Read about the car insurance implications of bringing a personal import into the UK.
Find out more about insurance if you’re a UK resident planning to buy a personally imported car or hoping to import a car into the UK yourself.
Buying a personal import from a UK seller
Personal imports are vehicles brought into the UK by an individual, rather than a dealership. Depending on its model and background, a personal import car can either be a grey import or parallel import (find out more about grey and parallel imports in our guides). The cost of your car insurance will depend on which of these categories the car fits into.
The most common way to buy a personal import is from a private seller who has previously imported the vehicle — if you’re buying a car that was brought into the country as a personal import it’s very similar to buying from a private seller in any other situation. The car will likely already be registered in the UK and all you will have to take care of is the tax and insurance, as you usually would when buying a car.
Importing a car yourself
If you’re a UK resident planning to import a car into the country yourself, you will need to go through the process of registering the vehicle in the UK before it is driven. Find out more about registering a car here.
If you’re registering and insuring the car in the UK as a personal import, the car will have to be tested under the Individual Vehicle Approval scheme. This will ensure the car is suitable for use on UK roads — for example meeting EU requirements for emissions and displaying speed in mph instead of kph.
Your imported car will also need to hold a British certificate of insurance before being driven — many standard insurers will be wary of insuring imported cars before they are registered, but there are many specialist insurers that deal with personal imports regularly and will be able to provide cover for your vehicle while it’s being registered.
It’s important to remember your new car must not be driven before it’s insured, so it’s best to get your car transported by trailer to its new home, and kept off the road until it’s insured.
How to save on insuring a personal import
The cost of car insurance for a personal import will depend on many factors, including whether the car is a grey or parallel import. A grey import is likely to cost more to insure as it may not meet UK standards for safety, emissions and braking.
Whether your car is a grey or parallel import, there are ways to keep insurance costs down. For personal imports, you’re likely to get the best deal from a specialist insurer — many of the big-name insurers will be wary of imported vehicles, especially personal imports that have not come through trusted manufacturers.
The best way to save on car insurance is to compare quotes from a number of providers. Get started by getting a quote from specialist insurers using the tool below.