The DGT have, and have for some time, had at their disposal the means to check that a vehicle has the necessary - and obligatory - minimum Third-Party Insurance to drive on a public highway. They can check this telematically from the roadside either after an accident or during a routine check. Their findings have shown that, in recent years, nearly 2 million vehicles are uninsured throughout Spain and their objective now is to stamp out this practice by means of fines, sanctions, or the disposal of uninsured vehicles - not so different to the system now in force in the UK. As a result, people who drive, or leave their vehicles parked, uninsured are not only breaking the law but can face fines ranging from €600 to €3,000 plus the possible seizure of their vehicle. These cases are particularly prominent with foreign (i.e. non-Spanish) registered vehicles.
We must remember that driving an uninsured vehicle is potentially putting lives at risk, not only of the driver and its passengers but also other vehicle drivers and pedestrians. Statistics show that the DGT have imposed around 50,000 sanctions for this type of offence and, in the case of tourists, the fines have been €1,500; and, for buses and trucks €2,800, which are very substantial amounts, especially when compared with the actual cost of insurance in the first place.
At present the DGT are monitoring the Insurance register of vehicles and checking cars at various places, and their findings show that approximately 10% of vehicles registered since 1996 are currently uninsured but not in 'Baja' (registered as 'Off the Road').
Drivers who have not insured their vehicles are forcing other drivers to pay higher premiums with seemingly total disregard of the potential consequences of their actions. Each Insurance policy premium includes a proportion for the Insurance Compensation Consorsio (CCS), whose job it is to cover the costs of uninsured vehicles or drivers' damages who they in turn reclaim from the uninsured drivers. People who are involved in an accident with uninsured drivers are often caused a great deal of hardship, distress, delay, and monetary inconvenience.
Owners who do not hold the obligatory insurance face fines ranging between €601 and €3.005 plus the seizure of their vehicle. The amount will be dependent on the type of vehicle and circumstances involved.
The DGT receives thousands of complaints regarding uninsured drivers. As an example, to ride a moped without insurance can incur a fine of around €1,000. In the case of motorcycles, it is €1,250, cars are €1,500, and trucks and buses are €2,800. All significant fines which will be assessed by Trafico, then passed through the system with official notification and ending in bank, property or vehicle embargos, if not paid.
We must remember that it is the individual owner's responsibility to ensure that his/her vehicle has at least the minimum third-party insurance cover, (as required by Spanish Law). You must therefore ensure that you carry your current Insurance documents in the vehicle at all times, along with proof of payment.
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