How to insure an imported car
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Figures from MoneySupermarket show that the average motorist pays around 900 a year for their insurance, but owners of cars imported from overseas often have to pay above average for their policies.
Why is it more expensive to unsure an imported car?
One of the main reasons insurers generally charge more to cover imported cars is that it is usually harder and more expensive to source parts and carry out repairs in the event of a claim.
An import from Japan might not be built to European standards, for example, while it will often prove more difficult to find parts for a left hand drive car.
The high specification of some imported performance vehicles can also increase the statistical likelihood of an accident.
What else will influence the size of my premiums?
The overall cost of imported car insurance is mainly determined by the vehicle's import category.
So-called 'grey' imports, which include cars from Japan, are built for non-EU countries and so do not meet European standards.
They must therefore undergo testing under the Single Vehicle Approval scheme before they are legal to drive on UK roads.
This is not the only inconvenience, though.
The insurance company usually asks a number of detailed questions about grey imports before it will quote a premium, the size of which is likely to be higher than for a standard car or van.
Some insurers will even refuse to offer cover for cars of this kind altogether.
Fortunately, so-called parallel imports from within Europe are more straightforward because they are bought from another EU country and so must adhere to the same minimum standards as the UK.
Consequently, insurers are generally more willing to insure parallel import.
Opting for an imported car from Europe will therefore make your life easier as well as cheaper when it comes to taking out insurance.
How can I minimise the cost of insuring an imported vehicle?
There are various ways that you can reduce the cost of insuring an imported vehicle wherever it is from.
You can, for example, often save up to 5% on your premium if you keep your car locked in a garage overnight.
If you are willing to pay a higher excess towards any potential claims, you will also usually be rewarded with a lower premium.
Meanwhile, motorists who build up a no claims discount will always pay less for their car insurance, no matter what sort of car they have.
High performance or sporty cars are almost always more costly to insure.
Finally, be sure to shop around for the cheapest price while ensuring that the cover you receive is adequate for your needs.
The average car insurance customer saves 339 a year using the MoneySupermarket website to compare policies.
Is there anything else I should know?
As with cars bought in the UK, modifications such as spoilers will increase the price of your insurance and should therefore be avoided if you are keen to keep costs down.
However, it is worth knowing that some insurers do not make any distinction between a left-hand and a right-hand drive vehicle in their quotes, as long there are no additional modifications.
Insurers also view some modifications positively - if they reduce, rather than heighten, the likelihood of your car being stolen.
Fitting a state-of-the-art alarm system, an immobiliser or a tracking device could therefore result in you paying less for cover.
This article has been researched and written by whatcar.com's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket