Owning a car entails a series of unavoidable expenses. Although more and more alternative options to car ownership are proliferating – renting, leasing, subscription, etc. – many people still resist these innovative formulas and prefer to have their own vehicle. In addition to having to face fuel costs, like everyone else, car owners have to face other outlays, such as the cost of repairs, insurance and taxes.

According to the statistical yearbook of the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) for 2022, the last published by the organization, in Spain there are 35,668,443 vehicles, of which just over 25 million are cars. Thousands of these vehicles do not circulate daily, since their use is very limited or they have simply not been used for years, although they continue to be registered in case it is necessary to use them at a certain time.

When registered, these vehicles must have all documentation in order. That is, their owners have to continue paying the amount of road tax and the corresponding insurance premium every year, as well as pass the ITV if necessary. Otherwise, they could face fines and sanctions for non-compliance with current regulations.

However, owners of a car that is not used can avoid paying taxes and insurance if they temporarily deregister it from the DGT. The organization itself remembers, through its X profile, that this possibility exists, which undoubtedly represents considerable savings of money.

Traffic specifies, however, that only vehicles that are temporarily deregistered by the DGT can avoid paying the insurance if they are going to be stored on private property and are not going to be on public roads. In this case, it is not necessary for the vehicle to be up to date with its MOT or to have the mandatory insurance in force.

Temporary deregistration is intended for vehicles that, for whatever reason, will not be used for a long period of time, but are very likely to be used again in the future. It is therefore a state that is easy to reverse and drive the vehicle again.

This type of leave is temporary in nature, with a maximum duration of one year. Before the end of the withdrawal period, an extension may be requested that will last one year, with no limit to the number of extensions that can be chained. While the vehicle is disabled, it cannot be driven.

The procedure to temporarily deregister a vehicle from the DGT can be carried out online or in person. It is necessary to provide the identification of the interested party – in the case of carrying out the process online digital certificate, electronic DNI or Cl@ve credentials – fill in the requested data and pay a fee of 8.67 euros.

In the event of loss or theft of the documentation, the owner must fill out a responsible declaration indicating his or her details and those of the vehicle, alleging the reason why he or she does not present the documentation.

The possibility of temporarily deregistering a vehicle and saving money on taxes and insurance has given rise to the scam. The DGT has warned in recent months about the circulation of so-called zombie cars, which are those vehicles that have been temporarily deregistered, but continue to circulate illegally.

According to data provided by the Spanish Association of Automobile Scrappers and Recyclers, in 2022 there were already some 400,000 vehicles in Spain on temporary deregistration for more than five years, and it is estimated that about 11,000 are temporarily deregistered each month. In fact, the number of temporary absences now represents half of the annual total of absences, while, in 2004, it barely represented 5%.