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Uninsured Drivers in Spain
I decided to write this story after the recent spate of RTA's, (Road Traffic Accdents), here in Spain which have killed Five Britons (in seperate accdents), in the costa Del Sol area of Spain, also the fact that the other party's were found to have no Insurance. Please read this and take the advice that I have suggested. (The Non insured party's were both English and Spanish)
Trafico estimates quite fairly that there are two million drivers/riders in Spain who do not have the minimum insurance cover, that is, Third Party (riesgo tercero). It is also an accepted fact that in just about all countries where such ‘parasites’ deliberately drive vehicles.
They are worse drivers than legal drivers, so the chances of having one bump into you is not so unusual. So what do you do if this happens? Let us go through what you need to do anyway with the actions if you find that the driver has no insurance cover, which includes driving without a legal driving licence. Obviously, if you are injured the police will automatically be called to the scene, if there are witnesses.
If it happens on a lonely country road and the vehicles are drivable, you may be unlucky as the uninsured driver may just race away. Assuming that the bump has occurred, you get out to exchange particulars noting them down onto the standard insurance form as supplied in English in the back of the book with most insurance policies.
I suggest that you read this form occasionally so you are familiar with it at all times. It is not so easy by torchlight on a rainy night. The other driver maybe upset and perhaps belligerent because he knows he is illegal and may try to bluff his way out of the situation. If it is a scooter or moped, about 25 percent of these are reported to have no insurance.
Remain calm even though he is gabbling away, or so it seems to you as your Spanish is not so hot, but you keep smiling and calm (although through perhaps gritted teeth as all accidents cost money and stress), and take out your vehicle documents ready, as well as your EU type driving licence (DL) which is easy for all to understand now with its symbols. Assuming that the other driver is not drunk or threatening you, starting with the DL, most Spanish drivers will have either the older flexible card type of DL or the newer credit-card as they get changed every ten, five or two years depending on the driver’s age. Both types are illustrated in the book.
You should check that he has a current licence for the vehicle he is driving and the book goes into detail in this respect so you can easily ascertain this especially if the book is in your glove compartment. You check on the DL that the photo is of the other driver, and the date in column 11 on the credit card type and the first column in Section 4 on the flexible card type has not been passed, i.e. the licence has expired. If it is a normal car that has hit you, then it will be lines ‘B’ on both DL types. If a large motorcycle, it will be lines ‘A’. If a 50 cc or a 125 cc, the ‘B’ or car classification allows these to be ridden.
If the date for the vehicle’s classification has passed, then he is automatically uninsured as if he is waiting for a new DL from Trafico, he must send in his original licence to receive the new one. Do not accept this as an excuse.
Phone the police immediately. You do not need to do anymore except try to ensure that he cannot drive off. Next, look at the vehicle documents especially the insurance certificate and ‘permiso de circulacion’. As shown in my book, the layouts are fairly common with all insurance companies as part of the standardisation to make life easier for all, especially the police.
The important notes are that the name and address of the driver are all the same on all documents, although it could be a company car and in that company’s name, which you will note down and in which case he should have a matching business card. Check that the vehicle registration number is the same and the date paid up to is in the future. If he is paying monthly for the insurance, he must have a bank receipt showing that the current month is paid for.
If not, phone for the police. If you are at all confused at this stage it is time to phone for the police anyway which, if on the open roads will be the Guardia Civil so telephone 062, and if in town, the local police (policia local); telephone 092, and the equivalent of 999 is 112 (now the standard number throughout Europe) which will ensure either will be sent as applicable and there is usually an English-speaking person on the 112 number.
If not already done, I suggest that you put all these numbers in your mobile phone. You do not need to call the police unless someone is injured or a crime is being committed, so you can have a sore neck, i.e. you are injured. You then take out your camera, a mobile phone camera is usually not good enough for this unless it is a recent model with at least 2 mega pixels, so I always use and recommend a throwaway film camera that will give excellent quality photos that can be enlarged to show details and it can be kept safely in the glove compartment at all times for two plus years.
At about 6 to 10 euros, it is a very good investment. You then get together with the other driver to complete the accident form, writing down all the details as listed. However, whatever happens, I always recommend that you do not sign the form unless you are very happy with the causes of the accident.
The other driver’s evidence may be in Spanish and if you are not absolutely fluent, trust nobody, even when the police ask you to sign. You do not have to, but if the other driver’s statement is not correct, you may be found guilty on his evidence even when you are not.
Advice is free, learning by experience can be costly.
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