A BRITISH expat couple have been left in insurance limbo after their vehicle was stolen by a gang before being torched.
John and Jacqueline Armitage, 72 and 70, had their car stolen from outside their house, after they were gassed at night by brazen thieves.
But incredibly their Gibraltar-based insurance firm is refusing to pay out without the original documents, which were destroyed in the fire.
“It’s a complete catch 22,” John told the Olive Press. “Spanish law says you must keep all documents in the car, now we are having to spend hundreds to try and get them duplicated.”
The former Royal Navy employee is warning expats to keep the documents at home.
“The system is stupid,” he added, “In our case only the originals are accepted, so if your car is stolen or destroyed like ours then you’re screwed.”
The couple still don’t know if the duplicates will be enough for a payout from the company Tradewise.
The retired couple, from Portsmouth, had been awoken by Guardia Civil agents banging on their doors the morning after their Toyota was found torched.
It had been involved in various robberies, police told them.
“We had no idea we had been robbed,” added John, “I’m a light sleeper and our dog barks at the slightest noise so police are 100% sure we were gassed.”
The couple, who moved to Mollina, near Antequera 11 years ago, have had to fork out hundreds to travel to Malaga to duplicate registration and the vehicle’s ITV documents.
The car was bought in the UK but had been transferred to Spanish plates.
Tradewise Gibraltar told the Olive Press: “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on individual cases, however Ley 50/1980, de 8 octubre, Contrato de Seguro, the law applicable to insurance contracts in Spain allows the insurer 40 days from when the claim is reported in order to complete their internal investigations, at which point they must make payment of the minimum amount of compensation due.
“Where Spanish Law has been applied to the contract we will endeavour to comply with the above practice and settle the matter accordingly.”