Car insurance is always complicated, whether you’re driving an expensive luxury import or a run-of-the-mill American pick-up. Insuring imported cars, however, is always more difficult than with domestic vehicles, and it can be difficult to save money on imports.
The first thing you need to realize is that the American standards for car manufacturing and safety are different than those in other areas of the world. A grey market imported vehicle is one that must be altered before it can be insured and driven on U.S. roads.
According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, It might need additional safety features, a catalytic converter or some other part, and it will require approval from the appropriate government entity.
It has become much easier to insured an imported car that falls into the grey market category, but insurance can be much higher. Furthermore, it is sometimes necessary to obtain specialist import car insurance when other insurance companies will not provide coverage.
1- Consider the Drivers
You can save significant money on insuring an imported car if you do not allow anyone else to drive it. For example, a father who purchases an imported vehicle might have a lower premium if he does not allow his seventeen-year-old son use it on weekends.
This is because the risk escalates when young or inexperienced drivers get behind the wheel. If an imported vehicle is driven only by one owner, the risk is lessened and the premium might be lower.
2- Stick with Necessary Modifications
When you insure an imported car, you will need to make the necessary modifications to ensure it is legal to drive in the United States. However, extraneous modifications might make it much more difficult to insure, if not impossible.
If there is a modification you want to make, talk to your insurance company first. Ask about their policies and find out how much it will affect your premium. It is always best to discuss it first than to find yourself unable to insure an imported car.
3- Take Precautions
The standard ways to lower your car insurance premiums apply when insuring an imported car. Park it in a garage or covered carport rather than on the street, install an alarm, and drive it as infrequently as possible. These precautions can significantly lower your monthly premium.
You should also take advantage of any driver discounts available to you. Some companies offer lower prices for senior citizens, for example, or for people who hold memberships with certain organizations. Thoroughly research your options before insuring an imported car.
4- Consider a Specialist
If you insure your imported car with a company that specializes in auto imports, you might find a better rate. Specialist import car insurance is facilitated through companies that are thoroughly familiar with the laws and special considerations of imported vehicles, and can therefore provide you with a more accurate quote.
Make sure, again, that you research all your options. Specialist import car insurance might be appropriate for one consumer, but completely ill-suited to another. For instance, you might be able to obtain an even better insurance rate if you insure your imported car with the same company that holds your life, health, dental or home owner’s insurance policies.
Getting the Best Deal
Insuring an imported car might be a hassle, but it is much easier if you do the legwork in advance. Start researching your insurance options before you buy the vehicle so you’ll know what your premiums will look like once you’ve brought it home. This way you won’t find yourself in an unexpectedly precarious financial situation.
Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, Imported Vehicles Manufactured with Non-US Standards (Grey Market Vehicles)