These days, more and more people are looking further afield and buying cars from abroad to import.
As the market for imports grows, due to common positive differences in specification and price when compared to the home market, the ease with which they can be bought improves.
The insurance market however, still has some catching up to do when it comes to competitive pricing, so you’ll have to shop around to make sure you get the best deals.
We’ll go through what the process of insuring an imported car involved, and how you can make sure you don’t spend more than you need to.
Will the type of car I import affect my insurance?
Cars imported into the UK fall into one of two categories: ‘grey’ imports and ‘parallel’ imports.
Grey imports are built outside of the EU and so do not have to conform to European build standards and regulations. Such cars will, before an insurer agrees to cover them, have to pass a Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) test, as with a kit car. This test costs around £200 and is required in order to make a grey import road legal in the UK.
Grey imports, particularly those from Japan, will often exceed their European counterparts when it comes to power and the performance of electronic systems for example.
Both this, and the fact that the sourcing of parts for repairs will naturally be harder than for a car bought domestically, mean that insuring a grey import will generally mean somewhat inflated costs. But while relatively higher costs will be unavoidable, you don’t need to pay totally extortionate prices – good value, cheap insurance is possible to obtain.
Parallel imports are those built and bought within the EU. They of course will conform to EU regulations and standards as cars built in the UK. They will therefore be easier or cheaper to insure than grey imports, as a general rule.
Will insuring an imported car cost more than one bought domestically?
In general yes, imported insurance tends to cost more than conventional or domestically bought insurance, in particular with grey imports.
Grey imports tend to be more powerful than EU regulations would permit and may be left-hand drive for example. All of these things can, and often do, affect the cost of the premiums offered by insurance companies.
What’s the best way to get cheap insurance for an import car?
Insuring a hugely powerful, tuned-up, Japanese imported car will always cost more than a small hatchback bought in the UK, but that doesn’t mean you have to be swindled.
Simple things like keeping your car in a garage overnight rather than on the street will improve security and thus reduce your premiums.
Building up a decent no claims discount over time will also help.
But first of all you should make sure that you’re shopping around online so that you can find the best quote that suits your specific needs. That’s where we can help; head over to our comparison page, let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll bring you up a list of appropriate deals, so that you can get the cover you need at a price you like.