At the beginning of the year, I adopted Spanish residency. Having been a UK resident all my life, I now want to spend six months of the year living in my second home in Spain. As a result, I needed to change my UK driving licence for a Spanish one, but when I recently came to reinsure my UK vehicle, I was told that I cannot insure a car in the UK as I am no longer resident (even though I have a house in the UK) and don’t hold a UK driving licence
Is this true?
I was quite surprised to receive your email, given I have a friend with dual German and British citizenship who holds a German licence and quite happily drives his fully insured, British-registered car around all the time.
I asked him whether he’d ever had an issue getting insurance and he said he hadn’t – in fact, he told me, most of the comparison websites he uses to arrange his insurance offer the ability to select a full EU driving licence from the drop-down menu.
The key difference here is that my friend is a permanent resident in the UK, and it is on this point – rather than with your licence – that your problem revolves.
UK residence is a prerequisite for most insurance companies, and since you can’t hold dual residency (dual citizenship is a different matter), you are now considered, for legal purposes, a Spanish resident. That’s what’s precluding you from taking out insurance with most British providers.
Not all of them, however. There are a handful of specialist insurers and brokers in the UK that will agree to arrange policies for foreign residents either on a short-term or an annual basis, and some even take into account your driving history both abroad and in the UK, given you won’t be able to use a no-claims discount.
The three companies I’ve heard of that do this are Stuart Collins, Sterling Insurance Services and City Insurance Group – there may be others besides, though I’m not aware of them.
I can’t say I’ve used any of these companies myself so I can’t speak to their level of service personally, but I’ve seen Stuart Collins recommended by several members of the expat community, so that might be a good place to start.
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Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.