If you have bought property in Spain, insurance against fire is compulsory. If you are renting, then contents insurance is recommended but not obligatory (and if the property is furnished then your deposit is insurance against damage).
- AbbeyGate: Specialists in Expat insurance (English speaking)
- Intasure: Catering more for UK expats, but English speaking specialists in Spanish home insurance
You will need to connect utilities yourself as they are not included in the price of the rent. It is not so much that you will need an entirely new connection, instead you will change the connection from the name of the last tenant into your own. For this, you will be asked for the last bill. Ensure BEFORE you sign the lease that this has been paid, or it is highly likely that you will be held responsible for the debt. You are able to activate your utilities by calling the appropriate companies for water, gas and electric. They will then send you via regular mail a confirmation of activation and proof that the bills will now be under your name.
Bills will be debited from your Spanish bank account either monthly or bi-monthly. You will be sent a paper bill as well, prior to the money being taken out.
Main providers in Barcelona:
Note that although Endesa is the main provider, it is better to use Iberdrola as they have English-speaking telephone operators. In some cases you will need to connect with Endesa and then switch your supplier to Iberdrola. This will depend on your area and the customer service department at either company can tell you which category your neighbourhood falls into.
Average electricity costs for a family of three per month is around €80
- Endesa ; Tel: 915 668 800
- Iberdrola Tel: 901 202 020
Average gas costs for a family of three for a month is €40
- CEPSA Tel: 913 376 000
- Gas Natural Tel: 902 199 199
It is normal for landlords to incorporate the cost of the water into the rent, so you probably won´t need to worry about this part unless you have an unusual lease or you are buying your home. Average water costs for a family of three for a month is €10
- Aigues de Barcelona Tel: 900 710 710
Called ´El Correo´ in Spain, the post office will begin delivering your mail as soon as someone sends you something. If you receive large packages, they will often be held at the headquarters in the Barrio Gotico (Plaza Antonio Lopez, Tel: 93 486 8050) where you will have to go pick them up at inconvenient hours. Generally speaking, office hours for the Correo are very good, opening at 8:30 and closing at 21h (without closing for a siesta or lunch break). On Saturdays, they are generally open from 8:30-14h. (We say generally, here, because some offices will modify their hours during specific time of the year – August Holidays, Christmas holidays or during a strike).
Do note though: Spain being what it is, if you live in an area that has a high number of holiday home owners (i.e. non-residents), the Post Office will very likely not deliver your mail under the pretext of you not being a citizen. Not a resident, but a citizen. (Please note, though, that this is not the norm for Barcelona, if this occurs at all, it is in resort or holiday-friendly towns outside of the city). This is suspected to be more out of laziness than any reasonable policy, so you might like to organise a PO Box (Apartado Correo). This will cost around €65 per year. The year begins on Jan 1st and ends on Dec 31st and costs the same no matter when you buy your box. In other words, if you buy a box in November, you will need to renew on the 1st of Jan for a further €65. If you arrive in Spain late in the year and want a PO Box, it is best to wait until the new year.
Spain has plenty of international shipping companies that can freight your goods or even pets to and from Barcelona. There is a good list of companies (many with English-speaking staff) at this link.
Also, Spain uses the following services for shipping, which are good options for receiving and sending packages from abroad:
Fed Ex: http://www.fedex.com/es/ Fed Ex is available in Barcelona, but you have to schedule pick up service as there are no central offices in Barcelona. The good news is that they offer you two hour windows for pick up times, will bring supplies to your home and are very punctual. You can also track packages and schedule pick ups online.
DHL: http://www.dhl.es/es.html DHL is another commonly used shipping service in Barcelona by expats sending and receiving international packages, Just as Fedex, you can schedule pickups and choose from a number of other shipping services online.
This shipping service offers express and economic options for shipping internationally, and is often used by Amazon when they deliver packages to Spain.