Car driving through spain

If you’re hiring a car in Spain, there is a lot you may not know. As car hire insurance providers, we at have broken down the essentials to car rental in Spain, so you can visit the rental desk in confidence.

Car Hire in Spain

Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with over 15% of our customers visiting annually*, and for good reason, as car hire in Spain is amongst the cheapest in Europe costing on average £36.81 per day.** With this demand, there is a vast supply of rental companies including leading providers like Avis, Budget and Hertz.

However, to make ends meet, car rental providers sometimes will increase the costs of optional extras, like excess insurance, which can cost over £10 a day** on top. So, before you travel, it may be worth seeking advice and researching other cheaper alternatives for car hire excess insurance.

Driving in Spain

In Spain they drive on the right-hand side of the road, and primarily drive manual vehicles. If you are hiring an automatic vehicle, you can expect to pay up to an additional £20 per day***.

If you are visiting the more metropolitan areas of Spain, you may be best sticking to the Autopista’s and Autovía’s which offer wide berth lanes. Plan your route beforehand to avoid getting caught out by extortionate toll prices, sometimes between €5 and €30. In rural areas, you will find that the country roads are harder to manoeuvre, which is why smaller vehicles may be better suited for your visit. Spain is notorious for dinks and scrapes to rental cars, and this is often thanks to its historic roadways.

If you find yourself in any trouble whilst on the road, you can contact the European emergency service number 112, otherwise for national services:

091 – National Police

092 – Local Police

061 – Health Emergencies

080 – Fire Fighters

What are the requirements for car hire in Spain?

It is important to know which documentation, and legally required items to have with you when driving. By Spanish law, you will be required to carry:

  1. Your full valid driving license
  2. Valid identification (preferably a passport)

These may seem obvious; however, you may not know that you are also required to bring with you:

  1. A reflective jacket for use on the hard shoulder
  2. Two warning triangles
  3. Headlamp beam deflectors

Check with your rental company beforehand that they are providing these for you. You can read more about what is required here.

A vital part of your rental will be having the correct insurance for you and your rental car. There are some major differences between the insurance you will have on your personal car, and the insurance on a rental vehicle.

Car hire insurance in Spain

In Spain, Third-Party Liability insurance is required by law and covers your liability for damage to other vehicles and persons. The basic insurance required for cover on your rental vehicle is Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and will cover you for the full cost of your hire car. However, this tends to be subject to an excess, which is the first amount of any claim you must pay.

Spanish rental companies will often provide Third-Party Liability and CDW by standard, however you should check with the rental company before hiring. Rental companies are likely to offer their excess insurance to you at the hire desk, which often costs the same as the whole rental!

At, we offer an affordable alternative to the car hire excess insurance offered at the rental desk. Our policies cover excess fees for up to £6000 charged by the rental company, starting at just £2.99* per day and £42.99 for an annual policy and are all ZERO excess policies. If you would like to find out more, click HERE.

Can I hire a car in Spain without a credit card?

Most rental companies in Spain will require you to have a credit card in the name of the main driver of the rental vehicle in order to collect the vehicle. This is often to hold the excess amount as a deposit, so ensure that you have a sufficient limit on your credit card before you travel.

Some credit cards may have a travel insurance policy which includes CDW coverage, but this insurance may still have an excess. Most third-party excess providers, including ourselves here at will be unable to cover these excess charges. We can only cover the excess on the rental company’s insurance.

Are there any age restrictions?

By Spanish law you must be 18 years old to drive, and most car rental companies in Spain have a minimum age of 21 to rent. However, a young drivers fee may apply if you are under the age of 25. On average, the young drivers fee will cost around £18.33 per day**, which is amongst the most expensive in Europe.

Car sharing in Spain

Car clubs, also known as car sharing, are a new way of getting around and Spain is getting on board. Hosting top car clubs like Car2Go, Ubeeqo, and Zipcar, Spain’s by the hour car rental service is an efficient way to get around the city. What some people may not know is that they are not fully covered for their rental. While car sharing services provide their own insurance, they often have a hefty excess like a normal car hire. offers bespoke car sharing insurance. We cover excess fees up to £3,000, covering any accidental damage to the exterior of the vehicle, including damage to the bodywork, roof and undercarriage. Starting at just £69.99 for the year, you can have peace of mind across Spain, and Europe with no distance restrictions.

Can I cross the border with a rental car?

If you are planning to cross the Spanish border in your rental car, whether it be into Portugal, France, or any other neighboring country, you will need to inform your rental company at the time you book your rental, as they can advise you on any cross-border charges which may apply (costs differ for each rental company). This also applies if you are planning on taking your rental car off mainland Spain, to Gibraltar via ferry.

Our policies do not prohibit you from crossing national borders, or travelling via ferry in your rental vehicle as long as you are travelling within the territories covered by your policy and you have standard insurance provided by the rental company, along with their permission for this type of usage.

Whether you’ve booked your car rental for your Spanish holiday or are still shopping around, don’t forget to also book your car rental excess insurance. Our Excess Europe daily product can provide you with the cover you need. Or if you’re planning to hire a car for multiple European trips within the next 12 months, you may benefit from our Multi-trip Excess Europe Annual product.

Find out more about renting in Europe

  1. Stay on the right side of the law in Spain and read up on European Driving Laws
  2. Need extra assistance whilst abroad? Read our local language guide for Disabled drivers
  3. Know your parking dos and don’ts abroad with our European Parking Guide
  4. Still unsure on car hire excess insurance? Avoid car hire pitfalls and know your rights
*Based on research conducted by iCarhireinsurance between May 2018 and April 2019
**Based on 2019 research conducted by iCarhireinsurance on 16 countries between 27th July 2019 and 3rd August 2019
*** Based on a VW Polo collecting with Sixt in Malaga
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