Insurance laws in Spain

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Insurance laws in Spain


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Old 29th November 2012, 11:03 PM
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Default Insurance laws in Spain

Difficult one for you – does anybody have any knowledge on insurance laws in Spain? As some of you may know I was recently the victim of a robbery – my car was broken into and my bag was stolen.

The bag didn't contain any items of specific high-value but obviously replacing my passport is going to cost €200, there was a gold ring which was my late father's and had only been removed from my finger because after a recent minor surgical operation the doctors told me that I needed to take it into a jewellers to be made larger, my mobile phone, and a few other things.

According to the generic clauses at my home contents insurance I'm covered for individual items providing they are not worth more than €400 each. I have another mobile phone which is worth considerably more and this is specifically named item because my broker told me that if it is worth more than €400 then in order for it to be covered for all risks I need to name it on my policy – something that cost an additional €80.

The general wording of my policy booklet states that I am covered for items temporarily removed from the home up to the value of 15% of my total contents insurance – therefore several thousand euros, however it states that there is an individual claim limit for stolen items of €3000.

Having been a loyal customer for several years I totalled up my complete loss including the cost of the ring – but scrap value which would be around €400, the cost of replacing the mobile phone, the passport, the driving licence, the two bags that was stolen, my jacket that was stolen, and a few other things and the total cost of everything including the locksmith Bill to change the locks on my house came to €1900.

I completed the claim form and supplied ample evidence of ownership of all of the items along with a copy of the police report which detailed every single item in the circumstances surrounding the theft.

Apart from the locksmith Bill the insurance company – Ibex rejected my claim on the grounds that I have not got optional cover for items outside of the home.

My broker tells me that I have never had cover for this despite me having records of correspondence with them when I purchased my second mobile phone and their subsequent responses telling me that as the item is worth more than €400 I would need to name that is a specific and pay an extra premium otherwise it would not be covered for all risks. Incidentally, the more expensive phone was not stolen but by the very fact of the conversation I had detailing why I had to pay an additional premium for this phone – because it is worth more than €400 and therefore not covered outside of the home, this confirms that I should indeed have in place cover the individual items below the value of €400.

The insurance company are denying that I have this cover and refusing to settle my claim. The broker is claiming that I was never sold this cover – despite them knowing personally that I never go for cheap and I always buy good quality cover – or what I think is good quality cover.

The insurance company – Ibex over Gibraltar-based company and underwritten by Lloyd's of London. This summary of cover in the back of the policy document does state that certain things such as accidental damage which I also have or optional but it does not state that cover away from the home is optional – it states that I have a total value of 15% of the contents. I spoke to the financial ombudsman in the UK who told me that an insurance company in the UK have a responsibility to make their policies transparent and easy for a layman to follow. However, despite the fact that this policy is underwritten by Lloyd's of London it states clearly that it is governed by Spanish law.

To be honest I am disgusted in the company – they have always charged me considerably more than Spanish companies and I have paid it because the broker – who I once trusted – told me that although the company is more expensive they do not "mess around like a lot of the Spanish companies" when it comes to putting in a claim.

In my opinion the broker has either made an honest mistake in explaining my cover – perhaps through ignorance of the product they are selling, or they have deviously talked me into buying something knowing only too well that I do not have the cover that they told me that I have. Furthermore, the policy documents – schedule and booklet supplied by the actual insurance company are in fact contradicting themselves through various clauses throughout although the general summary and the way that everything reads on the face of it is that I do have the cover as described above.

For me this is more of a moral issue than anything else but I'm not 100% sure what the law is in Spain regarding insurance or who might ultimate complaint would lie with.

Incidentally, also stolen with a spare set of keys to my mother-in-law's house – and her insurance – liberty sent a locksmith within minutes and even invited her to claim for any of her personal possessions that was stolen. Ibex on the other hand seem to use any possible excuse not to pay and although I have now put my complaint in writing I just wondered if anybody here has any more in-depth knowledge about my rights when it comes to home insurance here in Spain.

Sorry to write so much but I wanted to give as much info as I could

thanks in advance everybody!

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Old 30th November 2012, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by steve_in_spain View Post
Difficult one for you – does anybody have any knowledge on insurance laws in Spain? As some of you may know I was recently the victim of a robbery – my car was broken into and my bag was stolen.

The bag didn't contain any items of specific high-value but obviously replacing my passport is going to cost €200, there was a gold ring which was my late father's and had only been removed from my finger because after a recent minor surgical operation the doctors told me that I needed to take it into a jewellers to be made larger, my mobile phone, and a few other things.

According to the generic clauses at my home contents insurance I'm covered for individual items providing they are not worth more than €400 each. I have another mobile phone which is worth considerably more and this is specifically named item because my broker told me that if it is worth more than €400 then in order for it to be covered for all risks I need to name it on my policy – something that cost an additional €80.

The general wording of my policy booklet states that I am covered for items temporarily removed from the home up to the value of 15% of my total contents insurance – therefore several thousand euros, however it states that there is an individual claim limit for stolen items of €3000.

Having been a loyal customer for several years I totalled up my complete loss including the cost of the ring – but scrap value which would be around €400, the cost of replacing the mobile phone, the passport, the driving licence, the two bags that was stolen, my jacket that was stolen, and a few other things and the total cost of everything including the locksmith Bill to change the locks on my house came to €1900.

I completed the claim form and supplied ample evidence of ownership of all of the items along with a copy of the police report which detailed every single item in the circumstances surrounding the theft.

Apart from the locksmith Bill the insurance company – Ibex rejected my claim on the grounds that I have not got optional cover for items outside of the home.

My broker tells me that I have never had cover for this despite me having records of correspondence with them when I purchased my second mobile phone and their subsequent responses telling me that as the item is worth more than €400 I would need to name that is a specific and pay an extra premium otherwise it would not be covered for all risks. Incidentally, the more expensive phone was not stolen but by the very fact of the conversation I had detailing why I had to pay an additional premium for this phone – because it is worth more than €400 and therefore not covered outside of the home, this confirms that I should indeed have in place cover the individual items below the value of €400.

The insurance company are denying that I have this cover and refusing to settle my claim. The broker is claiming that I was never sold this cover – despite them knowing personally that I never go for cheap and I always buy good quality cover – or what I think is good quality cover.

The insurance company – Ibex over Gibraltar-based company and underwritten by Lloyd's of London. This summary of cover in the back of the policy document does state that certain things such as accidental damage which I also have or optional but it does not state that cover away from the home is optional – it states that I have a total value of 15% of the contents. I spoke to the financial ombudsman in the UK who told me that an insurance company in the UK have a responsibility to make their policies transparent and easy for a layman to follow. However, despite the fact that this policy is underwritten by Lloyd's of London it states clearly that it is governed by Spanish law.

To be honest I am disgusted in the company – they have always charged me considerably more than Spanish companies and I have paid it because the broker – who I once trusted – told me that although the company is more expensive they do not "mess around like a lot of the Spanish companies" when it comes to putting in a claim.

In my opinion the broker has either made an honest mistake in explaining my cover – perhaps through ignorance of the product they are selling, or they have deviously talked me into buying something knowing only too well that I do not have the cover that they told me that I have. Furthermore, the policy documents – schedule and booklet supplied by the actual insurance company are in fact contradicting themselves through various clauses throughout although the general summary and the way that everything reads on the face of it is that I do have the cover as described above.

For me this is more of a moral issue than anything else but I'm not 100% sure what the law is in Spain regarding insurance or who might ultimate complaint would lie with.

Incidentally, also stolen with a spare set of keys to my mother-in-law's house – and her insurance – liberty sent a locksmith within minutes and even invited her to claim for any of her personal possessions that was stolen. Ibex on the other hand seem to use any possible excuse not to pay and although I have now put my complaint in writing I just wondered if anybody here has any more in-depth knowledge about my rights when it comes to home insurance here in Spain.

Sorry to write so much but I wanted to give as much info as I could

thanks in advance everybody!


Hi Steve, long time no post...Missed you!

Really sorry to hear all that...it's dreadful to lose something so personal.
But I have recently heard of an experience very similar to yours, albeit it was a house break-in that was the subject of the claim.

A friend's house was broken into in broad daylight -worrying as he lives five minutes if that up the road from us. He set the alarm and went off to play golf and returned to find his tv in the hall -he obviously disturbed the thieves -and 8000 euros of cash and jewellery missing.

The alarm had not been activated....the company say the thieves must have had some kind of immobilising device. His insurance company, Zurich, has simply refused to respond to his claim. Yes, I know that sounds bizarre...but they have simply ignored his letters and phone calls.

We have no house contents insurance. For one thing we have no valuable jewellery other than that always on our person : gold neck chains and good watches. I hide my IPad, IPhone and netbook when we are all out and the only other 'valuables' we have are two tvs, one almost six years old and the other a couple of years old.

When we were burgled last year the thieves ignored my passport, left it on the floor, our ancient laptops and Sandra's elderly IPod in its Bose dock. They took my Sainsburys ear-rings, my IPod Nano which was too low in GB for my Wagner operas etc. anyway and some cash I'd been daft enough to leave lying about. They were obviously quite dim as they tried to remove an empty safe by chiselling it off the wall....even I know you can only remove that kind of safe from inside.

We're thinking that our tvs are probably worth only about 600 euros between them now, if that, and the kind of hassle you and our friend have had with insurance companies has deterred us from taking out a policy. We are just ultra-careful now. Having a 54 kilo muscle-bound Rhodesian Ridgeback does help, I guess.

Hope you manage to get something sorted SOON. xx

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Old 30th November 2012, 08:55 AM
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Hi,

I work in contracts (although not related to insurance), and if what I can extract from your post is all evidenced, particularly the wording of the Policy, I would recommend that you write a strong letter to your broker, stating that you do not accept the response received and clearly explaining your reasons.

Mention also that you consider that the insurance company are in breach of the contract and that you will be seeking legal advice.

Give a reasonalbe time for them to respond, but fix a date, maybe 14 days.

If they don't respond, take everything you have to a lawyer and ask them to write the next letter (there are lawyers that will write a ltter for around 30 - 50€, it may be worth it), they may also tell you that you have no case, in which case at least you will know where you stand.

It may alos be worth going to your broker and asking for a hoja de reclamaciones to fill out and see if that suddenly changes their willingnes to fight your cause....

On a related note, everyone should check thier conditions of their contents insurance for the following commonly introduced clause:

When taking out a contents insurance you are usually asked to declare a value of your goods, lets say you state 30,000€.

When the worst happens, as was our case, we were burgaled, the claim you submit will, almost always be les than this amount, lets put an example of 5,000€, which to the layman should pose no problem.

The insurance company however will send an assesor (loss adjuster) to your house who will look round and unilaterally decide that your contents are actually worth 60,000€ and therefore their liability is only 50% of the claim value and cap thier settlement at 2,500€ against your loss of 5,000€.

This is contractually correct in many cases. Worth checking out......

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Old 30th November 2012, 10:44 AM
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Im sorry to here about your loss but does the car insurance not cover this as the items were stolen from the car were they not?

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Old 30th November 2012, 10:46 AM
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Im sorry to here about your loss but does the car insurance not cover this as the items were stolen from the car were they not?
dont think so - 3rd party fire and theft

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Old 30th November 2012, 01:08 PM
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dont think so - 3rd party fire and theft

Do they do third party, fire and theft insurance in Spain?

I thought it was only third party of full risk (comprehensive).

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Old 30th November 2012, 01:21 PM
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Do they do third party, fire and theft insurance in Spain?

I thought it was only third party of full risk (comprehensive).
Yep! I am with Linea Directa and I always used to have fully comprehensive but I downgraded my car while back to something much cheaper and decided that it wasn't worth it but I still wanted cover for theft and just like the UK they offered me third-party, third party fire and theft, or fully comprehensive. With my third party fire and theft I also have legal cover, windscreen cover, breakdown cover, and traffic fine handling service. All in all I am very pleased although I have checked with them today and sadly they do not cover contents stolen from the car – would have been better if they had just stolen the flipping car!

Incidentally, how ironic is this… Today after having had my driving licence which was British stolen I drove to the gestoria with all of my documentation including the certificate from the DVLA showing my entitlement to drive so that she could proceed to exchange my British licence to a Spanish one. I would normally do it myself but one or two people told me that without the original licence to exchange and just the certificate it's a lot easier to get a professional to go…

Anyway, after all of my years of driving the first time ever in my life in Spain that I drive with no documentation (originals have all been stolen and my certified copies are all with my gestor ready to take to traffic department on Monday) and what happens? I got caught by a hidden policeman doing 97 km an hour on a road that although it is 100 km an hour I went to a junction so should have been doing 60 grrrr

so, that was a €300 fine and two points off my new licence although luckily I used the car insurance legal advice service and they told me to pay the fine online immediately and it will be reduced by 50% and also if I pay the fine for my documents are submitted for a new driving licence there should be no points removed from my new one… Either way, I'm still €150 out-of-pocket and had to do a lot of explaining as to why I didn't have any paperwork with me – not even my police report because I had left it with the gestor haha

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Old 30th November 2012, 04:23 PM
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Do they do third party, fire and theft insurance in Spain?

I thought it was only third party of full risk (comprehensive).
Yes my car is 3rd party F & T with Mapfre.

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Old 30th November 2012, 06:14 PM
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Hi,


When taking out a contents insurance you are usually asked to declare a value of your goods, lets say you state 30,000€.

When the worst happens, as was our case, we were burgaled, the claim you submit will, almost always be les than this amount, lets put an example of 5,000€, which to the layman should pose no problem.

The insurance company however will send an assesor (loss adjuster) to your house who will look round and unilaterally decide that your contents are actually worth 60,000€ and therefore their liability is only 50% of the claim value and cap thier settlement at 2,500€ against your loss of 5,000€.

This is contractually correct in many cases. Worth checking out......
Well having just been flooded & having to submit a claim to the Consorcio my agent told me , after I explained the way it works in the UK to her, that it is not the case here in Spain. If you are insured for 20k & should be insured for 40k they will pay out up to 20k & the further loss is down to you. Same with the building.
I was a bit dubious about it until the Perito from the Consorcio came & started off by saying that she considered that I was possibly under-insured.
" Here we go I thought , I'm going to get knocked for a % of under-insurance. "

She then went on to explain exactly what the agent had said . There is no reduction for under-insurance, the fault & loss is the liability of the insured. If you have buildings insurance for 100k & it should be 200k ,all you will get is 100k & no reduction . The same applies to contents. I discussed it with her at length & she said that there is no " averaging " . What you insure for is the maximum you will get with no reduction.

Another thing she also mentioned is that in the case of flooding 1,5m of water invokes a total loss payout, in full ,of buildings insurance & contents. No arguments.

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