How to claim against an insurance company in Spain

We receive an increasing number of inquiries related to problems with clients’ own insurance companies, for all kinds of matters. These include companies that refuse to pay compensation due on life insurance and put all kinds of obstacles and impediments such as asking for unnecessary documentation, unjustified delays, etc.  In the event of theft/robbery claims, they may deny the theft, or try to pay as little as possible for the insured goods.

If this is the case, we advise you to seek legal advice from a lawyer to make sure your claim is filed properly, especially if you are unfamiliar with how the process works in Spain.

In any case, below we explain very concisely the steps to follow:

You must communicate in writing and get evidence of receipt by your insurance company as soon as possible.  If your insurer does not comply with what has been agreed, you may:

  1. File a formal complaint with the Insurance Ombudsman or Customer Service Department of your insurance company. You should know that your insurer must provide you with the contact details of this insurance ombudsman.  You can also get them through the website of the Spanish General Insurance Direction (Direccion General de Seguros) ( their search engine can usually find names, telephone, fax and email of each insured Ombudsman, or customer services appointed by each of the insurers registered in Spain. Due to the fact that normally the complaints are sent by using email, it is important that you get a record of the application, by acknowledgment of receipt or equivalent. They must respond to you within two months.
  2. If they do not respond you in time ( 2 months) or you do not agree with their answer, you can raise a new complaint in front of the Spanish General Insurance Direction ( Direccion General de Seguros) also known as DGS. After hearing both parties the DGS shall issue a report stating whether in their opinion the insurer has complied or not with the law, good customs and practices of the sector.
  3. If you disagree with DGS decision or it is not fulfilled by the insurance company, you can go to the courts.

You must know that it is possible to go directly to the courts without prior filing complaint in front of the Insurance Ombudsman or Customer Service Department, or the DGS. There is also the possibility of arbitration in certain cases.

We therefore advise that you always to have a full copy of the policy signed with the insurer, including the special and general conditions, and if you have any problem with your insurer in Spain, contact your lawyer, who will inform you whether it is advisable to claim first to the insurance ombudsman and the DGS, or whether it would be better to go to court directly

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

Written by a CBBA member
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