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

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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…

A good insurance broker looks for the best solution for you. Just get in contact with us and we will start working to find the car insurance that fits your needs the best.