Insuring an imported car
Need to insure a car which has been
imported into the UK? A car that has been bought from another country and built
according to non-UK standards is labelled an 'imported vehicle'. If one is
planning to buy an imported motor, it is important to understand how the
insurance cost of these cars is different from those manufactured and sold
within the United Kingdom. Different types or models of imported cars have
different insurance premium charges in the UK.
The insurance cost of an imported vehicle is determined by the automobile’s
import category and is usually higher than that charged for an automobile that
has been manufactured locally. The sourcing of spare parts of an imported car is
difficult to get and as an imported car is made as per the specifications of the
importer, the insurance cost is higher.
cars are different in their specification and there are two categories under
which these are classified:
• Grey Category – Vehicles imported from a country that falls outside the
European Union constitute this category. These cars are made according to the
standards that are prevalent outside the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Usually, these vehicles come from the United States and Japan.
• Parallel Import Category – These cars are imported from countries that fall
within the European Union, and may also be available with local distributors.
Difference in Insurance Costs for imported vehicles
Most vehicle imports have a similar appearance and even the
same model name as UK-made autos. However, the general specifications and engine
of imported cars are different from those made in the UK. According to the
European Whole Vehicle Type Approval, all automobiles that are sold in Europe
must meet the stipulated standards established related to various features, such
as emissions, brakes, crash protection, steering, etc.
Import motors need to undergo a test under the Single Vehicle Approval Scheme
before obtaining the permit to be driven on UK roads. Grey category vehicles do
not conform to the standards devised by the EU. There are few garages that can
repair these cars as it is difficult for motorists and garages to procure parts
or offer suitable service. In addition to this, the parts of imported autos are
either not readily available or are available at a much higher cost.
Not only does this make the repairs of such cars costlier but also has an impact
on the insurance cost of an imported vehicle, and an insurer is often reluctant
to provide a cover on such vehicles. Usually, vehicles imported from Japan are
high performance automobiles and, thus, the chances of them meeting with an
accident are higher. Insurers who do provide insurance for this category mention
offering grey import insurance.
On the other hand, a parallel import automobile is one that is tested as per the
European specifications. These specifications are the same that is applied to
cars manufactured in the United Kingdom. The differentiating factor between cars
made in the UK and parallel import automobiles is that the latter has a
different warranty and terms and conditions.
Both grey and parallel importing of vehicles affects the insurance cost, as they
are not made particularly as per the UK standards. The primary reason behind
this is these cars are often more costly to repair. If this motorcar is involved
in an accident or crash, it would be very expensive for an insurance company to
replace it. Even if the motorist has an excellent driving record and no claims
on their insurance policies, an insurer would be wary of risking a big claim on
an insurance cover for costly vehicle repair bills. However, when compared to
grey import cars, it is easier to get insurance cover for parallel import
vehicles, as these are from within Europe and meet the minimum standards.
How to Reduce Insurance Costs?
While getting insurance on imported automobiles may be a
tiresome and costly task, there are ways through which one can reduce the cost
to a certain extent. As one needs to give the specifications of their imported
car, it’s usually not possible to get a ready-made quote off the Internet.
• It is advisable to compile modified quotes from several insurance companies as
that would help get a better offer from an insurer or agent.
• If you have a garage where you can keep your car, you must mention that to the
agent or the insurance company as that can help you save 5 % on the insurance
• Avoid adding any young driver to the insurance policy as the age of the driver
is indirectly proportionate to the insurance cost. The younger the driver, the
higher the cost, as it is the youngest driver who is considered for the baseline
cost of an insurance cover.
• It is best not to add any modifications to an import car, if avoidable.
• It is recommended to install a couple of security devices in your car, such as
a steering wheel lock or a car alarm.
The primary reason why people prefer to buy imported cars is the cost advantage.
However, this could go for a toss if one ends up paying a higher insurance
amount. Therefore, it is important to assess the cost factor keeping in mind the
price of an insurance cover for a particular imported car. It is always better
to get an insurance quote and compare prices before buying an imported car, as
that could actually help one make considerable savings.
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