Grey import insurance

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Find affordable cover for your imported car in minutes

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If you have ever tried to import a car to the UK from outside the EU, you may have heard the term ‘grey imports’. But what does this mean and how does it affect the insurance premium of your imported car? Read our useful guide to find out more about grey imports and grey import car insurance.

In This Guide:

What are grey imports?

Grey imports are vehicles that have been imported from outside the EU, that have never been available as standard in the UK. Most often they are Japanese or American models with higher specifications.

Grey imports are usually cars that don’t have an equivalent model in the UK market. Imported cars with an identical or similar UK model are known as parallel imports. Parallel imports are usually cheaper to insure than grey imports as they comply with UK regulations. As grey imports often don’t comply with EU standards, they will need to be modified so that they are suitable to drive on UK roads.

Check our guide for more information on imported car insurance.

How expensive are grey imports to insure?

Grey imports can be rather difficult to insure, as standard car insurance policies often won’t cover them. There are a number of factors which make grey import vehicles a higher risk to insure, and insurance companies therefore increase their premiums to reflect the risk.

Some of the reasons grey import car insurance can be more expensive include:

  • The cost of repair is often higher because parts are harder to get hold of and may also need to be imported.
  • The cost of a mechanic is often higher because it can be hard to find a mechanic experienced in repairing that type of car.
  • The risk of theft is higher because the cars are more sought after.
  • The cars are more powerful and therefore the risk of an accident is greater.
  • The car itself is likely to be in one of the higher value categories for insurance premiums.

Is grey import insurance always expensive?

Whilst it is true that insuring an imported car will almost always cost you more than insuring a UK-registered vehicle, there are ways that you can reduce your potential insurance premium on a grey import car.

Here are a few useful tips to help you find a cheaper insurance policy for your grey import car:

  • Shop around – make sure that you compare plenty of different quotes from different insurance providers. This way you will increase your chances of finding a good quote. There are plenty of specialist grey import insurers in the UK.
  • Think before you modify – grey imports are popular because they often have more powerful engines than standard, but this can increase the cost of your insurance. Modified cars will often be faster and therefore more dangerous to drive. Insurance companies will see this as a greater risk and increase your premiums.
  • Security – the more securely you keep your car, the lower your insurance policy is likely to cost. For example, if you keep your car in a locked, private garage then it will be safer than if it is parked on a public road.

Last reviewed: 1 April 2024

Next review: 1 May 2024