UK registered cars in Uk with Spanish insurance

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12 Jan 2012 12:00 AM by spanishsteve Star rating in Surrey, Eastbourne &.... 81 posts Send private message

The police in London have had a problem with UK registered cars bought by Eastern Europeans which are then insured in their home country being driven in London. Legal advice has been sought and the police have been told that if the insurance company is not a member of the UK Insurance Industry (and every foreign insurance company will not be) and registered as such then the car is NOT insured and can be seized by police and driver reported. 

There are obviously lots of UK registered cars being driven in Spain with Spanish insurance, this is going to cause problems if they pop to the UK.

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12 Jan 2012 10:31 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2253 posts Send private message

bobaol´s avatar

 I'm sorry but I can't quite believe that.  It would mean no tourists would be allowed to visit the UK unless they were insured with a UK company which couldn't possibly happen.  A car from UK going to the Continent, if it has valid insurance in UK, is automatically insured to the minimum standard of insurance in that country, normally 3rd party.  I'm sure there are thousands and thousands of people from France, Germany, Holland etc who go on holiday to UK in their cars that are insured in their own country.  I doubt if this story holds much water to tell the truth.  Have you any link to this incredible story?


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12 Jan 2012 10:34 PM by GuyT Star rating. 511 posts Send private message


Motor Insurance Directive 2009/103/EC

The EU Motor Insurance Directive 2009/103/EC is a fundamental element to the free movement of vehicles in the European Union. The Directive establishes a single market in the field of motor insurance. The Directive obliges all motor vehicles in the EU to be covered by compulsory third party insurance and ensures the abolition of border checks on insurance so that vehicles can be driven as easily between Member States as within one country.

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12 Jan 2012 10:39 PM by spanishsteve Star rating in Surrey, Eastbourne &.... 81 posts Send private message

If you read my thread correctly it states UK registered cars insured in other countries being driven in the UK. Obviously foreign tourists to the UK would have their vehicle registered in their home country and insured in their home country, no problem there.

This info is fact, not incredible as I have seen a briefingnote to police.

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12 Jan 2012 10:57 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2253 posts Send private message

bobaol´s avatar

 What about British servicemen from Germany with UK registration who are using German insurers? Sounds like the floodgates to the European Court would be opened quite quickly.  

As I understand it, there is a EU database of insurers which can be accessed by the police forces to check if cars are insured or not.  I know my neighbour, on a visit in his UK car, was stopped and the Guardia checked his insurance on a hand held gizmo.  

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12 Jan 2012 11:22 PM by spanishsteve Star rating in Surrey, Eastbourne &.... 81 posts Send private message

Boboal, good question I really dont know about servicemen. Re the database one would assume that was the case however in reality i believe individual enquiries have to be made. The UK police have different intelligence databases not one centralised database, so a european standard one would be even harder to create.

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13 Jan 2012 8:26 AM by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

Spanishsteve is quite right. The EU law statescategorically that the vehicle has to be registered in the country of registration. If it's UK registered & insured in spain then the insuring company has to have an affiliation with a uk based provider. There are a few spanish co's that provide this. Uk servicemen in Germany would come under this as well , if they were not using a provider through the Naffi. 

Although you cannot be un-insured & policies here cover all eu countries , to benefit fully from the cover for which you are paying you have to have a  'green card' A4 sheet showing all details. I always go in after renewal & get one printed out FOc.


Todos somos Lorca.

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14 Jan 2012 9:48 AM by midasgold Star rating in Mijas.. 93 posts Send private message

My spanish reg vehicle was seized by the Guardia - I was insured by a Brit company.

My "OPEN " may drive ANY vehicle (trade type policy ) did not have a reg Number quoted

on the policy therefore I had to pay a fine of 1500 e to get it back. In their eyes no quoted reg means no insurance. 

My Spanish lawyer wanted

1000e up front to get this situation sorted and to get my 1500e fine returned.

This to me was a no go option, the 1500e is my contribution to the Spanish economy.

I now want a glass of rioja.     

If lucky, there is another day.

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14 Jan 2012 11:48 AM by kendal Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

 Most of the British registered cars where I live are owned by residents.

They may have some sort of insurance bought here in Spain, but surely it would not be valid in the case of making a claim., because the cars have no MOT or road tax that is current.(the MOT and road tax having to be administered in the country of registration0.

Why are the insurers allowed to sell thier policies without  evidence of the MOT and road tax verification?.

Surely the car would be classed as being illegal if it has been in Spain longer than 6 months anyway!!!.



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14 Jan 2012 12:38 PM by jamesy Star rating in Pilar de la Horadada. 7 posts Send private message

The angloinfo website explains the situation of driving a foreign registered car on other insurance, however insurance is valid if the Spanish company is a UK insurer...

"Insuring an EU Registered Car in Spain

If the car spends over six months of the year in an EU country other than Spain it is necessary to take out a European insurance policy with the home insurer. EU regulations mean that all vehicles must be insured in the country in which they are registered. Therefore if the car is (for example) UK-registered it cannot be insured with a Spanish company. The vehicle can, however, be insured with a British insurer in Spain, by using the Spanish branch of a UK insurance company."

See anglo info "Insuring a Vehicle in Spain: Car Insurance"

Finally putting my feet up!!

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14 Jan 2012 12:45 PM by mobailey Star rating in San Cayetano. 461 posts Send private message

mobailey´s avatar

 Any car brought into Spain must be put on to Spanish plates after 6months if it is not then it is illegal!! To get a Spanish MOT ot ITV the car must have Spanish plates.  Most cars in Spain with English plates that have been here more than 6 months will be illegal they more likely than not do not have an MOT and the tax disc will be out of date and this disc as not meaning in Spain anyway.  So if the Mot is out of date then the insurance will be invalid.

Why do people keep on driving their cars like this in Spain I'm sure they would not do the same in England.

For more info on living in Spain look at the website in our signature block below


Mo&Bryan & Why not see if can we help  

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14 Jan 2012 1:34 PM by manxmonkey Star rating in Channel Islands. 81 posts Send private message

manxmonkey´s avatar

The simple fact is that any insurance contract is just that - a contract - so read it carefully.   If someone is willing to underwrite a policy to cover you just to drive in the Dartmoor National Park between 09:00 and 16:30 then that's all you may do legally. If however you have a policy to drive your new McLaren around the world in 30 days then get on with it. However you may be breaching the contract in many ways, including by not having a relevant MoT or having a faulty seat belt or bald tyres.  Read it. You would almost certainly not be covered if the vehicle was in any way not legal.  So if you import a car to Spain and you live there it becomes a permanent import on the day you import it and it has to be registered in Spain within  6 months or as soon as practicable, which could be argued is the next day!  In the old days the police in Spain were fairly relaxed about it but things have changed and they need to chase revenue wherever possible.  However the point is whatever your insurance says, you are almost certainly un-insured.  And I tell you now insurance companies can easily ask for ferry documents and such to prove how; why and what.  They are masters at avoiding paying out.

Regarding how the police behave towards your car insurance is another kettle of fish.  I have had trouble with a very good insurance contract specifically written for my car which, as previously noted did not include a car registration number. I knew categorically that my car was insured at the time to be in UK; Guernsey and France for 365 days but as I had a French police force intent on screwing me I simply printed a certificate of insurance very much as per the real one but stating the registration number and car description and kept that in the car.  My actual policy covered me 100% (I handled insurance for a private bank at the time so I had no concerns as to the validity) and the CERTIFICATE that I carried with me was perfect for the local gendarmerie. 

So my advice to anyone with a car in Spain or anywhere else is know your insurance policy and don't be stupid.  If you have a British  policy which says, "90 days throughout the rest of the EU"  then you are going to be in deep trouble if you run over a child on a wet road at night on the 91st night.   If you live in Spain, register the car in Spain - excuse me for stain' the bleedin' obvious!

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14 Jan 2012 1:50 PM by mobailey Star rating in San Cayetano. 461 posts Send private message

mobailey´s avatar

 There is a story that in La Guardia the police approach a number of british reg'd cars and told the owners that they had 14 days in which to re reg their cars or risk having taken away and crushed ( the police had been watching the cars for some time and knew thaey had been in Spain for more than 6 months).   After the 14 days the police came around again and found that some of the owners had listened and had rereg'd their cars however 3 had not taken any notice.  The police called in the break down trucks and had the cars remove to the breakers yard and the cars were crushed and the owners had no comeback as the cars were illegal and they had been warned.    SO BE WARNED IF YOU ARE DRIVING A CAR WITH BRITISH PLATES AND HAVE BEEN FOR MORE THAN 6 MONTHS YOU ARE ON BORROWED TIME THE POLICE WILL CATCH UP WITH YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mo&Bryan & Why not see if can we help  

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14 Jan 2012 3:04 PM by bergspyder Star rating. 44 posts Send private message

Perhaps I've misunderstood but isn't it the status of the owner/driver of the vehicle in question that dictates its registration? For example, the Brit serviceman in Germany who drives home every few weeks would get strife from UK fuzz if his car had German plates because he's a UK resident. Yes, there are other limitations  -- like UK insurers on how long they cover "abroad" and (with much less implication) MoT & tax -- but that's nothing to do with registration. I read somewhere in this thread "European law" but Europe isn't a sovereign state so it cannot make law. And how well I remember French cops, in early days, confiscating GPS & fining owners because they thought they were radar detectors (illegal in France, and Spain I believe?). Which in my view goes to show (a) Don't ask a cop to think; he won't/can't (b) the State (all of them) needs money and this is just another & very lucrative tax (c) roll with punches so if your vehicle's crushed, get another. With foreign plates+      

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14 Jan 2012 3:40 PM by Beany196 Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

Going off at a slight tangent, in the case of Brits, always ensure you have adequate British MOT to cover the time you are using your vehicle in Spain (or any wherelse for that matter). No MOT may mean no insurance and Traffico love that!

It is true that British vehicles not showing a current and correct Tax disc are being noticed by Spanish Authorities, and also the movements of vehicles in and out of the country in relation to the 6 month timescale. One day out of the country does not set the clock back to zero. (goods and passenger vehicles are classed as being in transit and/or for hire and reward).

In the last 12 months there have been heavy fines and prison sentences handed out for `dodgy` MOTs which were allegedly issued in Britain without the vehicle being in the country. Possibly some of these being issued to vehicles in Spain? Owners naively assuming that if paperwork could be produced all would be in order. Unfortunately for them, departments and countries sometimes get there act together and exchange information. (Incidentally the British MOT system has recently changed).



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14 Jan 2012 4:11 PM by fiddlegee Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

In response to Mobailey.."To get a Spanish MOT ot ITV the car must have Spanish plates."  "Most cars in Spain with English plates that have been here more than 6 months will be illegal"   Lets deal with the first part of that untrue statement.. You CAN get an ITV with a UK registered car (I know Because i have done it twice) the only stipulation was the headlights had to conform to continental standards so i had L/H drive ones problem. Second part of the statement is his belief that cars in the UK have English plates.. wake up mate.. we have all been part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain since 1707..a lot of history  since then but as far as car registration goes  cars have ALWAYS been registered as British and not English, Scottish etc.. Bet you have an English passport as well? and is your money english as well? yeah its off topic now but things like that get up my nose. Is it any wonder the Scots want to be shot of us Sassenachs (look it up) and go it alone in 2014..

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14 Jan 2012 6:56 PM by bergspyder Star rating. 44 posts Send private message

Maybe I've got it wrong again, sorry, but UK MoT & UK road tax are UK requirements in the UK; outside the UK they are nor legally required. I certainly agree UK underwriters (particularly fully comp) may ask for them in case of claim, so go 3rd party because the underwriter cannot  reject 3rd party claims (whether or not you're in UK, have MoT/tax, are drunk, high, .....) which means your vehicle isn't covered i.e. same thing as friendly Guardia Civil crushing it. So keep it cheap, walk away with a smile and get into the next (cheapo) vehicle to drive home; they won't like it but it's unlikely they'll crush the 2nd vehicle. 

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14 Jan 2012 8:56 PM by fincalosolivos Star rating. 8 posts Send private message

Just to advise all,

you CAN get a UK plated car ITV'd in Spain, it is done on the chassis number, in fact you cannot reregister a car onto Spanish Plates unless you  1) Have an ITV, 2) Pay the import Tax (if applicable) if you obtain a Baja Consula from The British Counsular you may not have to pay 3) The Vehicle has a European Certificate of Conformity (or Technical document from certified engineer) 4) Pay the Spanish Road Tax 5) You go through those hoops then apply for a Spanish Matricula at the traffic office.  

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15 Jan 2012 5:23 PM by Delaluzian Star rating in Portugal. 33 posts Send private message

 There is no need to obtain a green card (correctly called International Certificate of Motor Insurance) if your vehicle is registered and insured in the European Union. European legislation (subsequently adopted as required by the current treaty by all national parliaments) requires all motor insurance in the Union to have territorial limits which cover all of the European Union countries for compulsory third party cover. Read your motor insirance certificate it says exactly that.

Compulsory third party cover insures the policyholder in the event of a claim for PERSONAL INJURY by a third party. Try that one on the average customer services representative in a call centre and they will tell you that you are only insured for thirty days, ninety days or whatever the policy says. Unfortunately, none of them will have had the benefit of an Associateship of the Chartered Insurance Institute which trained people to understand insurance in the bad old days when experience counted.

The motor insurers database can be interogated online and will tell you immediately whether your vehicle has valid UK insurance. The DVLC can also interogate the MOT database automatically and check whether the vehicle has a valid MOT. Given that both checks are positive a valid tax certificate will be sent by post to the address of the registered keeper of the vehicle. That address must be the address at which the vehicle is normally kept.

Curiously, the only real check that you are complying with the law is the MOT since only when it is issued does anyone see the car. In the interests of European Harmonisation (not the same thing as harmony) there is a debate in the UK over making the MOT a two year test.

The coments above are my understanding of current legislation. I make one comment - any suggestion that legislation is designed to make travel between member states easier is naive. Try telling customs that you are travelling between two states and they can't search your car or try telling UK immigration that you shouldn't have your passport checked because you've just come from France. the purpose of the UK government is to control the Queen's subjects - not citizens they might have rights. I suggest that is the purpose of all governments. 


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15 Jan 2012 8:31 PM by bergspyder Star rating. 44 posts Send private message

What a relief. Someone I agree with. Trouble is (as per earlier posting), don' t ask a cop to understand; he isn't paid for that and certainly couldn't.  Just be tolerant of the ignorant. That is what we pay taxes for+

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