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One of the most important things to consider is arranging Car Insurance for your overseas import.
Imported cars can often be seen as a greater risk on our roads, and because of this, premiums for Car Insurance can be higher than they are for a domestic vehicle.
Plus, some insurance companies won’t cover vehicles that were purchased outside of Australia at all, so you may need to find a specialty car insurer.
Before you take out Car Insurance on your import, there’s some admin and paperwork you’ll need to organise.
All vehicles need a vehicle import approval from ROVER (Road Vehicle Regulator)2 prior to entering Australia.
Once you receive approval from ROVER, you can work out the type of import you’re doing by visiting the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development, Communication and The Arts.3 Here you will find details of the ways vehicles are imported into the country.
If you’re importing the car without the assistance of a Registered Automotive Workshop, then you’ll also need to arrange shipping, get clearance from customs, meet Australian quarantine requirements, and register the vehicle.7
The Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) has officially replaced the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA).8
This new framework is one of the biggest legislative overhauls of road vehicle regulation in over 30 years, and reflects the standards required for the 21st century across the nation.9
The transition began in 2021, and was extended until 30 June 2023. This was enforced to support parts of the industry that have been impacted by the COVID pandemic and global supply chain issues.10
A locally purchased car is likely to come with a lower cost of Car Insurance than an imported vehicle. Getting cover for your import can be tricky, as not all providers will cover your vehicle type.
A few of the reasons for imported Car Insurance being higher are due to:
Imported cars are designed to meet the standards of the country they were made for. For this reason, modifications may be needed to meet legal requirements in Australia.11 Anytime a vehicle has a modification, insurance costs can increase. This is likely because it’s harder for insurers to determine the vehicle’s value.
Historically, imported cars have been modified for performance. Insurers therefore treat them as more likely to be involved in a high-speed accident, so this too can affect the cost of your Car Insurance.
Spare parts and repairs for imported cars are usually more expensive. These additional costs are considered when calculating your premium.
Not all insurers regularly cover imported vehicles. This means that your car could fall into a default high-performance category purely because they don't have any other category to place your car into.
Not all car insurers offer policies for imported vehicles. So before your import makes its way to Australia, make sure to do some research on your Car Insurance options well in advance.
While some of the larger insurers do offer coverage for imports, often choosing a specialist insurer who concentrates on imported or modified cars can be a more cost-effective option. This is because these non-standard insurers often have more categories for specialty types of vehicles.
A smart approach would be to get some Comprehensive Car Insurance quotes from regular providers, then compare them to some quotes from specialist providers.
A specialist provider can distinguish a high-performance vehicle and a vehicle that’s driven by a safe, experienced driver with a passion for cars.
As well as considering the price point for the two, be sure to check the conditions of the policy. Specialist insurers often have a variety of extra benefits that standard providers don’t.
You may have more limited insurance options than a domestic car, but there are still ways you can save on your premium for your imported vehicle. Look for discounts or deals which are commonly available by taking out a policy online.
Insurers may look favourably on efforts you make to reduce the chance of your car being stolen.
For example, keeping the car in your garage and equipping it with a car alarm and immobiliser could be a smart move. An approved Defensive Driving course could also be taken into account with some insurers.
Before signing up for a policy, be sure to check all the terms and conditions that could impact a claim. This could include restrictions on the age of drivers, or the number of modifications you’re able to make.
1 Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and The Arts - 8 steps to importing a vehicle
2 As above.
3 Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and The Arts - Vehicle type approvals
4 National Road Safety Strategy - Vehicle safety
5 Australian Government, Business.gov.au - Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme - Australian Government
6 Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and The Arts - Eligibility assessment
7 Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and The Arts - 8 steps to importing a vehicle
8 Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and The Arts - Road Vehicle Standards laws
9 As above.
10 As above.
11 Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and The Arts - 8 steps to importing a vehicle