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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 are often higher than a standard vehicle. Plus, some insurance companies won’t cover vehicles that were sold outside of Australia at all.
Before you take out car insurance on your import, there’s some admin and paperwork you’ll need to organise first. All vehicles need a vehicle import approval prior to entering Australia.
You can work out the type of import you’re doing by visiting the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities1. Here you will find details of the three ways vehicles are imported into the country.
• Most vehicles are imported by large manufacturers that ensure the cars meet minimum safety standards in Australia
• Registered Automotive Workshops (RAWs) can import a limited range of used vehicles on behalf of individuals
• An individual can apply to import a vehicle. You can check out the Eligibility Assessment2 for what is required
At the current time (2018), there are talks of reforms being made to the Motor Vehicles Standard Act 1989. More specifically, with the goal to deliver an updated and modernised system. This could impact the criteria for importing vehicles, so it’s worth being across current updates3.
A locally purchased car will likely 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 higher4 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 Australia5. Anytime a vehicle has a modification, insurance costs can increase. This is because it’s harder for insurers to determine the vehicle 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 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 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.
The best approach is to get some comprehensive car insurance quotes from regular providers. Then compare it 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 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. Keeping the car in your garage and equipping it with a car alarm and immobiliser are recommended6. 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.