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Import Car Insurance

Updated on October 26, 2010

Buying a car from overseas can lead to a considerable cost saving  but before you jump on the internet or a plane and grab yourself a bargain you need to be aware of what type of insurance will cover your import.

Getting a car from overseas is an attractive option for many people and on top of the financial benefits there are a raft of other reasons why people choose to look beyond their local dealers. Buying an import is primarily an advantage of choice. You have the freedom to choose exactly what type of car that you want regardless of whether it is sold in your home country or not (provided it is road legal there).

You can save a considerable amount of money on the ticket price and other associated sales and emissions taxes in your area, although if you are not careful then those savings can easily be usurped by your insurance policy. The cost of import car insurance will generally depend on how old you are and the specifics of your car, generally with regards to performance. Hence justified or otherwise, a high performance sports car will attract a substantial premium particularly if you are a young twenty something.

Increasingly companies are also importing cars for their clients to use. These include some exotic car share clubs and consulting companies using their cars for client events. For these businesses the commercial auto insurance rates will be quite different from basic import car insurance detailed below. People who buy imports are generally looking for something unique and this difference can make your car stand out not only to passersby but also your insurer

Import Car Insurance
Import Car Insurance

What Impact Does An Imported Car Have On Insurance?

From an insurance company perspective processing a claim for an import comes with a lot of problems. Many of the higher insurance costs that are associated with import cars are based on the fact that the company doesn’t exactly know what it is insuring. Just about everything on an imported car is different and because of this parts may be harder to find and other repairs will inevitably cost more because your local mechanic will not be as well versed with fixing your type of car.On top of this there may be issues with a car that is left/right hand drive. Because of these factors many insurers won’t offer to cover your car at all

Types of Import Classifications

The insurance company will divide imported cars to 2 main types; Parallel and Grey. A Parallel imports are so named because the cars are road legal and meet your home countries standards. Grey imports on the other hand are not built according to your home countries specific standards and because of this you will need to compile very specific information about the car that you will have to submit to your insurer. Both import types have been bought into the country outside the established dealer networks that are recognised by the insurer. Insurance for parallel imports are generally cheaper and easier to find though you can still find cheap import car insurance quotes for grey imports provided you have all the right data and compare against a number of providers.

Getting Cheap Insurance for your Import.

To get the cheapest insurance for your car you should generally look to find providers that specialize in imported vehicles such as specialist Japanese import car insurance providers however they might not always be the cheapest particularly if your car is a rare model or has been significantly modified. You should aim to get at the VERY LEAST 4-5 different insurance quotes for your car. You can start by checking comparison websites for different rates but be aware that those numbers are an approximation at best and you will need to call the insurance companies to give the specifics of your car.

Ask your insurance company if there is a different premium for left and right hand drive cars. The charges may be different as the company may deem opposite hand drive vehicles as more liable to accidents on local roads. In addition because your car is unique the security features of your car will be taken into account so you could be eligible for a discount if your car has been fitted with an alarm monitoring system.

There may also be additional charges from your insurer for cars that are first registered outside your home country. Some insurers will waive this difference if there is a local equivalent of your car available.

Getting The Right Documents

Unless you have already imported several cars to your home country yourself it may be worth getting onto contact with a specialist car importer. Companies specializing in imported cars usually have an extensive relationship with foreign exporters and more importantly can deal with the relevant import duties and taxes. If you are in the UK then you will need to pay a VAT in addition to providing the DVLA and import documents. You may also be required to apply for temporary car insurance whilst the car is being transported to your home country. Most countries will put the vehicle through a series of compliance tests to ensure they are road legal and thus any offending modifications will be removed. There are specific modified car insurance companies that can handle some of this so make sure you are well versed with the compliance rules of your country before you pay for something that legally you can’t drive from the port let alone get insured for.

Import Car Insurance
Import Car Insurance

Shop Around

Your import car insurance will impact other drivers because parts for your car may not be readily available accidents that are not caused by yourself may not be fully covered. And things like cover for car accident injury claims like whiplash may also be adversely affected depending on the safety rating of your car. The best thing that you can do is to get as many online car insurance quotes as you are comfortable with then call them and provide the insurer with the right information about your car.


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    • AllSuretyBonds profile image

      AllSuretyBonds 6 years ago

      Great Hub. One of the more important tips to save on import auto insurance is to pick the car carefully. Someone should compare insurance rates on the various vehicles they are considering, and pick the vehicle that has more competitive rates with insurers. Working with a low cost auto insurer can also make a big difference with the amount that the individual pays to protect their vehicle. Someone should choose their insurer just as carefully as they pick their vehicle if they want to receive the best rates.