Insuring a Vehicle in Portugal

Understand the types of Portuguese vehicle insurance available, including what the cover provides and how to insure a foreign car...

All vehicles must have at least third party insurance. Proof of insurance must be carried at all times. There are penalties for drivers of vehicles without valid insurance.

Types of Insurance

Most insurance companies offer specific packages aimed at social/age groups such as:

  • Young people (Jovens)
  • University students (Universitários)
  • Drivers abroad (Portugueses no Estrangeiro) (usually gives 30-day extendable cover for any Portuguese driver or foreigner with a Portuguese Residency Card)
  • Senior Citizens (Seniores)

The premium depends on various factors such as the make and model of the car, its power, and its age (matricula), as well as the age and driving history of the driver. The driver's occupation and residential area are also taken into account. Portuguese car insurances have a system of No-Claims Bonus (Prémio Bonus Malus) for good drivers who haven't had an accident for three years from the beginning of the time when they start their policy. How it operates depends on the type of insurance taken out and how much is paid but it can offer discounts of between 20 and 45 percent on some policies.

According to Portuguese law, there should be no difference in the cost of insuring left or right hand vehicles in Portugal.

  • The most basic car insurance required under Portuguese law is called Responsabilidade Civil Obrigatória. It provides cover against an accident with a second and third party
  • Responsabilidade Civil Facultativa Juridica is a more comprehensive package that provides cover against accidents with other vehicles and any legal fees accrued through litigation
  • Fully comprehensive insurance (Seguro Contra Todos) covers virtually everything
  • Divída Segura provides cover in case of an accident which results in death or permanent invalidity on either side.
  • Assistência em Viagem covers loss of keys (Perda dos Chaves), punctures (Furo de Pneus), breakdowns (Avaria), broken windows etc.
  • Professional driver insurance (Condutor Profissional) is aimed at those whose livelihoods depend on driving and protects in case of the physical incapacity of the driver to drive
  • It is also possible to buy insurance for damage or loss of personal goods (Danas Próprias)
  • If the vehicle is registered in another country, a Green Card International Motor Insurance Certificate must be displayed. See the Angloinfo INFOrmation Page on The Green Card

In the Event of an Accident

In the event of an accident, the claim form needs to be sent to the insurance company within two to seven days depending on the company.

In the case of a car accident which does not require the intervention of the police, fill out an insurance form (usually in the insurance documents policy wallet) called a DAAA or Declaração Amigável (Friendly Agreement). This is straightforward and is completed and signed by both parties and forwarded to each one's insurer.

Otherwise fill out the Folheto Participação de Sinistro (Não Amigável) (Non-Friendly Accident Claim Form) and forward to the insurer. Most insurance companies have an 800 Blue Line telephone number to call immediately after an accident, whereupon they will be able to advise on the necessary steps to take.

Useful Vocabulary

Portuguese terminology useful for understanding insurance policies:

Portuguese phrase English
Quebra Vidros Shattered or cracked windscreen/windows
Choque, Colisão e Capotamento (CCC) Collision, Accident and Damage to chassis
Incêndio, Raio e Explosão Fire, Lightning, Explosion
Furto ou Roubo Theft and/or Break in
Riscos Sociais Social Risks
Fenómenos da Natureza Freaks of Nature
Veículos de Aluguer Hired Vehicles
Veículo Nova New Vehicle
Despesas de Tratamento Treatment expenses
Incapacidade Temporária Temporary incapacity
Absoluta por Internamento Hospitalar Hospital Cover
Morte e Invalidez Permanente Death and Permanent Invalidity
Protecção Ocupantes Occupant Protection