To set the scene and explain why I am writing this short piece of advice, I’ll tell my recent story.

Just over 2 years ago, my father and his wife moved to Benidorm to live on a gated luxury caravan site amongst 2000 or so other UK ex-pats (mostly retired).

On Saturday 15th 2011 he unexpectedly and suddenly passed away.

I of course booked the earliest flights I could from Scotland to get there and take care of both his grieving wife and the funeral arrangements.

On arrival, we visited the crematorium to hand his clothes in and sign paperwork… We were greeted with the rather annoying news that the insurance company had decided to NOT pay for the funeral due to the fact that the paramedic had signed the death confirmation slip with the cause as being heart DISEASE instead of heart ATTACK!

Now, here’s where the problem arose.

He took his (and his wife’s) funeral insurance out only 4 months prior to his demise.
The insurance company, due to the reference to heart DISEASE, obviously then presumed that he knew he had a serious problem. Of course he didn’t expect this to happen to him as his health was excellent.

The paramedic could not have possibly known whether he had heart DISEASE as opposed to an out of the blue massive heart ATTACK!

We then spent 3 whole days going to and from the doctor’s surgery to try and obtain his most recent medical record from his local GP in Benidorm.

Please remember, the Spanish are not that fond of the Brits on holiday in Spain as they are used to gangs of bald headed football thugs (we call them TWATS) coming in with broken noses, pissed and loud.

Most doctors in Spain speak very little English. There is a sign in most surgeries stating that if you don’t speak Spanish, you should really bring a fluent Spanish speaker with you.

Remember, learn some Spanish… speaking LOUDER in your Liverpudlian or Glaswegian accent still doesn’t translate to Spanish people who speak no English.

So, we wasted 3 days discovering that the insurance company would not pay for the funeral so we arranged to pay it ourselves with a credit card.

Points to remember

  • Every day your deceased is kept in the crematorium, it is adding around €200 to your bill
  • Please make sure you have funeral insurance if you go and live in Spain or anywhere else in Europe
  • Make sure you have a recent doctor’s report when you take out the insurance
  • LEARN SOME OF THEIR LANGUAGE, if you make the effort, they become more helpful
  • In the event of a collapse/attack, have medical records, allergies listed etc in the appropriate language

I shall keep adding to this page as we progress through retrieving my father’s medical records and pursuing the insurance company. Once resolved, I will be able to list in more detail, which type of insurance you should be looking to have in place and some pointers to relevant contacts and resources.

Thanks for reading this and I hope this may help prevent unwanted extra stress and alleviate the hassles surrounding this eventuality.

Colin

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