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Car insurance for imported motors


Importing a slick supercar can be exciting, but getting it insured can be a bit of a headache.

There’s no denying that imported cars can be something special, and there’s a steady stream of cars coming into the UK from abroad to prove it.

Whether it’s down to their higher specifications, heavily-modified parts or being just plain sexy, imported cars are a hot commodity.

These days it’s relatively easy to buy a car overseas and send it to the UK. What’s a little more difficult is getting car insurance for it.

Don’t forget that imported cars need to be registered with the DVLA, and you need to pay tax and VAT as well.

The insurer’s dilemma

The problem with imported cars is that insurance companies have a difficult job in figuring out how big a risk they are. 

If the engine of your Japanese supercar is damaged in an accident, how difficult will it be to source the parts needed to fix it?

This’ll depend on the model, of course. But it adds a layer of uncertainty that makes pricing insurance for an imported car more difficult.

There are also models from parts of the world that don’t adhere to the same standards that manufacturers across Europe use.

This means that there’s a big question mark surrounding the quality of the car.

As a result, it adds up to a lot of unknowns when figuring out how much a potential claim is going to cost. This usually results in a higher premium.

What are different types of import?

There are two kinds of imported car:

  • grey imports

  • parallel imports

Grey imports are motors that haven’t been EU-approved. Applying for insurance for these requires a lot of detailed information about the car before you can get a quote.

Grey imports are usually cars for enthusiasts, and tend to cover the rarer or more desirable models.

The drawback is that many are left-hand-drive only and aren’t optimised for UK roads and English-speaking drivers.

Parallel imports are cars that are brought in from other EU countries, and whose specifications are similar if not almost identical to their UK counterparts.

This means they conform to EU standards, and so are much less of a headache for insurers.

Searching for the best deal

There are usually a number of owners’ clubs for the imported model you’re interested in, so it’s worth getting in touch with them for advice.

They should have a rough idea of which insurers are kinder to imported cars when it comes to the price, and which ones to avoid.

In many cases you’ll likely need to go with an insurer that specialised in high-performance or imported cars, so doing your homework beforehand would be beneficial.

As is usually the case for specialist cars, the prices you’re offered to cover an imported motor may vary between insurers.

So make sure you shop around rather than going for the first price that seems alright.


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