Find out about the different types of imported car and how they affect insurance prices.
Many drivers are choosing to buy imported cars, whether it’s to save money or to get hold of a rare car not available in the UK. Find out how different types of import affect the cost of import car insurance in this guide.
How will an import affect the price of my car insurance?
Some insurers are wary of insuring imported cars, as there are added complications compared to cars designed for use and registered in the UK. Regular car insurance providers may increase premiums or excesses for imported cars, but if you’re looking to buy an imported car you should be able to keep costs down by shopping around or using an import car insurance specialist.
The effect on your insurance costs may only be minimal depending on the car’s origin and how it is imported. There are three different types of import: grey imports, parallel imports, and personal imports.
Grey imports are cars that have never been available as standard in the UK, and often don’t conform to EU standards. The most popular grey imports are high-spec American or Japanese models. Grey imports are often the most difficult to insure — they cost more to repair as parts are more difficult to get hold of, and there’s a higher risk of theft as the cars are sought after. Read more about insuring grey imports in our guide.
Parallel imports are often cars that also have an equivalent UK model. These cars are generally imported from the EU, so comply with UK regulations. There are great deals to be had on these imported cars, and the impact on insurance prices can be minimal. They may still have some non-standard features that may cause insurers to ‘load’ your premium, for example if the car is imported from elsewhere in Europe and is left-hand drive. Find out how to insure parallel imports in our guide.
Instead of buying an imported car through a dealer, you may choose to import a vehicle yourself — whether it’s a grey import or parallel import. You will be responsible for registering and taxing the car, and the car must be insured before it is driven in the UK. There are unique issues with insuring a personally imported car — read our guide to car insurance for personal imports here.
If you are a non-UK resident and wish to bring a car to the UK when you come here to visit, live or study, you will need to be insured to drive on UK roads. Read our guide for more information on bringing a car with you to the UK.
You must tell your insurer if your car is an imported model — if you’re not sure, check the V5 document to find out your vehicle’s origin.
How to cut the cost of import car insurance
Car insurance for imported cars is typically more expensive than for those originally sold in the UK, but there are ways to save.
As imported cars are rarer than standard models, they are more likely to be targeted by thieves (this is especially the case with high-spec grey imports). Insurers are likely to give you a better deal if they know your car is being kept safe, so try to keep your car in a locked garage or secure driveway rather than on the road. You can also cut the cost of import car insurance by installing extra security features like alarms and trackers.
Well-known insurers may not be able to give you the best deal — in fact, some big-name insurers do not offer import car insurance at all. Make sure you consider specialist insurers, as they can offer great prices for grey, parallel, and personal import car insurance.
The best way to save on car insurance is to compare deals from a number of different providers. Use the tool below to compare insurance quotes for your imported car.