Tuesday, 28 May 2013

What To Do In Case of A Car Accident In Spain

Most of us at some point in our driving lifetime will unfortunately have an accident.  Whether it is your fault or the other party, would you know what to do? 

Hopefully this short guide might help you:

Check that everyone is ok and no one is requiring medical attention. If medical assistance is required call 112 and request an ambulance (you will get the police as well).

If the vehicles are blocking the road, move them (if possible) out of the way of the traffic. If not, put out the warning triangles and get someone to assist with directing/stopping the oncoming traffic. Take photos of the vehicles before they are moved and the individual damge on both afterwards. Most mobile phones have a camera nowadays.

Both parties complete the Accident Statement Form (DeclaraciĆ³n Amistosa de Accidente). Make sure that all the details are correct and that a cross has been inserted into the middle panel (Circumstances) to show what was happening just prior to the accident. Draw a picture in the box and both parties sign the document. Ensure that you are happy with the information on the document before you sign it. If details are incorrect and you sign this document, you are confirming that you agree with the incorrect details.

This is where the fun begins.  If the the other party has completed their part in Spanish and you don´t understand it, or they have completed a Spanish version of the from. Where possible, we always send our clients a copy of the form in English, so get your copy out and check the translation of the various parts of the form. You possibly won´t be able to understand what the other party has completed in Observations, but make sure that your part is correct.

Check that the drawing represents what happened. ONLY sign the document if you are happy that it represents what actually happened. Once the signed form is sent to the insurance company they will act on the details provided. If the other party was at fault, but have indicated that the accident was your fault and you have signed the document to confirm this, without putting any comments of your own, you might find yourself being held responsible and losing your no claims bonus. If a third party (even the Police) fill out the form for you, check as best you can that the details are a correct representation, as even they get it wrong sometimes.

The form is in 2 parts and each party should keep a part to hand to their insurance company.

Happy motoring.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Who Do You Love More? Your Family or the Taxman?

Fact: Most people make no plans to eliminate or even reduce their potential liability to Inheritance Tax in Spain. Many don't even think they need to pay Inheritance Tax. Wrong!

It is like welcoming the taxman into your family, inviting him to become a beneficiary to assets that you have taken a lifetime to accumulate.  Of course, no one intends to die, but unfortunately we cannot stop the process.

If you put off what needs to be done you run the risk of leaving your family with a truly memorable legacy - a whopping big Inheritance Tax bill.

By doing something it is possible to reduce your potential tax bill by 99%!

Did you know:
- Inheritance Tax in Spain is levied on the beneficiary, not the deceased's estate, as in the UK.
- Unlike the UK, there is no exemption between husband and wife.
- You could be liable to Spanish Inheritance Tax even if you are a non-resident for tax purposes and your property is only for holidays.
- You could be liable to pay Spanish Inheritance Tax on any worldwide assets left to you by your spouse.
- Spanish Inheritance charges can be as high as 81.6%.
- Any jointly held bank accounts in Spain could be frozen following death.
- The house in Spain cannot be sold by the beneficiaries to pay for any Inheritance Tax liability.
- A beneficiary has 6 months to settle the liability before possible surcharges, interest or even fines are incurred.

With a little planning:
- Your beneficiaries could avoid being charged Spanish Inheritance Tax
- You could retain access to your assets during your own lifetime.

If you would like to know more on this subject, contact us on 966 494 176

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

How Do I Claim on My Travel Insurance?

It is coming to that time of year when we think about going away on holiday. Tickets booked, bags packed, travel insurance purchased and off we go. But then something happens whilst we are in transit or away and we want to claim on the travel insurance, so what do we do now??

Claims for delays, cancellations or lost/damaged luggage, always keep any documents, receipts and if possible the damaged item. If you can't keep the item then make sure that you take plenty of photos from all angles, preferably with a date stamp on the photos. If items have been damaged in transit make sure you report it to the relevant company and get something in writing from them to confirm your complaint.

Medical situations will depend on the severity of the illness. If it is a minor complaint that can be dealt with by a doctor as an outpatient, make sure that you keep any paperwork/receipts, as generally you will have to pay for the treatment/medication and claim this back from the insurance company.

If inpatient treatment is necessary, you or your representative will need to call the assistance number that is provided by the insurance company on your policy. They will then discuss your needs and requirements with the hospital and make arrangements/payment for you.

In all cases, keep all receipts and paperwork that might be needed at a later date to assist with your claim. If in doubt, read the terms and conditions that come with the policy as it will tell you the minimum information needed.

"I've booked a trip but changed my mind about going. Can I claim my money back under the cancellation cover?" No. There has to be a particular reason to cancel and changing your mind isn't one of them.

The airline/airport might be closed due to a strike. Can I claim for this if I can't travel? This depends on when you booked the trip. If the strike had been advertised for a certain date and you booked a trip for that date knowing that you might not be able to travel, then the insurers will probably not cover it. If you booked before any announcements were made, fully covered.

Going back to the medical cover and on a slightly different issue, the EHIC card. There have been many reports in the press recently where hospitals/GPs in Spain have not accepted this card. If you are considering using this option to obtain emergency treatment make sure that you visit the right place. Spain has social security hospitals/GPs (NHS equivalent) which will accept the EHIC card for emergency treatment, but you might find that spoken English is limited and a translator or assistance necessary. There are a great many private hospitals/GPs who will speak English, but will not accept the EHIC card and will require payment for treatment. It is always best to check before making an appointment or receiving treatment so there are no nasty surprises at the end.

Happy travelling.