists. Perhaps attracted at the low running costs and environmental benefits many individual people have also purchased their own electric powered scooter.

It is now possible to obtain Third Party Liability cover at a low cost to protect you and your family using these types of devices. Sometimes it is a simple adjustment to your existing home insurance policy but there are also standalone policies where you do not have a home insurance policy or your home insurance company does not offer this amendment. Feel free to contact us for a quotation.

With the boom in these vehicles, the Direccion general de Trafico (DGT) has issued some clarification as to what the responsibilities are for the users of these types of vehicle whilst we wait for new legislation.

The types of vehicles, that these instructions relate to, are known as VMPs (Vehículos de Movilidad Personal) or Personal Mobility Vehicles. According to the DGT instructions, a VMP is a vehicle with one or more wheels designed for a single person and propelled exclusively by electric motors that can provide the vehicle with a maximum design speed between 6 and 25 km / h

The following types of vehicles are not VMPs:
  • Vehicles without self-balancing system and with saddle.
  • Vehicles designed for competition.
  • Vehicles for people with reduced mobility.
  • Vehicles included in the scope of Regulation (EU) N2 168/2013: scooters with seats, motor cycles, two-wheel mopeds…. Remember that these vehicles require administrative authorisation to drive, circulate and have an insurance policy, in addition to the use of the helmet.

As a general rule, gadgets that do not exceed the speed of 6 km / h are considered toys.

To use a VMP you do not require a licence to circulate. Therefore, users of VMPs do not lose points on their driving licence when it is clear that the type of vehicle he is driving is a VMP.

However, that does not mean users are free from sanctions. They still have a responsibility to other people and themselves.

Behaviours that will incur a sanction

The DGT have set out some clear instructions for people and the authorities to understand the obligations of users of these types of transport.

  1. Users of personal mobility vehicles have to submit to alcohol and drug tests if required by the authorities. If the user fails the test, the sanctions are the same financial amount as if they were driving another vehicle. For example, in the case of being over the drink drive limit then the vehicle user will incur a fine. The amount is from 500€ to 1,000€. If the offence relates to the presence of drugs then the fine is 1,000€. If the driver tests positive for alcohol or drugs, the authorities immobilize the VMP, as is the case with other vehicles.
  2. Users cannot operate the vehicle whislt using a mobile phone or any other communication system manually. The penalty is € 200 (Article 12.2.5B of the RGC).
  3. Use of headphones or headphones connected to receiving devices or audio devices is also prohibited. The fine in these cases is € 200 (Article 12.2.5A of the RGC).
  4. Helmet and other protection elements. In the absence of a regulation in the General Circulation Regulation, the use of these elements is governed by the provisions of the corresponding Municipal Ordinance. In the event that the Ordinance regulates the mandatory use of a helmet, the user could be fined € 200 (art 118.1 of the RGC) and the immobilization of the vehicle in accordance with article 104.1.c) of the consolidated text of the Security Law Vial.
  5. You cannot use this type of transport on pavements or pedestrian areas. Article 121 of the RGC prohibits the movement of any vehicle on pavements (except for skateboards, skates or similar devices that do so exclusively under the self-propulsion of the person). Failure to abide by this can result in a fine of € 200.
  6. VMP and other electrically powered light vehicles are only authorised to transport one person, so that the movement of two people in VMP is punishable with a € 100 fine (Article 9.1.5.E of the RGC).
  7. It will be considered negligent and therefore punishable if you circulate at night without lights or reflective garments or aids. It is also a failure by the user to take the necessary diligence to make sure they are visible by the rest of the road users. In addition, it is a failure to take the necessary precaution to avoid putting oneself in unnecessary danger. The corresponding penalty is € 200 (article 3.1 of the RGC)
  8. Municipal ordinances are those that establish the prohibitions regarding the storage and parking of these vehicles. From the DGT, it is advocated that the pavement be pedestrian, but its regulation is exclusively municipal.
  9. In the case of infractions committed by someone under 18 years of age, the parents, guardians, and legal or de facto custodians will be jointly and severally liable for the infraction committed by the minor.
Commercialised vehicles similar to VMP but in fact they are not

Due to worldwide electronic commerce, it is possible to acquire a vehicle sold as a VMP but which in fact, does not meet the criteria set out in Spain.  The DGT warns of the importance of looking at the technical characteristics of the device, paying special attention to speed, which cannot exceed 25 km / h.

Using a vehicle similar to a VMP but, for example, that exceeds the maximum speed limit of 25 km / h and does not meet the requirements of Regulation (EU) No 168/2013. Such vehicles cannot circulate on the roads in Spain and their users will be denounced with a fine of 500€. The vehicle will be immobilized. This same applies to cases where a VMP has been manipulated to alter the speed or technical characteristics.

If you and your family use electric scooters or similar then get in touch for a free, no obligation quotation to protect you from any third party liabilities.


Our more than 30 years of experience in the industry proclaim us as the best in our field. We offer our clients the professionalism they require in these situations so we can give them an expat electric scooter insurance in Spain that meets their expectations.

Do not doubt anymore and contact us to start working on your home insurance in Spain.

Registered address vehicle Spain

How to change registered address of your vehicle in Spain

How to change registered address of your vehicle in Spain

It is important to keep your address records up to date in respect of your vehicle, especially if you have moved from one town or province to another.

You can change your address details in one of several ways. Traditionally, you had to make an appointment at the Regional traffic Office (Jefatura Provincial de Trafico). This meant taking time off work and perhaps travelling a significant distance with all the correct paperwork.

More recently, it has become much easier to make these administrative changes. Many town halls have an agreement with their regional traffic Office to collect the paperwork from the local population to make the change of address much simpler.

Not all town halls are signed up to the scheme but you can check to see if your town hall is by visiting this website (Town halls with agreement to process paperwork for Trafico).

If your town hall is on the list then you can change the address for your vehicle. You will need to complete a “solicitud de cambio de domiciliacion” and provide originals and copies of various documentation.

The completed form should then be returned to the Town Hall along with the following paperwork:

  • The original permiso de circulación (all pages including the front cover)
  • The original ficha técnica (all pages)
  • The certificate of Empadronamiento (which you can obtain from the Town Hall, of course)
  • Your original NIE document

Remember, you should be paying the taxes for your vehicle in the town where you live so it is important to keep the records up to date. Furthermore, if the authorities need to get in touch with you, then if they have the wrong address you will not receive the communication.

BMI brokers insurance give personal attention answering your questions to find the best insurance that fits your needs.



Driving in Spain- Expats

Road safety and general administrative procedures for vehicles, vehicle use and monitoring comes under the responsibility of various authorities, including local councils and state administration, through the traffic directorate general [Dirección General de Tráfico or DGT]. The autonomous communities are also responsible for matters such as vehicle technical inspection(ITV).

In all cases, to drive a vehicle in Spain you need to obtain the appropriate administrative paperwork (permits and licences) authorising you to drive a particular type of vehicle for a certain length of time.

When that period expires, you will need to renew your documentation.

*Artículo original ””


Legal guide to living with pets in Spain

A big part of feeling comfortable and at ease when you move to a different country is having your pet with you. However, each country has its own laws and restrictions for animals living in buildings, and Spain is no different. So once you’ve transported your pet dog, cat or ferret over the border, what are the rules for having animals in Spain?

Laws for having pets in communal buildings

The majority of the rules relating to what you can and can’t do with pets in apartment buildings in Spain come from the Ley de Propiedad Horizontal, or Horizontal Property Law. This is a Spanish law that ensures the rights of people living in a communal area (such as a block of flats or an urbanización private estate) not to be subject to disturbing, unhealthy, dangerous or illegal activities. This can include discomfort caused by other people’s animals.

First and foremost, you must look to see whether the Statutes of the Residents’ Association (Estatutos de la Comunidad) expressly prohibit keeping animalsanywhere on the property. Most of the time you should be fine and there will be nothing that says you can’t have pets, but sometimes these clauses are included in the community bylaws, and it’s worth checking just to be on the safe side.

Assuming there is no prohibition in the Statutes, you’re free to have pets at home as long as they don’t bother the neighbours. This includes things like making lots of noise; having ticks, fleas and other parasites; emanating bad smells; and being violent or dangerous, even if it’s within the boundaries of your house or apartment. If you keep a dog in the garden of your house and it’s not tied up, you must put up a sign to tell people it’s there: Beware of the dog!

For rented flats in Spain, your lease contract may have a clause that prohibits domestic animals; if you go ahead and bring pets onto the property anyway, the landlord has the right to end the rental contract and evict you. If you wish to have pets in a rented apartment, your best bet is to negotiate a change in the contract with the owner.

In terms of shared, public spaces, the law states that you will be responsible for cleaning up if your cat or dog does their business in the corridors, staircases, elevators or anywhere else in the building. Although it’s not necessary by law, it’s also a good idea to keep dogs on leads and other animals under strict control when in public areas, just as a matter of good manners. Likewise, when using the lift in your building, it’s the neighbourly thing to do to let others go first if they have allergies or phobias towards your animal. In short, acting with understanding and respect towards your neighbours will ensure a harmonious cohabitation and help to make sure that no one takes exception to your pets.

Other things you should know about having pets in Spain

As well as the aforementioned rules for having pets in a Spanish home, there are other legal obligations you have as an owner. These include the requirement to provide suitable accommodation for your pet, which means you cannot keep them on a terrace, patio or balcony on a permanent basis. You have the responsibility to keep your animals out of harm’s way and in a good physical and mental state.

You are also required to make sure your pet is free of diseases and vaccinated against rabies every year. This is obligatory, for example, in all dogs over 3 months old. Your animal must also be registered in the Pet’s Register (Registro de Animales de Compañía) with details of your home address, telephone number and their vaccination status. You will even have an animal health card that gives them their own animal identification number. Potentially dangerous animals must also be entered onto a separate register, the Registro de Animales Potencialmente Peligrosos. If you fail to show any of this documentation when asked by a legal authority, you’ll have 10 days to get it together otherwise you may be subject to legal action.

At the end of the day, the rules for having pets in Spain are fairly self-evident and common-sense laws. As long as your pet is well behaved and you respect your neighbours and Spanish law, there’s nothing to stop you from living happily with your furry, little friend in Spain.

Foreign drivers: collection of fines for traffic offences (Spain)

It is important to consider that in Spain a plan is being put in place to track down drivers who are fined in Spain and live in another countries.

But traffic authorities admit payment will be ‘voluntary’ as there is no legal framework for pursuing fines in other countries.  This could happen either because it has been impossible to locate the drivers abroad, or because the authorities never bothered with a fine because the cars had foreign number plates.

Read more


What is the Padrón

The Padrón is short for Empadronamiento and is the certificare you apply for as proof of your existence in a municipality here in Spain.

It more or less equates to the electoral register in the UK and is just a census; it does not imply that you will be taxed as a result of registering or that Big Brother is watching you! It is merely a record of each individual who is living within each area.

Its accuracy is questionable though because it is up to the individual to de-register so there are some still on it who do not reside in that area any more and Town Halls will ask for updates every couple of years. The paper itself is valid for 3 months so if asked to present it for say, registering your car, you will need a valid one but just ask your Town Hall for an updated copy otherwise it is valid for life because each individual is responsible for informing the local Town Hall of any changes to their personal circumstances. Most Town Halls do not charge for it though some might charge a nominal fee.

The local councils receive funding from central government for every individual who is registered on the Padrón so it is understandably important to them.

What is this funding for?

The funds are used to improve our general surroundings, to fund our emergency services, our policing, our health centres and hospitals, our schools, our parks and gardens, our roads and all the other services that a local council provides. Obviously if your area is well provided for and maintained your property value will increase so it’s a win-win situation!

So, what benefits do you get by registering?

Firstly, there are many services you can only apply for once you have your Padrón – registering with a doctor, registering your child in school, registering a car in your name, getting married, applying for your residencia etc but also certain income-related benefits as well – disability passes, benefits, classes and excursions offered by your Town Hall as well as reduced annual IBI and basura charges in many areas.

Who should register on the Padron?

If you spend more than 6 months (183 days) of any one year in Spain you are obliged by law to register on the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes. This is not a continuous 183 days; they can be split over a couple of months in the winter and the rest in summer.

How do you register on the Padrón?

It is a very simple process. Pop along to your local Town Hall (Foreigners Department if there is one) with a completed application form, your NIE or passport plus photocopy and either your escritura (property deeds) and receipt for IBI or rental contract. If you rent you will need a copy of the rental contract and some Town Talls also ask for authorisation from your landlord but others will suffice with the fact that the owner is already on the Padrón. Some Town Halls will ask for a bill for electricity or water etc in your name to that address as proof of you living there. Each Town Hall has different requirements so it is best to ask in advance but I have tried to give a general overview of what the Padrón is, who should register and what the benefits are to us all.

I hope this helps.

Anne Hernández

25 / 09 / 2017

Original Article from Brexpats