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Insurance for imported and left-hand drive (LHD) cars

Compare car insurance for left-hand drive cars and other import vehicles

Is it harder to insure imported cars?

Some standard car insurance policies might not cover your imported car.

That’s because, if your car needs repairs, it can be harder and more expensive to get parts that need importing.

Specialist insurers that cover imports will take this into account, so it’ll be reflected in your quote. But we can still help you compare and find a great deal.

Is imported car insurance more expensive?

Sourcing car parts from abroad can be pricey and that’s reflected by higher insurance costs.

Imports from outside the EU also have different safety and manufacturing standards.

They can be higher-powered as they’re created for long-distance driving on big, open roads with higher speed limits.

Insurers think this makes you more likely to be in an accident, or more likely that your car will cause damage if it is, and that can push your premiums up.

If you’re not sure whether the car is an import or not, check your vehicle log book to see where it came from

Insuring different types of imported cars

In the UK, imported cars fall into two categories, grey or parallel.

  • Grey imports

    Grey imports are cars built outside the EU that don’t have an equivalent model in the UK.

    These are often American or Japanese cars, so they don’t comply with European safety and emissions standards. To make it legal to drive in the UK, it’ll have to be modified to meet these standards.

    You might find it difficult to get this type of car insured and you’ll usually need to send lots of details about the car to your insurer before it agrees to cover you.

    However, if you’re buying a grey import through a reputable dealer, it’ll probably have modified it to make it legal for UK roads already.

  • Parallel imports

    Parallel imports are cars from other EU countries that have the same spec as models sold in the UK.

    They are likely to still be left-hand drive though, depending on where they come from.

    This insurance can be cheaper than for grey imports as car dealerships in Europe sell right-hand drive vehicles.

    As the cars are similar to UK models, it's easier to find spare parts and carry out repairs and that means the cost of insuring them is usually cheaper than grey imports.

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Personal imports

If you import a car yourself rather than going through a broker or a dealer, it’s classed as a personal import. It’ll still either be a grey or parallel imported car.

You’ll have some extra paperwork to do and taxes to pay, so make sure you fill out the right forms before you drive your car.

If you don’t and you use your vehicle on a public road, you could be prosecuted. The only exceptions are driving to a pre-booked MOT or vehicle approval test.

If you’re moving to the UK from abroad and bringing your car with you, you’ll need to follow the same process.

It’s rare, but some specialist insurers will accept your foreign no-claims bonus - most UK insurers only accept proof of no-claims earned in the UK.

Left-hand drive car insurance

There’s not much difference between left-hand drive car insurance and right-hand drive car insurance.

It’s easy to find cover for left hand drive cars and it won’t affect your premium, unless you’ve made other changes to the car.

You can compare quotes for left hand drive car insurance with us - just make sure you select this option while you’re getting a quote and we’ll do the rest.

How to get cheaper imported car insurance

Lower your premiums for your imported car by following our top tips:

  1. Choose a parallel import

    These are cheaper to insure than grey imports because spare parts for repairs are available in the UK

  2. Meet the EU regulations

    Buy it from a dealer who can make sure your car meets the right safety standards

  3. Park sports cars or super cars in a secure garage

    Your high-value imported car needs to be kept safe from thieves and vandals, so don’t park on the road

  4. Update your security

    If you’ve imported a classic car, make sure the security on it is up to date

  5. Choose a higher excess

    If you can afford to pay a higher excess, you’ll get lower premiums in return

  6. Build up your no-claims bonus

    The more years of no-claims you have, the cheaper your insurance will be

  7. Don’t add modifications you don’t need to

    These will increase the cost of your insurance - although modifications to make it conform to UK safety standards are unavoidable

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