A Guide to Insuring Imported Cars (Grey Imports)
Japanese Car Insurance
With their unique designs, reliability and low mileage, Japanese cars are popular with those who want a vehicle with more powerful engines and the looks to match.
Japanese vehicles can also vary in specification depending on model and other specifications, including engine management, increased torque and souped-up sound systems, making them particularly popular with sports car enthusiasts.
In the UK, vehicles that are imported fall into two categories:
- Parallel Imports – vehicles which have been manufactured and distributed within the European Union, usually through a dealership or broker
- Grey Imports – vehicles which have been manufactured in Japan and imported elsewhere
Do I Need Approval To Import A Car Into The UK?
When it comes to makes and models there’s plenty to choose from, and because the Japanese tend to keep their vehicles for less time, usually changing their vehicles every two to three years, Japanese imports are particularly popular as they usually come with low mileage.
There are a number of specialist Japanese car distributors in the UK, with some having waiting lists for their vehicles, as well as the lengthy transit period involved with importing the vehicle to the UK from Japan.
However, because the vehicles have been designed with Japanese road standards in mind, in order to drive the vehicle in the UK you’ll have to put it through an Enhanced Single Vehicle Approval (Enhanced SVA) test.
This which is basically a very thorough MOT for import vehicles to see that they meet UK road standards and are safe to drive.
Keep in mind also that some features will be different compared to vehicles produced in the UK, including thinner windscreen glass and thicker wheel rubber on some models.
Some of these may need to be changed in order to make them roadworthy in the UK, so check with your distributor to see about such features and whether they can be changed.
Insuring A Grey Import
Finding insurance for import vehicles can be lengthy, complicated and expensive.
Because of the vehicle specifications and the belief that sourcing replacement parts in the event of an accident may be expensive, Japanese import car insurance can be pricey.
However, experience can work for you in this case. If you’ve owned your grey import for a number of years or have driven import cars in the past with no incidents, this can work to your advantage when it comes to finding an affordable insurance premium.
If you own another vehicle and have a good record on it this could work to your advantage when getting a cheaper quote on your import car as this could reduce the amount of time your import is on the road.
If you tend to use the vehicle for shows and events and not as an everyday car, some brokers will offer a low mileage agreement as a result and this could help reduce your premiums.
What Is A Low Mileage Agreement?
Low Mileage Agreements are offered to those who only use their vehicles on occasion, including driving and performing at events, motor shows and meets.
Insurers will set a fixed mileage amount, and as long as you don’t exceed this amount in a year you can save some money on your grey import insurance.
So if you use your vehicle more like a track car than an everyday, commuting vehicle, then it can be worth asking your broker if you can save money on your insurance premium by agreeing, and not exceeding, a fixed mileage amount.
How Else Could I Save On My Insurance?
Accumulating some No Claims Bonus can be very useful in reducing your premium, so if you’re a sensible driver you can greatly reduce your premium, with some brokers even taking into account any no claims bonus you’ve accumulated on your standard motor insurance.
Here at Finance.co.uk we compare quotes from a network of specialist brokers to find you the best deal on your Japanese import car insurance. So whether you drive an Impreza or an EVO, pop in a few details and let us drive down a better deal for you.